Tag Archives: discussion

452. A Conversation About Language (with Amber & Paul)

Discussing language with Amber & Paul, including issues such as errors made by native speakers, language change, whether language standards are declining, the effects of technology on language and how to cut an avocado without injuring yourself.

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Introduction

The other day Amber and Paul came over to my flat do a podcast. We were having tea, chatting and getting ready to record something, and we just started talking about language, I think because Paul said that he found it weird that even though he can speak 3 languages really well, he knows nothing about language – he doesn’t know the grammatical terms, the rules of what makes something right or wrong or somewhere in between, and we were talking about it, and I quickly managed to press the record button and ended up recording about 50 minutes of us rambling on about language – all totally unplanned and spontaneous.

You’re about to listen to it. This is an Amber & Paul episode so you’re going to hear an unscripted and natural chat between friends so there might be a bit of swearing.

Before you listen to us discussing language-related issues, consider these questions, which are at the heart of our conversation.

  • What are some common errors native English speakers make in English?
  • How do native English speakers feel about mistakes in English, particularly mistakes made by other native speakers?
  • Are some errors worse than others?
  • How does a language evolve? Are errors a part of that process?
  • Has your language, or English, changed much in the last 100, 200, 300 years?
  • Is your language, or English, getting worse than before? Are standards of language declining?
  • Has a language ever totally broken down and died due to falling standards?
  • Why did latin die out as a language?
  • On a slight tangent, what’s the safest way to cut an avocado?
  • Back on track, how does Charles Darwin relate to language development?
  • What effect is technology having on our language? Is it making us better or worse at communicating?
  • Are we better at communicating than we used to be? Are we getting better at communicating? How do you even measure that?
  • Do you know more about English grammar and so on than most native speakers of English?
  • Do you know more about English grammar and so on than Paul Taylor?
  • Are you better at cooking than Paul Taylor?

Watch out for answers, and general rambling on the subject of those questions as you now listen to our conversation about language.


That’s it! Leave your comments below.

So there you are, that was our conversation about language.

I invite you to take part in the conversation by getting into the comment section.

Let me remind you of those questions from the beginning. (see above)

There were a few unanswered questions in there, and I think I might be asking David Crystal about some of them.

Remember that? I’m going to interview the world’s leading voice on language – Professor David Crystal. It’ll be a chance to ask him various questions about language. I’ve already collected some questions from my listeners, and I have loads to ask him too, but feel free to offer up a question or two and if I get a chance I’ll ask him.

Actually, I’ve already interviewed David Crystal, so it’s too late to send me your questions! Episode coming soon.

391. Discussing Language, Culture & Comedy with Alexander van Walsum

Here is a new episode featuring a conversation with a friend of mine who originally comes from the Netherlands but he has lived all over the world. You’re going to hear us talking about cultural differences, Dutch stereotypes, doing business in France, the UK and the USA, the different communication styles in those places, doing stand up comedy and getting Darth Vader’s signature. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it.

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Alex performing at Le Paname Art Cafe in Paris

You can see Alex performing at “WTF Paris? – Comedy Therapy for Expats” with Amber Minogue at the SoGymnase comedy club in Paris every Friday evening at 8pm. Details here https://www.weezevent.com/wtf-paris
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381. Discussing Cultural Differences (with Amber & Paul)

In this episode I’m talking to my friends Amber and Paul about cultural differences, particularly in the ways we communicate with each other in different countries.

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You should know that there is a bit of swearing in this one as well as a few dodgy jokes and references to previous episodes of the podcast, which you should probably listen to before you listen to this one in order to understand a couple of references and in-jokes. The previous episode is number 380. As for the swearing, I see it as just evidence of the fact we are all talking in a totally relaxed, genuine and natural manner, like we normally do in this social situation.

I just want to say that our aim in this conversation was to compare different cultures and not to criticise other cultures. We’re just expressing our own personal experiences from our point of view. Since we all live in France and we’re from England, there are quite a lot of comments about differences between French and English culture. If you’re French I’d love to read your points of view on many of the things we’re talking about and I am sure that you could make loads of similar comments about life in England – like, why the hell do we have separate taps in the bathroom? Or, why do girls go out on a Friday night with hardly any clothes on? Don’t they get freezing cold? And why do Brits drink so much? These are all things that might seem strange to visitors to the UK. So, I’m well aware that all cultures and behaviours can seem strange from the outside and it’s all just a matter of context.

