Category Archives: Romance & Relationships

562. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 2)

Vocabulary explanations and discussions of hot topics from the last couple of years. Talking about some controversial political stuff like the rise of fascism and anti-fascism, the relative popularity of UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, and how the winter season changes people’s feelings about romance and relationships. Transcript available.

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Episode Transcript (99% complete)

Right, so this episode series is all about the Collins Words of the Year. You’re listening to part 2, now. Obviously I recommend that you listen to part 1 of this first because that’s how numbers work. 2 generally comes after 1. You knew that already.

You can do what you like of course. You could listen to part 2 first and then listen to part 1. Maybe English is your favourite subject, not maths, so ok feel free to just forget about numbers and sequences and just listen on.

The Collins Words of the Year

Collins is a company that makes dictionaries and every year they release a list of their “words of the year”. These are words that have been used a lot in the last 12 months and seem to sum up the general mood of the moment. The words represent things that have been happening in culture, politics and general life during the year.

In this series I’m talking about the Collins Words of the Year for 2017, I know that’s last year but the words are still very relevant to what’s going on now in 2018 when I’m recording this.

I’m defining the words and then just talking about how they relate to what’s going on at the moment. When I’ve been through the words for 2017 I’m going to go on to the words for 2018, hopefully joined by Amber, for a bit of conversation rather than just me ranting or rambling on my own.

In 2015 the Collins word of the year was binge-watch. In 2016 it was Brexit.

In the last episode I talked a lot about fake news which was the word of the year for 2017.

So let’s keep going through the rest of the word list for 2017 now then.

Antifa

noun: (1) an antifascist organization (2) a member of an antifascist organization
adjective: (3) involving, belonging to, or relating to an antifascist organisation

I think Antifa are mainly in the USA, but there are probably similar counter-protest antifascist groups in other countries. Antifa though is mainly a US term for a US phenomenon. Having said that, with the pervasiveness of the internet, this word and its associated ideas and vocabulary has spread to many areas of the English-speaking world, because much of the time these so-called fascists and anti-fascists are clashing with each other online, not just within the borders of a particular country.

Certainly, I keep seeing arguments in comments sections of different websites, like YouTube, Twitter etc. I know, I probably shouldn’t read those comment sections because it’s like entering the sewer system or something – it’s smelly and you might catch something down there, but I can’t help myself, I always get fascinated by the often angry comments that people write and the petty arguments and stuff.

It’s often very unpleasant and you can read some shockingly racist views and other ideas that are quite depressing. I find it both amusing and disturbing how even some innocent YouTube videos about non-controversial topics have comment sections which descend into awfulness.

So anyway, the word ‘antifa’ probably relates to people in physical spaces in the USA, but this whole topic area extends beyond those borders when you’re online, in English.

Antifa is a kind of reduced portmanteau word – anti-fascist, reduced to antifa. As Trevor Noah on the Daily Show said,  the name is quite convenient for anti-fascist demonstrators because you don’t need to be able to spell fascist to be able to use it. By the way, fascist is spelt f a s c i s t.

Oh god. This topic’s a bit heavy isn’t it! Fake news in the last episode got a bit deep and dark, and now we’re talking about fascism and stuff. I promise there are more light-hearted words in this list, ok? Fidget spinner is one of the words that’s coming up – that’s less heavy and political, isn’t it? So, don’t worry, fidget spinners are coming, although the world has probably moved on from fidget spinners already, hasn’t it?

Anyway, this word is antifa and it’s kind of all about punching fascists, like Captain America. OK, here we go then.

What I’m going to do here is read from a page on the BBC’s website. Some people listening might say that is biased information because it isn’t negative enough or critical enough of anti-fascists, but I would say that this is just information about Antifa and if you read or listen objectively you’ll see it neither glorifies nor condemns the movement, just describes who they are, what they want and what they do.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/X56rQkDgd0qqB7R68t6t7C/seven-things-you-need-to-know-about-antifa

The main thing is that Antifa became a phenomenon since Trump’s inauguration in 2016 and continued through 2017 and beyond in response to the rise of the far-right in many places.

The story here is – the far-right are rising. What’s the solution to that? Punching them in the face? I don’t know. That’s not all Antifa do of course, as we just read in that article. According to Antifa, the usual legal methods for resisting this “creeping authoritarianism” are not working because the system doesn’t properly deal with it. They might cite the fact that US President Donald Trump belongs to this movement that they’re fighting against and is kind of the figurehead for it, so to Antifa protesters, the current political administration is part of the problem, and so they take matters into their own hands.

Basically, this shows the extent to which the USA is divided – you have groups fighting online and in the streets. It’s not just the USA too – groups with strongly different ideological or political opinions are clashing all over the place. The far right are rising in many areas and so are groups that want to resist them.

What about in your country? What is the status of the far-right there? Are they actually in government or having a significant influence on the government? Does your political system provide adequate opposition to the current administration? In what way? What kind of movements and counter-movements are there, and where are they? Is there fighting going on? Where is it happening? Between who, and why? Are fascists and anti-fascists clashing? What are the reasons for this and how is it affecting society?

By the way, fascist is a dirty word isn’t it? I mean, not many people these days are proud to call themselves fascists, are they? Some people are, but I think generally the word is not favourable because it obviously has so many negative connotations that people, understandably, want to distance themselves from the word.

What’s more common is that people use the word fascist against anyone they don’t agree with and who they see as exercising too much authority or power. Fascist is generally used as a term of abuse, I think. Everyone seems to get called a fascist these days – including the far right mostly but also movements that come from a left-wing and liberal position, like social justice campaigners or the political correctness movement, who basically want to create equal opportunities for everyone – they just want a level playing field and they get called fascists sometimes by people who see them as being too controlling and even oppressive with their methods of trying to achieve equality, which is ironic.

It’s like right-wing people say “Hey, the way you’re trying to force us to treat everyone equally and fairly is too controlling, it’s fascist! You don’t get to force me to give everyone a fair chance, that’s fascism!” Pretty weird.

But I think in most people’s minds, the word fascist is still associated with things like racism, sexism, homophobia, authoritarian power, militarism and the silencing of political opposition.

I’m sure I’ve got some people listening to this who will feel it necessary to defend the fascists, or to redefine fascism as actually something really quite nice, reasonable and positive – like “hey, it’s just people trying to defend their interests”, but there it is, I think in general, as I said, fascism is still defined in negative terms, and why not?

Going back to the point – this is one of the words of the year because it shows that fascism is on the rise again – or arguably has risen again, and so this response to it – Antifa – be it violent or non-violent, has also risen too, and this is the story.

I’m not going to attempt to deal with this subject any further in this episode of this podcast for learners of English, so I am now stepping away from the topic slowly… Just back away from the whole area Luke… carefully now. Be careful not to trip up on anything, just back away nice and slowly, move away from the subject and close the door quietly…

Corbynmania

noun: fervent enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party

Oh god, more politics.

This is a bit 2017. I think Corbynmania is arguably over now.

We’ll see how things pan out with Brexit. Corbyn still might end up being our Prime Minister if that’s possible, if we have a general election because Parliament loses confidence in the government over a failed Brexit deal and if Labour win the election, we might end up with Jeremy Corbyn as PM.

Try to sum up Corbynmania.

I’ve moved from one political hot potato to another here…

Basically, Jeremy Corbyn is the opposition leader and he doesn’t really fit the ‘mainstream’ profile of a political leader. He’s pretty popular with younger voters who might be university students – the sorts of people who are quite left-wing and don’t like modern Conservative policy and even the policies of the New Labour movement which was created by people like Tony Blair.

Corbyn’s vision for the UK is more like old-fashioned democratic socialism. He doesn’t look or sound like the kind of slick, career politicians you see on TV. He’s a bit like Bernie Sanders in the USA. He’s older, grey, has a beard. In a way he’s like a kind of Obi-wan Kenobi figure, but that doesn’t mean to say everyone loves him, it’s just that the people who do like him, really like him and in 2016 and 2017 this meant a lot of younger voters.

At the Glastonbury music festival in 2017, Corbyn went onto the main stage and delivered a big speech in front of a cheering crowd of music fans flying flags with hearts and rainbows and so on and posters saying “bollocks to Brexit” and things like that.