In fact, I have already done several podcast episodes all about culture shock experiences of people moving to the UK (specifically London) from foreign countries. Check out the links to listen to those episodes.

192. Culture Shock: Life in London (Pt.1)

193. Culture Shock: Life in London (Pt.2)

I am sure you have points of view on this that you would like to express, so feel free to leave comments on the page for this episode. Don’t forget to join the mailing list on the website to get easy access to the page for every new episode when it is uploaded.

So without any further ado, here’s a podcast about cultural differences with Amber and Paul.

Discussing Cultural Differences

Luke’s Intro

Although we are all the same, we’re also different.

Ways we’re the same:

We all fall in love, go to the loo, get hungry, get tired, like laughing, listen to LEP.

But we’re all different – individually we are all unique, but we are also different as groups, tribes, nationalities or cultures.

Although it’s bad to generalise, it seems that cultures – like ethnicities or nationalities, tend to have certain shared behaviours and customs that mark them out as different to others. For example, although the English and French share a lot of things in common there are certain things which mark us out as different. Not just the language we speak, but the way we behave and the things we think are important. Like the way we queue.

 

So anyway, that’s just an example of culture shock I suppose. But it shows that there are cultural differences. Of course there are! Everyone knows it.

If you’ve ever been abroad or had contact with other cultures you’ll know that sometimes it’s incredibly obvious that our cultures are different. Sometimes it’s shockingly obvious, sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s just weird, but we have to remember that they’re just differences and while they can be confusing, frustrating and also funny, ultimately we need to find ways to look beyond these differences and not let them become a barrier to things like communication, understanding, business, diplomacy and relationships.

In this episode I’d like to have a discussion about cultural differences that we’ve noticed around the world. These could be different types of behaviour, like certain customs and habits, or just different values – like, what people seem to think is important, and how those values reveal themselves in the way things are done.

Amber & Paul

What are your credentials in terms of your cross cultural experiences?

  • How long have you lived in France?
  • Have you visited many other places? Which other places have you been to?
  • Have you had cross cultural experiences?
  • Have you been in a relationship with someone from another culture?
  • Have you done business with people from other cultures?

I have a list of different behaviours and values. Just stuff I’ve noticed or heard about. Well go through the list.

We can answer these questions:

  • Where do they do this?
  • Do we do this in the UK?
  • Do we consider this to be weird behaviour or not? Is there a reason for this behaviour?
  • Do you have any experiences of this? Would you like it if we introduced this into our culture?

The list: (please note that we are not talking about ‘two-taps in the bathroom’)

  • Kissing or hugging someone when you meet them (Paul did a successful video about this)
  • Looking people in the eye
  • Indirectness/diplomacy/politeness (or hypocrisy) vs directness/straightness/clarity (or rudeness) – e.g. certain cultures tend to be indirect when giving negative feedback, other cultures favour direct negative feedback
  • conflict vs non-conflict
  • Smiling in public

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For discussion in future episodes… PLEASE ADD MORE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN THE COMMENT SECTION SO WE CAN DISCUSS THEM IN THE FUTURE :) 

  • Eating early vs eating late in the evening
  • Having milk in tea
  • Eating scorpions / spiders / toads / frogs
  • Eating with your hands / chopsticks / a knife and fork / not your left hand
  • Burping or farting after eating
  • Girls wearing miniskirts in the middle of winter
  • Hawking / spitting in the street
  • Saying “good morning” or “good afternoon” in shops/post offices before you can get anything done
  • Kissing in public
  • Begging
  • Crossing the road – waiting for cars to stop vs just walking into the street vs using pedestrian crossings
  • Driving on the left
  • Queuing in an organised and patient way vs Not queuing – “every man for himself” (or something in between)
  • Public transport – following the rules vs no rules (e.g. queueing, letting people off before getting on, etc)
  • Falling asleep on public transport
  • Talking to strangers on public transport
  • Having a strict attitude towards health and safety (e.g. wearing safety belts in cars) vs Having a relaxed attitude towards health and safety (e.g. not wearing safety belts, overtaking on corners)
  • Bribing police or other people
  • Having more than one wife, or having affairs
  • Saying “yes” in order to save face
  • Having carpet in the bathroom
  • Wearing shoes indoors
  • Sitting down to go to the toilet vs Squatting on the floor when you go to the toilet (or any other toilet related comments)
  • Putting The UK at the centre of the map

Is there anything else you’ve found to be weird or different?