He’s a bit like the anti-Trump (or in the UK that means anti-conservative or anti-right) and his speech actually included a lot of messages directed at Trump and his policies, for example saying we need to knock down walls between people, not build them up. “Build bridges not walls” and pushing the message that it’s unfair that there’s so much poverty in our society when some people are so very rich. It’s like what Bernie Sanders says – there’s something deeply wrong with our society when a tiny percentage owns the vast majority of the resources and the capital, and this is because of a huge imbalance of power – the 1% owns all the money and therefore also has the power, and are untouchable, and the Conservative government or the establishment don’t do enough to redress this imbalance.

The Glastonbury speech was mainly about those kinds of liberal values and the crowd loved it.

To be fair he was preaching to the converted but anyway, it showed that he’s got a lot of fans.

Not everyone loves him though, of course. He has critics and his party, The Labour party has lots of internal problems – they’re split over the direction Corbyn wants to go and other issues.

Some people feel that Corbyn is too radical or idealistic and that with him as leader, Labour doesn’t stand a chance of winning a general election because he doesn’t attract people from the centre or right, he just appeals to his fans more and more strongly. Maybe we can hear some of that speech.

He sort of stole the show at Glastonbury actually. What does that say about the current situation, that a politician making a speech can be the most popular or talked about event at a huge music festival? Perhaps it shows that politics is alive and well, or that our music scene is terrible, I’m not sure.

A quick dip into the comment section of that video?

The positive
mkur 1 year ago 
If Teresa May did this, she’d get lynched! Never known so many people take to a political leader like they have Jeremy Corbyn. Long may it continue. Corbyn for PM! (121 likes)

Gstar Warmed 1 year ago
The most important political leader of this generation, demanding peace, equality and socialism. This is an incredible moment. JC4PM (146 likes)

The negative
Dave Lombardo1 year ago
You think the uk is fuked now,it will be totally fuked if he bocomes pm…. (3 likes)

The Truth (1 year ago)
Bahahahaha Corbyn, Glastonbury, and the champagne middle-class socialist Glastonbury kids are delusional. (4 likes)

baldieman64
1 year ago
“if you can see that far, look on the wall right over there that surrounds this wonderful festival. There’s a message on that wall for President Donald Trump. Do you know what it says? Build bridges not walls”.
Hilarious!!!!
You couldn’t make it up..
The message is painted on a wall. A wall that exists to keep out those who haven’t contributed to the cost of making the festival happen. Kinda like a border…. (2 likes)

Moving on…

Cuffing season

noun: the period of autumn and winter, when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships rather than engage in casual affairs

“Cuffing” means to become locked to something with handcuffs. To be cuffed to something – attached to something with handcuffs. I suppose “cuffing season” then means when people get attached to each other, permanently. The idea of handcuffs can either be negative – like being caught by the police and jailed, or it can be kinky – using handcuffs during kinky sex.

But “cuffing season” isn’t really negative and although it might involve sex it’s more about intimacy and making a permanent commitment to being with just one person. Cuffing season refers to this period of the year when people feel like settling down with one person in a secure relationship. Perhaps it’s because during the winter it gets dark and cold and you want one person who you can snuggle up with and feel secure with. It seems that people perhaps are more likely to get into serious long-term relationships at this time of year. I don’t know if there’s any real research to back this up.

From personal experience I can say that I first got together with my wife in the winter, so maybe there’s some truth in this idea. What about you? Are you in a committed relationship? When did you first get together and get serious about each other? Was it in the autumn or winter, during “cuffing season”?

I’ve never actually heard anyone say “cuffing season”. I’ve never used the term. I don’t think people actually say it a lot, but it is the sort of language you might read in articles about lifestyle and relationships. Sometimes these buzzwords are just used a lot in the media, rather than in every day conversation.

Cuffing Season (from the Metro – December 2017)

Read through this article – do you relate?

metro.co.uk/2017/12/07/5-things-that-happen-during-cuffing-season-7133783/

When did you meet and get together with your partner?

How do you deal with the dark and cold periods of winter?

Part 3 coming soon…

528. The Royal Wedding (with Mum)

Talking to my mum about the royal wedding between Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. Describing the ceremony, the guests and the dress, and discussing the place of the monarchy in modern British life. Some transcriptions and vocabulary available below.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello folks, welcome to this new episode.

How are you doing? I’m recording this in the middle of a thunderstorm. I don’t know if you can hear it. It’s quite dramatic. There’s been hail, there’s been lightning, there’s been thunder.

Here’s a new episode and it’s a conversation with my Mum about the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which happened last Saturday.

I also have some things to say about the British Podcast Awards and I know that I’ve spoken about this, probably too much, recently but I expect this will be the last I will say on the matter. The results came in at the weekend, and so I just want to explain what happened.

Some of you already know the results and that this year, unfortunately, I didn’t win one of the medals. No Bronze, Silver or Gold. However – I was in the top 10. I don’t know where (if I was 4 or 5 or 6 or whatever – but I was in the top 10, which actually is amazing considering the competition I was up against.

So, even though I didn’t get bronze, silver or gold – I do feel happy so thank you for your votes.

I’ll talk more about it at the end of the podcast, ok? OK

This morning I spoke to my Mum on FaceTime and we chose to talk about the royal wedding between Prince Harry & Meghan Markle which happened this weekend on Saturday. I expect you were aware of that – it was probably covered in the media and online. You might have watched it. I think it was live streamed on many channels and networks.

I don’t know what you think of the royal wedding – you might be fascinated by it, but equally you might be completely fed up with it. I don’t know where you stand! But since one of the purposes of this podcast is to provide you with authentic speech to listen to as part of your learning English routine, and we take a special interest in British things on this podcast (of course) the royal wedding seems like a logical thing for me to talk about, right? How could I not cover this?

Also, I have received a number of requests from listeners asking for me to talk about that. So, that’s what you’re going to get in this episode – a chat with my Mum all about the royal wedding, and hopefully we’ll cover it in a fairly broad way, dealing with things like the wider issues of monarchy in the modern age, some of the unconventional aspects of the ceremony and the different attitudes to the royal family that people in the UK have. Not everyone is a flag waving royalist – some people don’t really like the monarchy and see big weddings like this to be a waste of taxpayers money (although it’s not entirely clear how much of this was paid for by the taxpayer – as we established in the previous episode I did about Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, the royal family gets its money from a combination of public and private sources, and I think a lot of the costs of this wedding were privately covered) – anyway, plenty of people disagree with the wedding for various reasons. But also there are people, like me, who aren’t completely sure how to feel about the monarchy one way or the other, but are interested in events like the royal wedding just as a fascinating spectacle and something that reveals many aspects of life in our country, for good or bad.

I don’t need to do any more introducing at this point. Let’s just start listening to my conversation with my Mum and you can hear our descriptions of the wedding and what we both think about it all.

SOME BITS OF VOCAB

  • Staid
  • Traditional
  • High-bound
  • Stuffy
  • Worthy
  • Hushed and reverent
  • Solemn
  • Reserved
  • Stiff upper lip
  • Soberly
  • Animated
  • Gesticulating
  • vague, ambiguous and weird
  • Incoherent

Harry lifts Meghan’s veil and they say their vows

Reactions to Michael Curry’s Address

 

490. Discussing Friendship – with Martin and Dan The Man from Rock n’ Roll English (Friendship Phrasal Verbs)

Hello! In this episode of the podcast I am talking to Martin Johnston and his mate Dan The Man from the Rock n Roll English Podcast and we’re going to teach you some phrasal verbs and other expressions relating to friendship, while also putting their friendship to the test. Martin and Dan are lifelong friends. They know each other very well but they spend a lot of their time bickering and getting at each other. What’s going on in this friendship? Do they really like each other or not? Let’s find out in this episode and you can learn lots of vocabulary while we’re doing it. Vocabulary list and explanations below.

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The Rock n’ Roll English Podcast

Visit Martin’s website for Rock n’ Roll English here and check out the Rock n’ Roll English Podcast here

Friendship Vocabulary & Questions

Here is a selection of vocabulary, including a lot of phrasal verbs relating to friendship, with definitions and the questions I asked Martin and Dan.

To get on with someone = to have a good, friendly relationship with someone

  • You often bicker with each other, insult each other, tell each other that you’re stupid, boring, generally shit etc.
  • How well do you actually get on with each other?

To hang out with someone = to spend time with someone, socially

  • What’s the maximum amount of time you can actually stand to hang out with each other?

To hit it off = to get on with someone when you first meet them

  • When you met, did you hit it off straight away? (was it love at first sight)

To get to know someone = to learn about someone personally

  • How did you first get to know each other?

To go back years / a long time = to have a long relationship with someone

  • How far back do you go?

To fall out with someone = to stop being friends because of a disagreement or argument

  • Have you ever fallen out with each other?
  • What would it take to fall out with each other, do you think?
  • What would you do in these situations?
    • Dan, you both go to the pub – you buy a round, but when it’s Martin’s turn he doesn’t buy a round, he just gets himself a drink (it’s a half a lager shandy by the way) and then he leaves early
    • Martin, Dan suddenly one day starts saying nice things about you in public
    • Dan, you overhear Martin saying some shit about your nan (grandmother) – he said she was a ‘slag’. (a very rude thing to say about anyone, especially someone’s grandmother – a slag is a woman who has sex with lots of people 😱)
    • Martin, you get a new girlfriend and then when she meets Dan you realise that she actually prefers him
    • Dan, you learn that Martin has asked your sister out on a date
    • Martin, your Dad one day says “Why can’t you be more like Dan?”
    • Dan, you buy some biscuits and Martin eats them all, even the last one

To make up with each other = to become friends again after falling out

  • If you did ever fall out, what would be the best way to make up with each other?
  • Martin, how would you make up with Dan because of the biscuits?

To break up with someone = to end a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, to dump someone

  • Do you think it’s possible to actually break up with a friend, in the same way you can break up with a girl. I’m not saying that you would, I’m just wondering.
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve got a friend (probably quite a new friend – or maybe someone who you knew as a kid who has come back into your life) and you feel like it’s just not working and you feel like you have to break up with him? (it’s in an episode of Seinfeld)

Seinfeld (TV show) – Jerry Breaks Up with a friend (it’s funny because you don’t normally ‘break up with’ a friend, only with a ‘romantic partner’)

To drift apart / To lose touch with someone = when your lives just start going in different directions (drift apart) and you stop contacting the person regularly (lose touch with)

  • You don’t see each other so much any more because you’re in different countries.
    Are you ever worried that you might drift apart, or lose touch with each other completely?
    “How’s Martin?” “Oh, I don’t know we just kind of lost touch”

To enjoy someone’s company = to get on with someone, to enjoy spending time with someone

  • Honestly, how much do you enjoy each other’s company?

To have something in common with someone = to share something similar. E.g. you both like Star Wars.

  • Do you have a lot of things in common? What things do you have in common?

To be in a relationship with someone = to be dating someone, to be romantically involved with someone

  • Martin, how do you feel about the fact that Dan is in a relationship? (is there any jealousy there?)
  • Dan, imagine Martin is going on a date with a girl tonight – what could you say to him as a friend in this situation?

To be on the same wavelength as someone = to have a similar way of thinking as someone

  • Are you on the same wavelength as each other?

To see something in someone (often → …what someone sees in someone) = to like something about someone, to find a good quality in someone

  • What do you actually see in each other?
  • What does Dan’s girlfriend actually see in him?

Other vocabulary you heard (explained at the end of the episode)

  • Martin: That sounds like the most boring introduction in the world. Dan: Actually, I think it’s quite apt.
  • I’ve been trying to get rid of him as a friend for a long time now.
  • Treading in dogshit all day. There’s an abundance of it. I almost tripped up on one the other day.
  • When they hear my terrible French they gladly switch to English, just to rub it in a bit.
  • My Italian’s not bad but I can get by.
  • I did a gig once in London, a charity gig
  • You’re an accomplice now, because you planted that idea. (murder)
  • I’d like to explore the dynamic between you, a dynamic that some might call a bromance.
  • Martin came here at the weekend and 15 hours later we were both sick to death of each other.
  • You fall out, you get over it, you bounce back and then move on.
  • Martin: Dan always says that I’m tight. (mean, tight-fisted, stingy)
  • Dan’s sister: We all know that Dan is a tight bastard.
  • In the UK if someone doesn’t buy a round they are ostracised.
  • Dan: I’m trying to keep you on your toes (by buying Martin Christmas presents)
  • You overhear Martin saying some shit about your nan. He’s saying that she’s a slag
  • I’m digging myself into a hole here.
  • Those awkward conversations that I just can’t handle. I avoid them at all costs.
  • The cross-examination of your friendship is over and I have to say I’m none the wiser about the mysterious dynamic that you have.
  • You can take my answer with a pinch of salt.

Thanks for listening!

Luke

460 Catching Up With Amber & Paul #6 (feat. Sarah Donnelly)

Conversation and language analysis with the podpals and guest Sarah. Hear some conversation about being married to a foreign person, bringing up kids to be bilingual, and learn some slang in Australian and Northern Irish English. Vocabulary is explained at the end.

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Introduction

This episode is choc-a-block with natural conversation and language.

Yesterday I had Amber and Paul over to the flat, and I also invited Sarah Donnelly, a friend of the podcast. Sarah also brought her baby who she had since she was last on the podcast. There’s no relation by the way between her being on the podcast and having a baby. Purely coincidental. Anyway, the four of us sat around the table yesterday in the blistering heat to record some podcast material and that’s what you’re going to hear.

Sometimes you can hear the baby screaming and gurgling in the background but I don’t think it spoils the recording really. She hasn’t learned to talk yet, but who knows being on the podcast might help a little bit in some way.

The conversation is a bit chaotic because there are 4 people, sometimes talking over each other. If you like you can imagine you’re in a business meeting. A business meeting in which no business actually takes place, nobody observes the rules of formality and where the participants just chat with each other. So, not much like a business meeting really, but anyway a meeting of sorts, and this is the kind of thing you might have to deal with in the future if you go to a meeting in English and there are a number of people discussing things and you have to keep up. It’s good practice to listen to this kind of thing to help you prepare for that kind of situation.

This recording was slightly shorter than the usual full-on ramble that we have together. But I’m going to do a bit of language analysis at the end. I’ll pick out a few words and phrases and will clarify them after the conversation has finished.

Also there’s another language-related episode coming soon with Amber, Paul and Sarah.

Here now is a discussion between podpals Amber and Paul, also featuring Sarah Donnelly the American with Irish roots who has been on this podcast before, most recently talking about the US Presidential Elections with Sebastian Marx.

Things we all have in common:

  • We’re all English speaking expats in France
  • We are all with French partners, either married or “paxed”
  • We’re all comedians on the stand up scene too

In this chat we discuss a few things, such as the complexities of being with a foreign partner, bringing up a child in a foreign country to be fully bilingual, getting married and what it feels like for the bride and groom on the big day, Amber’s podcast which was recently released online, Paul’s upcoming gig in Australia, Sarah’s Irish roots and some English slang from New Zealand, Australia and Northern Ireland.

Questions

Here are some questions for you to consider as you listen. This can help you to focus on the content.

  1. Are you or have you ever been with a foreign person in a relationship? What are the difficulties of that?
  2. What’s the best way to bring up a child to be bilingual? Is it possible to raise a bilingual child when only one of you speaks one of the target languages to the child?
  3. Are you married? How did it feel for you on the big day? Did you cry? Have you ever been a guest at a wedding, and did you cry?
  4. Have you heard Amber’s podcast, which is called Paname? It’s now available at panamepodcast.com
  5. Can you identify different English accents and dialects from around the world? How about American vs British, or different areas of the UK? How about Ireland and Northern Ireland? What about Australia and New Zealand? Do you know what their English sounds like?

Right. Consider those questions as you listen to this conversation and hold on until later when I’ll explain some of the vocabulary and some cultural stuff too, maybe touching on different accents, wedding vocabulary and more.

But now you can listen to Amber, Paul, Sarah and me, melting in my boiling hot apartment.


Vocabulary and other language points – Explained

It’s really hot
It’s hot as hell
It’s boiling
It’s sweltering
It’s baking
It’s blisteringly hot

Being partnered with a French person is hard work.
I have one hour’s worth of material on this.
One hour’s worth of something
5 minutes’ worth of something
We’ve got 3 days’ worth of food left
I’ve got about 10 minutes’ worth of battery left

Bringing Up Children
Bringing up
a baby in a foreign country with a foreign partner – will they speak English?
Bring up a baby
Raise a child
Be raised in / to
Grow up
Do you have experience of bringing up a baby to be bilingual? Let us know.
If just one parent speaks English, and the rest of the time it’s French with school, friends and everything else – will the kid be bilingual?
Anglophone
Francophone

Condone/Condemn
I don’t condone the hitting of a child (stupid thing to say actually – but that’s what happens when you joke – sometimes you go over the line a bit – obvs I didn’t mean it)
Condone / condemn

Paul’s Wedding
An out of body experience
We were so stressed out

Crying
To cry
To be in tears
To well up
To choke up

Neither of us cried
I thought everybody would be in tears
I welled up a bit
I was choking up

Walk down the aisle
The altar

Her parents aren’t with her any more. They passed away.
Paul’s dad gave her away. “It was so sweet that it was your dad that was giving her away.”
I’m left-handed
I can’t grip it like I like to grip it. (innuendo)
He’s jumped ahead. (he’s gone to the innuendo before we realised it)

Some ninjas came out of the woodwork. (to come out of the woodwork)
to appear after having been hidden or not active for a long time:
After you’ve been in a relationship for a while all sorts of little secrets start to come out of the woodwork.
Mildly disapproving.
From Cambridge Dictionary Online.