299. The Bank Robbery (Part 2)

Welcome back to this special double episode in which we are planning a bank robbery as part of a communication game. I strongly recommend that you listen to the previous episode because it will help to make this one much easier to understand. In part 1 I explained the rules of this communication game, which involves a team coming up with a plan to rob a bank. I gave you all the key information which the team has to share, I clarified some useful language that you’ll hear and then we listened to the first part of the bank robbery meeting, with our team of Amber, Paul and Sebastian. In this episode you’re going to hear the rest of the meeting, and then we’ll find out exactly what happens to them, and the full solution to the whole puzzle.

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To read all the key information for this bank robbery, go back to episode 298. You can read all the important details there.

Below you can read about the different outcomes of each possible plan, including which plans will get you the most money, and which plans will result in you being caught or killed.

The purpose of these bank robbery episodes is to highlight certain key language for problem solving in meetings, and to enjoy simulating a big bank heist, like in the movies!

Outcomes
When the group have finished planning, and presenting their plans, use this information to find out what will happen as a result of the plan.

Which day?
Monday – The gold will not have been delivered yet! You will get no gold and no diamonds on Monday. Just the cash (£20,000)
Tuesday – If you rob the bank after 11.10AM then you’ll be able to get the gold and cash but not the diamonds.
Wednesday – The diamonds will not be delivered until the evening so robbing the bank on Wednesday means you’ll only get gold and cash, and no diamonds.
Thursday – This is the best day to steal the gold, cash and diamonds.
Friday – This is a bad day because the extra security guards will delay your exit and you’ll be caught in a fire-fight. You’ll either be arrested or killed if you rob the bank on Friday. If you have The Shooter, you won’t be killed (because he’ll kill the cops), but you will be arrested.
Saturday & Sunday – The bank is closed so you can’t go in the front door.

If you choose to enter by tunnel you must rent the shop on Monday and start digging with The Tunnel Expert on Tuesday. Then you can take the gold from the vault on Sunday 8th and escape before anyone notices anything. However, you will only be able to keep the gold. The cash and diamonds won’t be there any more. So, just £100,000,000 – half the money.

What time?
In the morning – Robbing the bank in the morning will delay the cops by an extra five minutes (because of traffic and donuts) so you’ll be able to leave before they arrive. However, you will find it too hard to escape by car because of bad traffic and eventually you’ll be caught.

In the afternoon – The police will arrive in 15 minutes, and your robbery will take 15 minutes so you will meet the police as you leave the bank. If you have guns you’ll be able to provide covering fire to help you escape. If you have The Shooter he will shoot some police and allow you to escape. If you have The Driver you will be able to escape. However, in the afternoon witnesses will see the car chase and will report your number plate to the police. You will be caught eventually.

In the dark (between 6PM and 8PM) – This is the best time to do the robbery. It will take the police 15 minutes to respond. Your robbery will last 15 minutes and you’ll meet the police as you leave the bank. If you have guns you’ll be able to provide covering fire to help you escape. If you have The Shooter he will kill some police officers and help you escape. If you have the inside man he will delay the alarm and the cops by an extra 5 minutes and you don’t need to have a gun fight at all. If you have The Driver he will help you escape the police and get to the safehouse, and it’ll be too dark for witnesses to see your number plate.

 Who to take:
The Shooter – If you have chosen to enter the bank by the front door he can help you to escape the bank if the cops arrive as you are leaving. However he will probably kill police officers and possibly some hostages too, and you want to avoid unnecessary killings. If you are caught eventually, your prison sentence will be far more severe.

The Inside Man – You need him to find the correct entry point in the vault for the tunnel. Without the Inside Man your tunnel will not find the vault and you won’t get any of the money. Also, if you enter by the front door he will delay the alarm and the police by an extra 5 minutes. This means you don’t need to have a gun fight and no killing will be necessary.

The Driver – If you choose to enter the bank by the front door you will definitely need the driver to escape from the cops by car. If you raid the bank by front door without The Driver you will be caught or shot. If you have The Shooter and The Driver – you’ll definitely be shot. It’ll be a bloodbath.