They feel like they’re going to do mistakes. Make mistakes.

Aussie slang mentalfloss.com/article/61847/25-awesome-australian-slang-terms
G’day mate, how are you going?
Arvo: afternoon
Barbie: barbeque
Bogan
Chockers
Fair Dinkum
Fuckin’ oath!
Sweet as
Strewth! (Cliche)

Kiwi slang
The slang is pretty similar to Aussie or UK slang, but the accent is different. For years I couldn’t differentiate it from Aussie, but the more you hear the more you realise how different it is. Watch Flight of the Conchords to hear lots of it. Episode in the pipeline.

453. The 36 Questions that Lead to Love (with Amber & Paul)

Listen to Amber, Paul and me answering questions designed by psychologists to help couples or friends become closer and more intimate.

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Introduction

Hello, welcome back to Luke’s English Podcast, this podcast for learners of English hosted by me Luke Thompson. Hi.

The general idea of this podcast is to help you to improve your English by providing you with content to keep you listening regularly, for longer periods of time, to authentic English as it really is spoken. Sometimes I teach you things on the podcast and other times I play conversations for you to follow, like in this episode.

This episode is entitled 36 Questions that Lead to Love

In this one you’re going to hear the tangential trio of Amber, Paul and me talking about this set of 36 questions, which was compiled by a group of psychologists as part of a study into ‘interpersonal closeness’ or intimacy between people.

Amber first found out about it in a podcast published by the New York Times. Here’s what the NYTimes website says about this study, which is where the 36 questions come from.

The study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability helps to create closeness and intimacy. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal and personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

The questions are now used to help build intimacy or personal closeness typically between couples that want to fall in love, but also between anyone looking for ways of finding out more about each other and developing a closer or deeper relationship.

Amber’s going to tell you more about it in a moment.

These 36 questions are available for you to use or read online at NYTimes.com www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/modern-love/36-questions/

In this episode you’ll hear Amber, Paul and me asking each other those questions.

Let’s see what happens.

  • Will the questions bring us closer together?
  • To what extent will the intimacy level rise?
  • Will they make us fall in love with each other?
  • Or will we just learn weird truths about each other that will disturb us, ultimately causing us to drift apart as friends, and then they’ll never appear on this podcast again?
  • Will these questions help you get to know us more?
  • What could be revealed by this set of questions designed by psychologists to become more and more intimate as they go?
  • Is it possible for 3 British friends to take the whole thing seriously enough for the questions to have the intended effect?

Listen on to find out more.

Here we go…


Outtro

OK so if you were counting the questions you’ll see that we skipped some but that’s our choice isn’t it!

I think, on balance, we probably did become slightly closer than before. There were some particularly revealing moments there where Paul was talking about his lack of confidence in social situations, which is a bit of a surprise considering how I often observe him showing no obvious signs of social awkwardness.

Of course, we didn’t take it all completely seriously. For example, you’re supposed to stare into each other’s eyes at the end of the questions, for four minutes, but that wouldn’t have been particularly interesting for you to listen to.

All the questions are available on the NY Times website – here www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/modern-love/36-questions/

So check them out and use them yourselves – either on a date, with friends, or with your language partners or language groups.

They could provide a nice way for you to practise talking about feelings and personal thoughts in English.

And, if you fall in love with someone as a result, that’s a nice bonus isn’t it!?

If you’ve fallen in love with Amber’s voice and you’re wondering when Amber’s podcast is coming out – it’s not ready yet and I will announce it on the podcast as soon as it is online. It takes a long time to get these things ready – getting your head around the technology, writing, recording, working out how to publish, building a website, setting up your podcast feed, getting on the iTunes store and all of that stuff – it takes time and it’s not as easy as you might think, so just hold your horses for a bit, it’s on its way.

 

325. Catching Up with Oli / Future Predictions (Part 1)

Here’s a 2-part episode featuring a conversation with my cousin Oliver in which we talk about first some challenges he faced over the last few years (including dramatic things like a scooter crash, a tropical disease, a burglary and how he completely flooded his own house) and then some more positive things about being a father and predictions for how society will be different in the future. Also, listen for some general news and announcements about Luke’s English Podcast.

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Announcements & News

  • I hope you enjoyed the episodes I recorded as a tribute to David Bowie. Unfortunately, so soon after we lost Bowie, the news came that another great person has died – the British actor Alan Rickman, who like Bowie was 69 years old and died from cancer. He’s most famous for playing the part of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, and the part of Hans Gruber the bad guy in the film Die Hard with Bruce Willis – both very enjoyable and distinguished performances, but he played many other roles too. Alan Rickman was known for his sardonic humour, his wonderfully rich and unique voice, and for bringing a great amount of weight and humanity as well as humour to his roles. He will be missed too.
  • And, I haven’t even mentioned Lemmy – the lead singer of the group Motorhead, who also died recently. Lemmy played a massive part in the invention of heavy metal music, and was generally a huge personality in the world of British rock. He was on the scene all the way from the 60s until this year when he passed away due to cancer. Lemmy was known for his gravelly voice, his appearance (he looked like a biker dressed in leather with big mutton-chop sideburns and moles on his face – he wasn’t a pretty guy like Bowie by any means), his hard-drinking speed fuelled lifestyle and his bizarre obsession with Nazi regalia – clothing, weapons and so on from the Nazi era. He wasn’t a bad guy, he just liked the designs and imagery from that time – it had nothing to do with the ideology, and at heart he was just committed to playing loud and fast music and living a loud and fast lifestyle – and he will surely go down in history as a true legend of the music world. So, that’s three people, at least. So, can famous British people stop dying please!? If we carry on at this rate there’ll be none left by the end of the year.
  • But let’s not dwell on these dark things any more! I’m glad to present you this episode today because this one is all about the future, and new life because my cousin Oli is going to be a Dad for the first time – his wife is expecting a baby daughter at any time, so let’s look to the future, with new life and positivity and all that stuff! We’ll start that in just a minute, but first – a little bit of admin…
  • The comments issue on the website is fixed. I just needed to do a few updates. You can now post comments on the homepage again. No worries!
  • Email subscribers – are you still receiving emails when I post new episodes? I had a couple of messages from listeners recently who said they hadn’t received emails with new episodes. How about you? If you’re an email subscriber, could you let me know if you received emails for the David Bowie episodes, the episode called With the Thompsons, and the Star Wars spoiler review.
  • Picture comp is finished – so, don’t send me any more photos please! Thank you for the photos I have received in my email account, and, of course, I have loads of pictures. They’ll go up on the website soon and you can pick your favourite. I’m a little bit concerned about how that’s going to work because there are about a billion photos, but I’ll work something out.
  • I’ll be meeting Paul and Amber again soon. Firstly to catch up with them both – because quite a lot has happened since we last spoke on the podcast. Amber went to Costa Rica, and Paul Taylor is now something of a celebrity as his comedy video about kissing in France went super-viral over the last few weeks. His video, “Paul Taylor – La Bise” is about his frustration with the French custom of kissing people when you meet them. It was uploaded onto Robert Hoehn’s YouTube channel French Fried TV on new year’s day and within the space of just a few days it got over 1 million views. He was featured on lots of French websites, radio and TV, and then the video went global on the BBC’s website and more. Paul also has a new solo comedy show every Saturday (as well as the one with me on Thursdays) and it’s completely sold out for the next 10 weeks or something. Wow! Remember when he was on this podcast talking about how he quit his job to do comedy? Remember how difficult it was in Edinburgh? Well, things seem to be working out for him now! Good news!