The Safe Cracker – He is unnecessary as you can either dig into the vault or persuade a member of staff to let you in. You don’t need The Safe Cracker and you will fail if you pick him (because the other people are more useful)

Jimmy The Informant – Don’t trust Jimmy The Informant. He’s made a deal with the police to keep him out of prison. He will tell you nothing useful about the police. In fact, he will just tell the police everything about your plans. The police will already be there, undercover, and you’ll be either arrested or killed.

The Tunnel Expert – You need his skills and expertise if you plan to enter the bank by tunnel. If you tunnel into the bank without him it will take 7 days and that is too late.

How to enter the bank
By the front door – You will need to employ The Driver and either The Inside Man or The Shooter to help you deal with the police when you leave. If you enter by the front door without The Driver and one of the other guys then you will fail.

By tunnel – You’ll need to rent the shop on Monday so you can start digging on Tuesday. You must bribe the shop owner so he doesn’t tell the police your real name (so, deduct £5m). You need The Inside Man to tell you how to find the vault. You need The Tunnel Expert to dig the tunnel in 5 days. If you start digging on Tuesday then you can enter the vault on Sunday and take the gold without anyone noticing. However, if you do this you’ll only take the gold and no diamonds or cash. Total amount: £95m in gold.

Masks or no masks?
With masks – The staff will immediately realise it is a robbery. Then they will raise the alarm. You’ll have 15 minutes before the police arrive. That is enough time, especially if you use The Inside Man to delay the alarm.

Without masks – Your face will be captured by the CCTV cameras and you will eventually be caught by the police, even years later.

You don’t need masks if you choose to enter by tunnel.

Guns or no guns?
Guns – You can use them to persuade a staff member to open the vault, so you don’t need The Safe Cracker. Using guns will make the punishment more serious, but who cares!

No guns – This will reduce your prison sentence if you get caught. You will need The Safe Cracker to get into the vault because you won’t be able to persuade someone to do it for you in time. You won’t be able to fight the police and escape. You will need guns for this robbery. You should definitely take some guns. Without guns you will fail the robbery.

How will you enter the vault?
If you have chosen guns then you can persuade someone to let you into the vault. If you are tunnelling, then you need The Inside Man to help you find the location of the vault.

What will you steal?
This depends when and how you plan to enter the bank. The best option is to steal all the gold, cash and diamonds but you can only do this on Thursday after 6PM by entering through the front door (see Thursday above). If you tunnel in and arrive on Sunday you can only steal the gold.

The BEST plan
Rob the bank on Thursday between 6-8pm when it is dark. Wear masks and carry guns. The Inside Man will delay the alarm, delaying the cops by 5 key minutes. You can use a gun to persuade someone to open the vault. You can get the gold, cash and diamonds into the van in 15 minutes and drive away without being spotted at all. The police will arrive 5 minutes late because of the delayed alarm. The police will have no idea who robbed the bank, you will not have to kill anyone and you can get maximum money this way.
People: The Driver and The Inside Man

Another good plan: Rent the shop on Monday. Bribe the shop owner and give a fake name for the rental records. Start digging on Tuesday. The Inside Man will tell you where to dig the tunnel. The Tunnel Expert will help you to dig it properly. Finish digging on Sunday. Move the gold out of the vault before Monday morning. Take the gold to the shop through the tunnel. Drive the van to the safehouse. No one will ever know who did it. …however, there is a weak link here – the shop owner. He has to pretend that he had no idea about the plan, and he has to be very discreet about the money. If the police threaten him, he might give in under pressure and describe your appearances.
People: The Inside man and The Tunnel Expert.

The Plan Chosen by Amber, Paul and Sebastian
Go in with masks but no guns, on Thursday evening at 6.30. The alarm goes off. The police are on their way. Use the safe cracker to open the vault in 2 minutes. Fill your bags with gold, cash and diamonds, in 10 minutes. You’re out and in the car about 3 minutes before the police arrive. You manage to escape with all the money! It’s a bit risky because it’s a bit tight because you’re leaving just 3 minutes of escape time, but with the getaway driver you can do it because there isn’t too much traffic on the streets, due to the big international football game between England and France, which is on the TV.
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274. Q&A Session #4

In this episode I’m going to respond to questions that my listeners have asked me in the teacherluke.co.uk discussion forum. I’ll also deal with some other questions I’ve received from listeners in different ways, either on Facebook, twitter, email or as comments posted on my website.

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So this is a Q&A episode – Q&A, obviously means Question and Answer. It’s not the first time I’ve done this on the podcast before. The first time was Episode 17 “Hello To My Listeners Around the World”, then episode 51 “Luke Answers Your Emails and Questions”, then episode 126 “Your Emails, Comments and Questions” – and that was the last time I did an episode devoted to your questions and comments, although I did do the “Your English Podcast” series which featured lots of comments from listeners, and some Q&A in other episodes like “Rickipedia” with my Dad or “A Cup of Tea with…” with friends like Pierre Gaspard, Sebastian Marx, Sarah Donnelly, where we answered questions from Facebook. But really, this is in fact the 4th episode devoted solely to answering listeners’ questions. That’s why this episode is called Q&A Session #4. This is something I plan to do more regularly. If you’d like to send me questions to be answered in the podcast, listen up and I’ll tell you the best ways to get in touch with me.

So, thanks for attending the LEP Q&A Session for May 2015. Make yourself comfortable. Pull up a chair, there are plenty available. Help yourself to biscuits. Let’s imagine that this virtual meeting is taking place inside a pod which is orbiting the earth. Let’s hope there’s no space debris like in that film Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, that could be disastrous, but also entertaining and with great 3D effects. No, there’s no need to worry – during this Q&A meeting, we’re just going to cruise around the atmosphere in total comfort while I carefully respond to different questions and queries which have been sent in to LEP via the matrix, I mean, the internet.

Just before I answer those questions from listeners, I’d like to just mention a few other things – these are some things that I would like to deal with and I think now is an appropriate time. Feel free to use this moment as a chance to just get comfortable, pour yourself some space coffee, get used to the zero gravity conditions, have a power-nap, whatever you’ve got to do.

Recent Episodes
I’m very glad to see that recent episodes of the podcast have been well received by the international community of LEP. Comments have been encouraging, particularly for the ones involving Amber and Paul which I uploaded over the past week or two. Those episodes were a lot of fun and I plan to feature Amber and Paul with their lovely voices, on the podcast again soon, perhaps to do some more improvisation games and language focus.

Audible Sponsorship
You can’t fail to have noticed that most of my episodes now contain mentions of an audiobook offer from Audible.com. There’s usually a pre-show spot of about 1 minute when I remind you to go to audibletrial.com/teacherluke where you can sign up and get a free audiobook. Now, why am I doing that? Well, it’s quite simple really. I’ve arranged to have sponsorship from Audible for several reasons. The main one is that it’s a way for me to monetise this podcast which I spend so much of my time working on. I love doing LEP and I spend quite a lot of my time on it, and I work alone except for bits of assistance from some LEP Ninjas who manage google docs for transcriptions. Basically, I have to be able to justify doing this – if I can’t get some remuneration for my efforts, then why should I keep spending so much time working essentially for free? Obviously, doing the podcast not completely thankless or anything – it’s wonderful and I love it! I receive so many encouraging comments from my listeners, positive responses, and I am able to connect with so many cool people around the world and that is massively rewarding, and I am so grateful for everyone’s support. However, I think it’s time I made a little bit of cash from my efforts, and sponsorship is one of the ways for me to do that. Also, I’d like to keep LEP free for you to download, rather than making everyone pay for episodes. So, how can I generate some income while keeping the podcast free? Well, sponsorship is one of the answers. Loads of other top podcasts have sponsors – Marc Maron, Serial, This American Life – they’re all sponsored by someone. That’s how they make it work. It’s the industry standard for monetising a podcast. Now, my mentions of audible.com might distract you slightly, or perhaps even make you feel that I’ve gone commercial or something. I understand that. But for me, sponsors are just a normal part of any successful podcast. Also, I believe Audible.com is an appropriate sponsor for LEP. Listening to audiobooks can be a great way to get loads of English input. I know there may be free audiobooks available out there – but frankly they’re not recorded using professional actors who can bring these stories to life. Also, Audible has a really wide range of stuff for you to download, or listen to on their website. I use Audible, and generally I’m happy with the service and I used their 30 day trial, got my free book and continue to use them, getting a new audiobook every month as part of my package. This month I downloaded a book by one of my favourite British journalists called Jon Ronson – the book is called “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed?” and it’s all about the modern phenomenon of public shaming on social networks (e.g. when someone writes something stupid or controversial on Twitter and is then attacked by hundreds of people in a kind of feeding frenzy of public criticism.) Ronson is a brilliantly insightful and humorous writer and he narrates the book himself. Here’s a link to Jon Ronson’s books if you’re interested.