  • Also, I hope to get Amber and him on this podcast again (if he’ll come on now that he’s such a big celebrity) in order to do that interactive version of the Lying Game – remember that? Listen to “318. The Rematch (Part 2)” to find out the details. Basically, this is a chance for you to get involved in another version of the lying game.  All three of us said some statements, and you now have to write questions in the comments section for episode 318. IN the episode we’ll ask each other your questions, and answer them. Then you can decide if they’re true or lies. Again, listen to 318. The Rematch (Part 2) for all the details (listen until the end).

Introduction to this Episode

As you know at Chrimbo I want back to the UK and stayed with my family, and with my cousin at his home in Bristol. It’s been a while since he was last on the podcast, and quite a lot has changed with him. In our conversation we talk about lots of things and I really think this is an interesting episode, and a very valuable one from a language point of view. The topics we talk about are diverse and quite in-depth and as a result we use lots of different features of grammar and vocabulary. I always encourage you to notice language while listening to native speakers on this podcast, so try to do that in this episode if you can. First we talk about what happened to Oli since the last time he was on the podcast, so watch out for the ways in which we talk about the past – tenses, and other forms. Oli faced a few difficulties and challenges, so watch out for the ways he describes those things. Essentially, he tells me a few anecdotes about some of his difficulties in London, watch out for past tenses and so on. Then we talk about the future, and about various predictions for the next 10-20 years, so naturally you can try to notice the specific language, tenses and modal verbs that we use to describe the future, make predictions and make judgements about the future. As well as that, there’s a lot of vocabulary related to technology, transport and communication.

In my opinion this is a very useful conversation for you to listen to. I loved catching up with Oli and I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to it, and by the way, listen all the way to the end to hear Oli play a bit of guitar – and he’s a really good guitarist.

That’s it!

olipodnew1

311. The Words of the Year (Part 2) *contains some rude language

Welcome to part two of this series about the Collins Dictionary Words of the year 2015. In this episode you’ll hear me discuss these words with Amber and Paul. I’ll also explain and clarify a lot of the things you’ll hear in our conversation. You can listen to the episode, download and also read vocabulary notes below.

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***This episode contains some rude language and explicit content.***
Recently I had Amber and Paul over to the flat and we talked about this list of new words that Collins are introducing into their online dictionary this year. These are all new words we’ve been using a lot this year. Collins have judged them to be worthy of recording in the dictionary. They all relate to new trends in our culture over the last year.
In this series I’m playing you chunks of the conversation with Amber and Paul, and then pausing that and clarifying some of the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation that you heard.
So, you’re getting to hear some natural conversation, but also you’re getting some intensive language teaching too. Hopefully this is the best of both worlds for you as a listener.

Now, without any further ado, let’s carry on. Let me now play you the next conversation chunk. Here it is – this is word 10 in the list of 10 words. Here we go…

Word 10 – “transgender”
transgender (adjective): of or relating to a person whose gender identity does not fully correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth
He’s transgender.
She’s transgender.
Transgender issues.
He was held up as a great example of an American athlete. (to be held up as something)
He identified as female. (to identify as – this is the expression used to say that someone feels like they have a particular identity, particularly in relation to ethnicity, gender etc – e.g. the case of Rachel Dolezal, who worked as a civil rights leader in Washington. She was criticised in the media (shamed) for lying about her ethnicity – she basically tried to pass herself off as black while campaigning for equal rights issues – but she was actually white. Even her parents were in the media saying “yeah, she’s caucasian”. Pretty weird thing to do, and lots of people got angry saying “you can’t just say you’re black and pretend to be a victim of discrimination, when you’re blatantly white!” When criticised for this, she just said “I identify as black” – not “I am black”. This was also a trending story this year. www.buzzfeed.com/claudiakoerner/a-civil-rights-leader-has-disguised-herself-as-black-for-yea#.tiM247b0q
Transvestism / Transvestite (a transvestite is different to a transgender person. Transgender = a man who identifies as a woman even though physically he’s a man – or the other way around, and a transvestite is a person who enjoys dressing as a member of the opposite sex, for whatever reason – usually this is a man who likes dressing as a woman. For some reason this is far more shocking than a woman dressing in male clothes, which nobody seems bothered about)
3 positions (basically): 1. It’s a good thing 2. It’s a bad thing 3. I don’t really care either way.
She’s old school (Germaine Greer). She’s an old school feminist. (old fashioned)
Her position about what feminism should be and how we should address it was important but it has changed and I think she’s not changed with it.
(I talk over Paul quite a lot when he’s talking about same-sex marriage – sorry Paul)
Cisgender (adj)
To misgender someone (not some sort of transgender competition, it’s a verb which means ‘to wrongly gender someone’)
Mx (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms and now Mx)

Word 9 – “to swipe” (there’s some rude language and rude content here)
swipe (verb): to move a finger across a touchscreen on a mobile phone in order to approve (swipe right) or dismiss (swipe left) an image
Swipe was already a word, but this is the specific use of ’swipe right or swipe left’ to mean “accept or reject someone on a dating app”.
Tinder (app)
“Tinder” (“TINder??” pronunciation with surprise and disdain)
to sign up
The unwritten rule
To make a match
I will “do” anything (“do” here means “have sex with”)
Naughty pictures.
Dick-pics
Tit-pic?
‘Pussy’-pic?
Don’t go there.
You’re going there.
He’s dipping his toe in.
He’s taken pictures of his phallus. (other words for a penis. Medical/clinical words: penis, phallus. Informal but not rude: willy. Suggestive but not swear words: tadger, member, private part(s). Rude words: prick, cock, dick.)

Jon Ronson - So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Word 8 – “shaming”
shaming (noun): attempting to embarrass a person or group by drawing attention to their perceived offence, especially on social media
To be publicly shamed
She was trying to be funny by awkwardly implying that it’s very unfair.
There is this massive problem in Africa, and it’s less of a problem in Europe.
If you put that on Twitter the chances are people are going to misunderstand and they’re going to have a knee-jerk reaction, and they will respond in a very angry way.
An Über driver got beaten up by an executive of Taco Bell.
He was completely wasted and completely off his face.
He was slurring his words (remember that one?)
There’s something un-just about it.
You’re making a judgement call on the way someone looks, or what someone does.
You know there was that whole thing about slut shaming.

Book recommendation: Jon Ronson “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke
His voice is a bit off-putting at the beginning but he really draws you into the story.
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End of Part 2
words of the year 2

286. The Wedding Episode

Hi everyone, how are you? As you know I got married a couple of weeks ago (applause & congratulations) and in this episode I’m going to tell you about my wedding day, including the preparation, the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, and what happened on the day itself. I’m not sure how long the episode will be, but I’ll aim to keep it to just one episode.

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So, this is The Wedding Episode. You’re going to hear specific vocabulary related to weddings and you can just follow this personal account of my marriage in France between an English guy (that’s me) and a French girl (that’s my wife, of course). I’m going to describe lots of things in this episode, including how we organised our wedding, the roller coaster of emotions we experienced, why we chose a civil marriage outside and not a religious one in a church, and what marriage really means to me and to my wife. That’s what you can expect in this episode, so strap yourself in and join me on a little journey in to marriage-land, for this special episode of Luke’s English Podcast.

On my wedding day I got a really fantastic surprise which is related to LEP, so I will talk about that in this episode too.