So, I like Audible, even if their iPhone application sucks. I mean, it used to be great, but since a recent update it hasn’t been working properly so I just download the books to my laptop and listen there, or transfer them to my phone using the cable connection.

So, anyway, what I’m trying to say is: The fact that my podcast is sponsored is absolutely a good thing. It’s good for me, it’s good for the podcast and it is good for you, because you can take advantage of their offer and get yourself an audiobook. You’ll just have to put up with me mentioning my sponsors from time to time – but don’t worry, I’ll try to keep those mentions brief, informative, light-hearted and not too intrusive.

Join The Mailing List
Have you done this yet? You should!
teacherluke.co.uk is my base and this is where I post not only episodes of Luke’s English Podcast but also where I post other things that are worth sharing with you my lovely audience – like for example if I’ve been interviewed one someone else’s podcast or even featured on TV! If you join the mailing list you’ll get an email whenever I post a new episode or something like that. Don’t worry though, I definitely won’t spam you or send you loads of unnecessary things that just fill up your inbox. I hate that. You’ll just get an email with new a notification of a new episode or special extras whenever I add them. To join the mailing list just enter your email address in the space provided in the right of this screen.

How To Get In Touch With Me
There are lots of ways to get in touch with me.
LEP is on Facebook and you can leave comments there or send me a private message. Click here for the FB page.
I’m on Twitter, and you can tweet me there. Click here for my twitter (@englishpodcast)
But the best way is to contact me via my website – either publicly by leaving a comment on one of my episodes, or by sending me an email.
You can email me through the website quite simply. Just click on CONTACT in the menu and you can write your message there. It will be sent to me as a private email.
Also, I always welcome your thoughts, questions and suggestions – so please send me your feedback. I’ve set up a feedback form, and you can find it by mousing over the word CONTACT in the menu on my website.

The Discussion Forum
There’s also the discussion forum which is a cool way to chat with other Lepsters and make friends.
Have you seen it yet? – just visit teacherluke.co.uk and click “Discussion Forums” in the menu.
There are various discussions going on there, on different topics and you can add your own topics and pose your own questions. There’s a Skype group too, where people share Skype details and then chat with each other online. That includes the chatcast which is pretty cool. teacherluke.co.uk/forums/forum/general-discussion/

Please send me your questions – I will aim to answer them in episodes of the podcast
I haven’t done a Q&A on the podcast for quite a long time, but I love doing it.
In fact, that’s what this episode is all about – answering your questions and queries.
For future reference, you can send me your questions – either in an email via the CONTACT page, or in the discussion forum.

LEP Q&A
In June 2014 I posted this in the forum:

Luke – June 13, 2014 at 12:18 pm
Send me your questions for the podcast
teacherluke.co.uk/forums/topic/send-me-your-questions-for-the-podcast/
This is where you can ask me questions that you’d like me to answer on the podcast.
Ask me a question here and I’ll answer it on the podcast (probably – I do reserve the right to not answer questions if I want).
Feel free to ask me about ANYTHING.
It could be a question you’d like me to discuss, in order to hear my opinion.
It could be a question about English.
It could be just a fun question that you’d like me to ramble on about.
When there are enough questions here I’ll make a podcast and respond to you.
Let the imagination run wild…

Questions from the Forum & Some Other Places
Here are the questions which were sent to me.
The questions are varied – some things about grammar or vocabulary, some questions asking for my opinion about language teaching or learning, some asking for my opinion or thoughts on other topics, some suggestions for future podcasts, some bits of flattering praise (oh thanks!) and some random far-out philosophical musings.

I may have made a few subtle language corrections to the comments you see below, but some errors may still be present – I mean, I haven’t completely re-written the comments or questions.

There are some questions which were written in the forum or sent to me which I am not including in this episode, either because I’ve covered them in the podcast already, or because they have been answered in another way.

So, let’s talk to the LEP community.