First, let me make a few announcements
– The situation in which I’m recording this episode
– Welcome to any new listeners. I seem to have picked up a lot of new people recently, and I’ve had quite a lot of comments on the website from people saying they’ve just discovered Luke’s English Podcast and that they’re now addicted. That’s great! Welcome to the club. I hope you enjoy being a part of the LEP gang. Join the mailing list. Hello to these recent commenters ROBERTO BISPO DOS SANTOS, Eriko Kato, Kristina Fadeeva, olgaverb, angela, Roberto Geronimo, CFA, deniz from Istanbul, CalMaFdd, Javier (thanks for coming to a recent live show at The Paname), ptholome, Anonymous (a regular contributor), Martin, lotusmar629, Juan Mora, Rhogen Tandayag – I’m not sure where you are all from, some of you are quire regular commenters, not all of you are new, but thank you very much for your comments.
– If you’ve sent me a donation recently then thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are keeping this podcast alive and I wouldn’t be able to do it without your support.
– I joined periscope and did a live broadcast recently. You can see the video on my website (the previous post) and you can follow me on Periscope by searching for my twitter name @englishpodcast or just search for Luke Thompson. You can watch periscopes without the app by clicking here watchonperiscope.com/users/englishpodcast/6862923 From time to time I’ll do live broadcasts, probably when recording podcast episodes.
– I’ve been quiet recently and that’s for the usual reasons. Life has been very busy. I got married, we went away to Italy for a quick romantic getaway, I’ve been occupied at The British Council teaching English all day every day, and we’ve been planning our proper honeymoon which begins in just a couple of days. Also, I’ve been doing quite a lot of comedy in the evenings – various opportunities for comedy gigs arrived over the last two weeks and so I’ve been quite busy. That includes a 1 hour special show that I did with Paul Taylor. We did 30 minutes of stand up comedy each, last Thursday evening. The title of our show is “Taylor & Thompson – Sorry, we’re English”. It’s a show that we expect to perform on a regular basis here in Paris, on either Thursday or Friday evenings. More details to follow.
– I’ve had lots of positive responses to episodes I did recently with Paul Taylor and Amber Minogue. I do plan to have them both on the podcast regularly, and in fact I have plans to record something with Paul later this afternoon, and with both Paul and Amber on Tuesday afternoon. Amber has a young child to look after, as well as her normal working life and so on, so it’s a little bit more difficult to get her on LEP but she loves doing it (and recording episodes of the podcast! -joke) so she’s happy to come over and talk when she has the chance.
– I’m going on my honeymoon in a few days. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. I’m recording a few podcast episodes in the next couple of days and I plan to upload them all before I go so you’ll have some stuff to listen to. I might record some things when I’m on my honeymoon. We’ll see. I’ll be on holiday with my wife so I’m not sure I’ll be in the mood for podcasting, but then again we’re going to California so there could be some great opportunities to talk with American people and give an account of our trip. We’ll see. My wife is totally cool with me recording stuff while we’re there (in fact she wants me to interview some of the locals) but I’m not sure if I want to be thinking about that when I’m on my honeymoon. I might want to just relax and enjoy being a tourist. Still, I am going to bring a microphone and a recorder, so we will see what happens. If I get a chance to record something from inside a toilet on another mode of transport then I will take it. I’ve never recorded something from inside a helicopter or a hot-air balloon, so we will see if I get the opportunity to do that :)

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about this wedding!
So, I got married and I am now wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of my left hand. It’s only been a few weeks since the wedding. We’re in marital bliss, or the honeymoon period as it’s known. Hopefully this feeling will continue for some time.

I am planning to do another episode after this one, in which I deal exclusively with the vocabulary of weddings. But, in this one I’m not going to teach you any words directly, I’m just going to tell you about my wedding, but of course plenty of wedding-related vocabulary will crop up naturally during in my descriptions. I’ll go through that more explicitly in another episode.

You might be thinking – are you really going to reveal so much about your wedding? That’s a bit personal isn’t it? Are you sure it’s wise to tell people so much about your wedding?

Yes, I am aware of those things. I know that I’m revealing quite a lot about myself online. I know, for example, that students of mine at the university might hear this and they will then find out this personal information about their teacher at university, and this might affect my professional relationship with them. But, I don’t feel I have anything to hide, and I share this story with my listeners here with the expectation that you’ll listen to it with a sense of respect for me and my wife, and that you’ll be respectful with the personal info I’m giving here. I share this information in good faith, and that is what I expect in return from you as a listener. Of course, I don’t really need to say these things to the LEP community because I think there is an implicit level of respect there, but still… I’ve said it anyway.

I do realise that revealing personal things about yourself online is a bit risky. The thing about the internet is that whatever I upload here could end up permanently ‘out there’ in the online world. Even if I decide to remove this episode from my website, people could have already (and probably will have) downloaded it, re-uploaded it or whatever – even if I get rid of the original version, it could still be available on torrent sites or file sharing sites, or other places like YouTube or whatever. I don’t mean to say that I’m super important and that information about my wedding, leaked online, could cause world war 3 or anything, no, I just mean that personally I have to be careful about what I upload because ultimately it will be in the public domain forever. Sometimes I think it would be wise for me not to mention anything about myself at all, but I’m willing to do it – but understand that I do it with the expectation that you’ll treat me with the same level of respect that I treat you, and something personal like my wedding I expect you to treat with the suitable level of care and discretion. I’m sure that most of you understand all that, so it’s fine. I just wanted to mention it though.

So let me now tell you the story of my wedding. Remember, I plan to do another whole episode in which I deal specifically with the vocabulary of weddings, so that will come later.

Where on earth should I start?
This series of days was the culmination of not just months and months of planning, but years of a relationship I’ve had with my girlfriend, who is not my girlfriend any more, because she’s now my wife. It was a very emotional few days, full of the joy of life. I’ve never experienced anything like it and my wife and I, and many of our family and friends are still buzzing about it today. It went better than we could have expected. Let me tell you about it.

You might be thinking – but you already got married! You mentioned it in an episode not long ago. Yes, that’s right, but I got married twice! If that’s confusing, don’t worry because I’ll explain it in this episode.

Notes (not a full transcript)

How did you meet your wife?

Was it love at first sight?

Was it hard to keep the relationship going, long distance?

What made you move to France?

Why did you choose to get married?
-I was never a huge fan of marriage, neither of us were. We used to talk about it and agreed that it wasn’t really necessary. It’s never been that important. But somehow, it felt like the right thing to do. In fact, I decided to propose to her not because it was necessary, but because I wanted to do it as a declaration of love and commitment to her – not because I felt any social pressure to do it, because, as I said – I’d never felt any pressure to marry. I’m not from a conservative or religious background. It made my parents happy, and hers too, but they didn’t put pressure on us to marry (I think they’re more keen for us to deliver grandchildren than to get married…)

So, I proposed as a surprise, and as a statement of my love and commitment. That’s the spirit in which we got married.
How did I propose – that’s between me and her. I’m not sharing that.
I’ll talk more about what marriage means to us, and how that affected the wedding day in a moment…

How was the wedding planning?
-Some parts were great, like visiting places in the south of France and doing wine tasting with friends, writing the vows and imagining the event.
But a lot of it was quite stressful and was a lot of work.
We argued a bit, mainly over the fact that she felt she was doing more work than me (I think that was true, but I certainly did a lot too).
We chose to plan it ourselves. We didn’t use a wedding planner. Our parents didn’t organise it. We did it all ourselves. It’s a huge undertaking, with many different things to organise, and it all has to be perfect! That’s a lot of pressure, especially when you’re the ones in the middle of the day. We never really cared about weddings, but suddenly it becomes important because everyone else is going to be there to see it happen, and because of photos and videos, and you only have one wedding day (hopefully) so it becomes more and more important to make it special, unique and wonderful. As a result you end up micro-managing and planning it. That’s time consuming and costly. As a man it’s not my natural position. I mean, I think I can say that most men are more laid back about their wedding. I mean, they don’t require so much detail in the planning. I think that’s generally true. It doesn’t mean we don’t care – of course we care and we want it to be a brilliant day, but we’re probably a bit easier to please. So, what I’m saying is that my wife had a slightly more specific vision of the wedding than me, and that meant she was pretty much the driving force behind the planning. That frustrated her a bit and the argument went something like this: I’m doing everything and you’re doing nothing.
I’m not doing nothing – I’m doing loads of things. That’s unfair, you can’t say I’m doing nothing.
Well, you’re doing less than me.
Yes, well, you don’t let me do more than you. You’re in control everything. You can’t just control everything, and then complain when I’m not doing it.
Hmm, okay I suppose you’re right. In fact, yes Luke I expect you’ll be right about everything from now on and I should just get used to it.
Yes, exactly. Get used to it. When we’re married I’ll always be right. That’s how marriage works.
Obviously, that dialogue at the end became a joke – I’ll never be right again! ;)
Don’t get me wrong – we didn’t argue all the time. Just whenever we did any wedding planning!
No, that was a joke again.
We didn’t argue that much. Most of the planning went fine, and in fact a lot of it was great fun – especially the visiting of locations in the south of France, choosing/tasting the food & wine, writing the vows, practising songs with my brother Jim and my cousin Oli and just looking forward to spending a couple of days in an amazing location with our closest friends and family.

The most difficult things were: choosing the guest list, the table plan, the dress (I was not involved in that), giving people travel and accommodation advice (it was quite complex) and choosing/planning the ceremony.