Anonymous (actually via FB messenger)
Hey Luke,
What’s the diference between “Never mind” and “(it) doesn’t matter”?

They both have the same effect, which is to mean “It’s not a problem”, although the two phrases achieve this meaning in slightly different ways.
Never mind = don’t worry about it = it’s not a problem (you should never mind about this = you shouldn’t find it important)
It doesn’t matter = it’s not important = it’s not a problem

A Spoonful of Mustard – June 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm
Greetings comrades,
A friend of mine is absolutely convinced that some animals have accents, so to speak. Being a professional rider, she’s quite au fait with horses. Going by her, an Icelandinc colt neighs in a conspicuously different way from, say, an Italian colt of the same breed. Although it sounds preposterous, I don’t think she’s made that up. What do you make of it? Have you ever noticed that everyday, common animals, pets and suchlike, sound slightly different abroad? If you have, please, tell me what animals exactly were those.
Ta-ta.

Comment on the homepage on 23 May 2015
Hello Luke,

Hope you are having a good day.

Needless to say, this is the best English podcast in the whole universe!

I have a question about pronunciation :-)

Could you enlighten me on the differences in pronunciations (British English) between these: “salt” and “[sult]an”, “haul” and “hole”?

Perhaps it’s my ears, but most of the time I hear them pronounced similarly.

Thanks much in advance!

EDGAR HERNÁNDEZ – June 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Alright! Luke. Well I would like to know your opinion about this question. Should non-native speakers try to sound like someone who is native. What I’m getting at is that if it isn’t fake or not. Some people believe that if they do so they will lose their identity. What do you think about. What I think is that it is very good way to improve our English. Cheers!!!!

Luke:
1. Clarity is the most important thing. Can people understand you? Is the message being communicated effectively?
2. Some traces of your original accent can be quite charming, and it shows where you’re from. Ultimately, your variety of English is just as valid as another one, as long as you’re able to communicate effectively with the people you’re talking to.
3. You can choose your own accent – but people might judge you for being inauthentic. Authenticity is quite a big issue. It’s your choice in the end.
4. Copying a British accent is a good way of practising and developing your pronunciation, but be careful of faking it in your normal interactions, or at least – if you do fake it, make sure you fake it really well! In the end, it’s your personal qualities and your humanity that will come through – put that first and people will forgive you for faking an accent. Be a genuine person that people can understand clearly. That’s more important than having a specific accent.

That’s all for this episode. My time ran out really quickly, as usual! But I have loads of other questions from listeners and I will do more Q&A sessions in the future.

Remember, if you want to send me questions, use the CONTACT button in the menu.

Thanks for listening,
Luke
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Q&A

Chords and Lyrics
Phil Ochs – “Changes”

G A D Em
Sit by my side, come as close as the air,
G A Bm Em A
Share in a memory of grace, and wander in my words,
D Em A D
Dream about he pictures that I play, of changes.

Verse 2
G A D Em
Green leaves of summer, turn red in the fall,
G A Bm Em A
To brown and to yellow they fade, and then they have to die,
D Em A D
Trapped within the circle time parade, of changes.

Verse 3
G A D Em
Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
G A Bm Em A
Visions of shadows that chime, ’til one day I returned, and
D Em A D
found they were the victims of the vines, of changes. The

Verse 4
G A D Em
world spinning madly, it drifts in the dark,
G A Bm Em A
Swings through a hollow of haze, a race around that stars, a
D Em A D
journey through the universe ablaze, with changes.

Verse 5
G A D Em
Moments of magic will glow in the night, all
G A Bm Em A
fears of the forest are gone, and when the moment breaks, They’re
D Em A D
swept away by golden drops of dawn, of changes.

Verse 6
G A D Em
Passions will part, to a strange melody, as
G A Bm Em A
fires will sometimes burn cold, like petals in the wind,
D Em A D
We’re puppets to the silver strings of souls, of changes. Your

Verse 7
G A D Em
tears will be trembling, not here, somewhere else, one
G A Bm Em A
last cup of wine we will pour, and I’ll kiss you one more time
D Em A D
And leave you on the rolling river shore, of changes. So

Verse 8
G A D Em
sit by my side, come as close as the air,
G A Bm Em A
Share in a memory of grace, and wander in my words,
D Em A D
Dream about he pictures that I play, of changes.