*Break for Audible offer promotion: www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke*
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
This is the perfect story for this episode about marriage because it is one of the absolute classics of romance fiction. It was published on 16 October 1847 and tells the story of a woman called Jane Eyre who begins her life living through hardships and mistreatment, she gains her independence and education, falls in love with a man who appears to be out of her reach, and enters the tricky world of love, commitment, family and loyalty in the mid 19th century. There are a few twists and turns in the story and plenty of romance! It is read by Juliet Stevenson who is one of the UK’s most beloved actresses. She hasn’t appeared in many international movies, but she’s well known on television, and has an absolutely beautiful and warm voice which is perfect for this kind of story.
The audiobook version has a rating of 4.6 out of 5, which is extremely high. This truly is one of the UK’s favourite books. You can get it from Audible.com free if you’re not already a member. It’s very simple. Just click one of the audible buttons on my site, or go to audibletrial.com/teacherluke to sign up to a trial. You can download any audiobook you want and after 30 days of trial you can cancel your membership but still keep the book. So, the audiobook is free. All the details of this offer are on my website. I highly recommend you make the most of it, and even continue with a full membership of Audible.

What did you have to plan?
-location
-guest list
-invitations
-email addresses and home addresses for contacts
-website
-food menu
-best man and bridesmaids
-music and entertainment (bands, playlists, audio equipment)
-ceremony
-wording and the person to deliver it
-readings in the ceremony
-vows
-location of ceremony
*At this point I skip to the bit below entitled So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-wedding dress
-suit
-dress code
-speeches
-photographer
-gifts for guests
-wine and champagne orders
-other entertainment for the wedding party
-directions for how to get to the wedding (including all the different travel options)
-rental car
-taxis for all the guests
-food for the Sunday brunch

How did you find the location for the wedding?

Did you consider getting a wedding planner?

Why did you get married twice?

What about the London wedding? What happened?

Why did you have a civil marriage? Isn’t it a bit meaningless if you don’t get married in a church?
– No, quite the opposite. I’ll come back to this question.

What about your stag do? And her hen do?

So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-Travelled down on Thursday
-Rented a car and on Friday went to the place.
-Had a small gathering with close friends on the Friday night.
-Rehearsal
-Saturday – less stressful than the London one.
-Late start.
-Very hot indeed!
-Setting up the seats and everything
-Putting up signs and balloons to guide people to the venue
-Getting ready with my best man and friends
-Didn’t see my wife all afternoon
-All guests seated, I lined up with everyone to walk in.
-I walked in with my Mum
-Best man and bridesmaids walked in together
-Flute
-No pictures and no FB please
-My wife arrived on the arm of her Dad and walked very slowly down the aisle.
-Ceremony started, beautiful conditions.
-Readings
-Vows (emotional! Everyone cried)
-Song (too slow)
-Final parts – ring, “you may now kiss the bride”
-Walk out then cocktails, champagne and canapés
-Photo session
-Band playing, people chilling out with their feet in the pool
-Dinner
-Speeches, lighting, food, wine, champagne pyramid
-My song
-Playing music
-The band (Be Combo)
-Dancing & music playlist

THE VIDEO FROM LEPSTERS CONGRATULATING ME!
At this point I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Guillaume and everyone else who contributed to this gift.
So, Guillaume from Switzerland decided to make a video for my wedding day as a way of saying congratulations and also thank you for doing the podcast. He contacted LEPsters all around the world and asked them to record a short video message of congratulations for my wedding day. He then collected the video footage together and edited it all into one video. The cool thing about it is that it looks like a BBC news report, with correspondents from different countries in the world.
There were contributions from Guillaume from Switzerland, Zdenek from the Czech Republic, Jan from the Czech Republic, Daniele from Italy, Denise from Sao Paulo in Brazil, Rafael from Brazil, Sam in the UK, Edison from Colombia, Edgar from Mexico, Chriss from Mexico, Teodora from Romania, Takako from Japan, Trally from Vietman, Gloria from Argentina.
Thank you all so much for the messages. It was absolutely AMAZING to receive them. It was like the icing on the cake. I watched it together with my wife, my brother, my parents and a group of other people and everyone was blown away. They didn’t realise that I was a bit famous around the world. My wife and I were both touched by the messages and the bits of advice about marriage too. We certainly learned that “a marriage is a workshop in which the man works and the woman shops”.
You can see the video on the page for this episode here:

Other stuff (not mentioned on the podcast I think)
-Photo booth
-Bed at 5AM
-Sunday – hangover, hangover cures, food truck, pool, weather
-Sunday evening
-Monday’s plans – massage, lunch, pool, fancy dinner, friends.
-The atmosphere of the location – lavender, nature, landscape, birds, seeing wild boar at night
-Relaxing Tuesday
-The ride home (with too much luggage)
-Back to normal (but marital bliss)

What was good about the wedding?
There are too many things to say really!
The location
The lavender
The weather
The food
The music
The guests

How about the question of the civil marriage – was it meaningless?
It was more meaningful to me than a religious wedding would have been.
Some people, not in our closest circle of friends and family expressed some doubt and scepticism over our decision to have a non-religious wedding in a neutral space (not in a church). Not only is this a little bit disrespectful in my opinion, it’s also a bit short sighted.
Is a non-religious wedding meaningless? Absolutely not. First of all, religion does not have a monopoly on feelings, emotions, sincerity, and sombre promises of faith and respect. These are all things that come from a natural well-spring of humanity that we all have inside us. We’re born with these things, in my opinion, so I believe it’s entirely possible to have a meaningful and emotional wedding without the presence of religious faith. In fact, that’s exactly what happened because it was a very moving and positive marriage.
Ultimately, my wife and I don’t have religious faith, so it would be hypocritical of us to have had a religious marriage.
But it was a very touching wedding – everyone agreed. So many people cried during the ceremony because it was so emotional. But that’s because it was a true and sincere statement of love and commitment from me to my wife. We wrote the words of the ceremony, not a priest. The promises came from us, not from above. The vows were witnessed by our friends and family – and they’re the ones who define the world around us. They’re the communion in which we joined together, and they are the community in which we will continue to be married. It was important for me to share that sincerely with them, and it was their audience that gave the weight and power to the proceedings.
I’ll give you an example. A Japanese couple who I am very close to, but haven’t seen for about 10 years came to the wedding. They travelled all the way from Japan which is a long and expensive flight. It must have been very difficult for them to come, but they did it for us. This is a huge and sincere statement of support for our decision to get married. By travelling so far they reinforced our marriage – I feel the wedding is even more validated by such a sincere act of friendship and support, and I believe the marriage is stronger as a result. They added extra weight to our commitment to be together. We really mean to stay together and hold true to our promise, and we know that our closest friends and family are there to help us stay together. That is genuine, tangible support for our union.
Also, the wedding was a significant moment for me as an ex-pat living away from home in a foreign country. It was an event at which my UK life and my French life joined together (and my online life too). Suddenly my UK friends saw my French life with my French friends. Also, my French friends saw me with my UK friends and understood me more. These friends who didn’t know each other suddenly spent a weekend together. It was very important in bringing my circle of friends closer together, giving me extra security. I feel that my life is less disconnected than it was before. The wedding brought people together and that’s important. Luckily everyone got on with each other and there was very little drama or trouble or anything. That’s just because we’ve got awesome friends and it was really cool to mix them together.
In fact, seeing all my closest friends and family all in one place was quite incredible. Every person there was special to me in some way. It was overwhelming really.
So, the wedding was a celebration of friendship, love and commitment, and it was a success.

What do you expect from marriage in the future?
I don’t expect it to be a solution to problems. I think that’s a mistake. Some people might believe that getting married means that suddenly your problems disappear and that life is all just a mission to get married to the right person, but I don’t agree with that. I’m well aware that it requires work and patience. It can feel restrictive and all that, but I think that if you don’t hide from this reality, and you’re honest with yourself and each other, and you don’t live in fear of conflict, and that you celebrate each other every day in some way, and make an effort to reward each other and communicate and so on, then I think it can be a really wonderful thing. In fact, I already find it very fulfilling and rewarding. How? You might ask… Well, there’s a sense of security and family that you have in joining with someone and becoming an official team. Also, I just enjoy calling her my wife. I’m sure there’ll be moments of hardship, but I really believe you can’t escape the difficulties in life. In the end hardship will come and find you somehow. I was ok with being single, and being alone (because I wasn’t a massive player or anything) but I prefer being in partnership with my wife. I’ve lost my single status and whatever freedoms that involved, but I have gained something more than that – the companionship of my wife and the influence of her on me. I think it’s a good choice. I just hope that we stay close like this for the rest of our marriage and that we find new depths to our relationship, and that it doesn’t go wrong at any point. I think that’s up to us really. As long as the spark is still there, it’s up to us to nurture it and turn it into a warm and nourishing fire.

Are you having a honeymoon?
Yes, we’re going to California (even though it appears to be on fire at the moment, and San Francisco is expecting a big earthquake at any time).
We originally planned to visit South America, but we have postponed that because we left the planning too late. We want to trek the Inca Trail, but it’s fully booked.
It’s easier for us to arrange a Californian holiday, but we will be back in Peru/Bolivia and hopefully other places in the future. We would both love to visit South America, and plenty of other places! In fact, I imagine many of you are thinking – oh Luke don’t go to the USA again, come to our country to celebrate your wedding!

Places we would like to visit:
Mexico
South America (Peru/Bolivia & everywhere else)
Japan
A tour of the UK!

Is your wife going to be on the podcast?
Maybe… we’ll see. Her English is good enough, and I think she’s charming, but I’d quite like to keep her to myself, so we’ll see…
Lavender

250. Marooned With My Music: Gill Thompson

Welcome to Luke’s English Podcast and this special series, called Marooned With My Music. My castaway today is my Mum, Gill Thompson. [Download]

Small Donate ButtonBorn as part of the baby boom generation after World War 2, Gill grew up and lived in England during a time of great social change in the latter half of the 20th century. Gill has lived in various parts of the country during her life, including Yorkshire, the Midlands and London, and has had various jobs including time spent at the BBC, at a primary school, at a university, and now in a charity bookshop, but perhaps her most time-consuming and indeed energy-consuming responsibility has been to bring up two boys and manage a household of 3 men, her husband and her two sons. While doing all of that she also studied for a general arts degree with the Open University adding to her now quite considerable knowledge of history, art, literature and philosophy. She is a voracious reader, a fount of knowledge and wisdom, a loving wife and an amazing Mum, and I’m very glad to have her on the programme today.

Mum’s Choices
1. Always by Patsy Cline, written by Irving Berlin
2. I’ll String Along With You by Al Bowlly
3. Harvest Moon by Neil Young
4. Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
5. Our House by Madness
6. Don’t Forget to Dance by The Kinks
7. Bach Double Violin Concerto – Played by Yehudi Menuhin And David Oistrakh
8. I’ll See You In My Dreams by Joe Brown

Book Choice: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne
Luxury Item: A king-size bed with an everlasting supply of 100% Egyptian cotton sheets
marooned

132. Pronouncing ~ed Endings (with Added Romance and Horror)

Some pronunciation, some vocabulary, some romance and a little bit of horror-movie gore in this episode.

Right-click here to download this episode.

Hi everyone, I decided to teach you some essential language this time. Here’s what to expect from this episode:

The first part is about the pronunciation of ~ed endings (e.g. agED, beggED or wastED, etc)
The second part involves some -ed adjectives.
Then I teach you some idioms and very natural expressions.
The episode also includes a romantic story with sentences you can repeat, and a little bit of horror movie violence, just in case you were bored of all the ‘romance’.

For vocabulary notes, see below.

You can make donations by clicking PayPal donate buttons on my site. It’s my birthday next Wednesday. Just saying…

VOCABULARY NOTES AND TRANSCRIPT FOR THE FIRST PART OF THE EPISODE
In this episode I’m going to teach you some really useful things. It’s been a while since I taught you things, or focused on language. Recent episodes have been interviews, which are really useful because you can listen to authentic English as it really is spoken, but I also think it’s important for us to look closely at some features of language too: either vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar (even though grammar is usually pretty boring unless you’re a grammar geek).

So, in this episode we’re going to focus on a few things.
First we’re going to look at pronunciation of –ed endings. That’s often a tricky area for many people around the world. We’re going to practice that a bit.
There will also be some vocab – some regular verbs that you might find useful, but also some –ed adjectives.

If that sounds a little basic, then worry not because I’m also going to throw in some more idiomatic language as we continue, and anyway this is Luke’s English Podcast. It’s always really fun and entertaining anyway. Darn it, I will make this entertaining as well as useful, if it’s the last thing I do!

There are language notes related to all of this on the website. I still have two websites; teacherluke.podomatic.com and teacherluke.wordpress.com.

-ED ENDINGS
So first; let’s look at ed endings.
They’re tricky for many people (particularly Brazilians)
They’re very common, so you really should be able to pronounce them all correctly
There are 3 ways to pronounce them
/t/ /d/ or /id/
Examples: asked agreed wanted
How do you know the correct pronunciation? It depends on the sound at the end of the word, before you add the –ed part.
If it’s an unvoiced sound then the –ed is pronounced /t/
If it’s a voiced sound then the –ed is pronounced /d/
If it’s a t or d sound then you add a syllable by using the /id/ sound
It’s hard to remember and process those rules during fluent speech, so don’t worry about it too much.
What you should do is practice repeating the words in sentences with correct pronunciation so you get used to saying them correctly.
For many of you this will involve unlearning many years of speaking in your native language, or many years of saying the words wrong (becquse you read the words from a page, or because no-one told you otherwise)
If you’re young then congratulations you stand a better chance of fixing this potentially fossilized error.

The verbs: Listen to the episode to hear the pronunciation of them. They’re all regular verbs ending in -ed.
touch / stop / stroll / suggest / walk / want / agree / ask / arrive / beg / blush / chat / decide / drop / enjoy / explain / gaze / grab / jump / knock / look / miss / open / phone / pick / recommend / reply / seem / scream / shock / show / skip / smile / squeeze / start

The Complete Story
1. I was sitting alone in my office when someone knocked on the door, and I stopped working.
2. The door opened, and a pretty woman walked in.
3. When she looked at me, my heart jumped. She was very beautiful. I gazed back at her for a moment.
4. My heart started beating faster. I couldn’t help noticing that she seemed nervous too. She blushed slightly when I looked at her.
5. “Are you Mr Thompson?”, she asked me.
6. “Yes, I am”, I replied. “How can I help you?”
7. “Sorry to bother you” she said. She smiled sweetly. “I’m the new girl in the office, I just arrived yesterday”
8. “Yes, I missed you yesterday, I was out of the office.”, I explained.
9. “Oh, it’s no problem, I phoned you, but you weren’t in. I just wanted to say that I’m really glad to be working with you. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
10. I blushed. She was being so nice. I decided to stop working, so I could show her around the office.
11. We strolled through the building, and I showed her around. As we chatted, we connected on a deep, meaningful level.
12. She asked me if I knew any nice restaurants in the area. I recommended a really good English one near the station.
13. She said she wanted a coffee, so I used the new machine to make her one. When I gave it to her, our hands touched briefly and my heart skipped a beat.
14. After a moment, I suggested that we go to the English restaurant together, for a romantic meal of fish and chips.
15. She agreed, and inside I was delighted. Later that evening, I picked her up on my scooter. As we rode through the bumpy streets, she squeezed my waist to hold on. When I sped up to 32mph she screamed with excitement!
16. We enjoyed a wonderful evening together. She was amazing! When I dropped her off at her house, I made a quick decision. “Will you… marry me?” I asked.
17. “…get …married?” she said, shocked. “The thing is… I can’t…”
18. “Why not?!” I begged. “I love you! Please marry me!!”
19. She grabbed my arm, and said. “I love you too, but I can’t marry you, because…”
What happened next? Leave a comment to give your opinion.

-ED ADJECTIVES AND SOME IDIOMATIC ALTERNATIVES
Confused
I didn’t know what was going on
I couldn’t get my head around it
It really messed with my head

Disappointed
I was gutted
I felt really let down
I felt really dejected

Terrified
I was absolutely petrified
I nearly shat myself (very rude!)
I was shit scared (very rude!)

Embarrassed
I just wanted the ground to swallow me up
I felt like such an idiot

Delighted
I was so chuffed
I was over the moon
I felt amazing
I couldn’t believe it

Interested
I was riveted
It was absolutely fascinating
I was on the edge of my seat

Excited
I’m well up for it (enthusiastic)
I’m stoked
I’m buzzing

Exhausted
I’m knackered
I’m shattered
I just want to crash out

Shocked
It was like a slap in the face
I was stunned
I couldn’t believe my ears/eyes

Surprised
I jumped out of my skin

Nervous doesn’t mean angry or annoyed.
It means stressed and scared (like before the dentist).
Dentist: nervous
If someone is playing loud music, or clicking a pen: annoyed or angry.

That’s it!