Tag Archives: edinburgh fringe

374. Alex’s Edinburgh Fringe Report

Hello listeners, this episode features another chat with Alex Love who was on the podcast recently in episodes 366 and 367. I decided I’d get Alex back on the podcast for several reasons. The first reason is because he is now in Edinburgh at the Festival and his show seems to be doing very well. In fact, so far every performance has been completely sold out and he’s making a nice profit. I’m happy to hear that and I thought we could get a little Edinburgh report and actually have a conversation without it being derailed by a poor internet connections and other distractions, and that’s what we’ve managed to do. The second reason I brought him on is to do our own LEP Pub Quiz in which we ask each other questions, and that’s what you’ll hear in part 2.

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I have divided this conversation into two parts again, to make it more manageable for you. In part one we talk about Alex’s show, some details about the culture of pub quizzes in the UK and we go off on several quite instructive tangents about stag and hen parties, male strippers, The Smurfs and the anatomy of giant squid, which are large sea creatures with tentacles. That sounds quite random but it’s not really. It’s actually perfectly logical and it will all become clear as you listen to the conversation, and I think there’s quite a lot to learn about British culture in this episode as you’ll see. There’s also quite a lot of vocabulary to watch out for and I will go through that in a moment.

Then in part 2 you’ll hear Alex and I playing our own pub quiz in which we ask each other various questions in order to test our general knowledge.

I expect that by the time you listen to this episode Alex’s Edinburgh show will probably be over and all his shows seem to be sold out anyway, but what the hell – I’ll mention the details of it anyway. It’s called “How to Win a Pub Quiz” and it takes place at 12 o’clock lunchtime at The Stand in rooms 5 & 6 until 14 August. Details and bookings tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alex-love-how-to-win-a-pub-quiz

Vocab from Part 1 – Watch out for these words and expressions

I’ve made another list of words and phrases from this episode. This is language that you might not know and which you might want to learn. I’m not defining and explaining this vocabulary here, I’m just encouraging you to notice it, and hopefully making it a bit easier for you to notice it. Being mindful of language while you’re listening to this podcast is important. If you’re switched on and attentive, taking mental note of different features of English as you move through these episodes, you’re in a much better position to retain words and phrases and add them to your own active vocabulary. Also, if you’re into studying while you listen you will find all these phrases written on the page for this episode and you can then look them up in a dictionary – and you can try Oxford, Cambridge, Macmillan or Collins dictionaries online. They’re all freely available, which is nice. Now I’m going to just read out each phrase and you can try to notice them as they come up naturally in our conversation.

old habits die hard – it just goes to show that old habits die hard

the love interest – she plays the love interest in the movie

a hen-do – there was a group of girls on a hen-do sitting on the front row

a stag-do – there was a group of lads on a stag-do in the audience

a mixed bag – how was the show? It was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest

self-deprecating – we make lots of self deprecating jokes

a bit hit and miss – the show was a bit hit and miss

inconsistent – it was quite an inconsistent show

bland – it was a bit bland and boring

I died on my arse” – he absolutely died on his arse on stage at the show last night

to slag someone off – We used to slag off the entire audience in our show

to bad-mouth someone – we bad-mouth the audience at the beginning of the show

it’s frowned upon  – being brutal with a hen-do is frowned upon, you’re not supposed to do it, whereas it’s ok to insult a stag-do

a sash – there was a girl on the front row wearing a sash

the first album I ever bought – “Smurfs Go Pop” was the first album I ever bought

anthropomorphic – Smurfs are quite anthropomorphic

the gestation period – humans have a 9 month gestation period

promiscuous – everyone says she’s quite promiscuous

to beat around the bush – don’t beat around the bush, just say it straight

to cast aspersions – I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Smurfette

to hear something

to hear about something

a squid / a giant squid

tentacles – they have ten tentacles, whereas Octopuses have 8 limbs

10 inches in diameter – their eyes are 10 inches in diameter

a beak = what birds have at the end of their faces – like the mouth of a bird, or a squid

your eyes are too big for your stomach

dismal = terrible

to come in third place – Paul is coming in a dismal 3rd place

So, that’s it for the vocabulary and this introduction, let’s now join the conversation I had with Alex Love yesterday afternoon, watch out for the vocabulary and see what you can learn about hen dos, stag dos, male and female strippers, the Smurfs and giant squid. There’s a bit of swearing – so you have been warned.

*Conversation Starts*

Talking talking talking – no robot invasions! – talking talking talking

*Conversation Ends*

That’s it for part 1. Did you notice all the vocabulary I listed at the beginning?

In part 2 we do a pub quiz in which we ask each other various questions, including some questions about the English language. So, if you want to know what our questions are, and who wins, check out part 2 now!

Thanks for listening.

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Have a good day, night, morning, evening, afternoon, bus journey, train journey, gym session, walk, nap, jog or sleep.

Speak to you in part 2.

Luke

fringe2

296. Learning Comedy is like Learning a Language

This episode features a conversation with my friend Paul Taylor, who you already know from previous episodes of LEP. Paul is back from the Edinburgh fringe, where he was performing for the whole of August in a comedy show, and a couple of days ago he came over to the flat for a cup of tea and a bit of a chat. We started talking about the Edinburgh fringe and how it went for him. It was his first time and I think he found it very challenging because the audiences were hard to please, apparently they had some tough shows where nobody laughed, and he realised that the standard of stand-up comedy in the UK is much higher than he expected, but it was a learning experience. Then we ended up talking about the similarity between learning how to do stand-up comedy and learning a language. During the conversation I quickly decided to record our thoughts so that I could make it into an episode of my podcast. We wrote down a few brief ideas and then went upstairs to start recording. You can now listen to that conversation here in full. Also, listen to the end to hear some funny out-takes from this episode.

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The conversation is a little bit rambling, but that is a good thing
It’s a slightly disorganised chat because we didn’t plan fully in advance, but that for me is a strength because it means that you can listen to some authentic English conversation, meaning that it is natural – not scripted. This is English conversation as it happens in the real world. We’re not acting out a dialogue, and this is exactly the sort of conversation that you should try to follow, because ultimately it’s better for your English. It might be harder to hear and understand everything we say, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to get used to following a conversation in which you don’t understand or hear every single word.

Conclusions about Language Learning
During our slightly rambling conversation, we do come to some very good conclusions about language learning, which are written below. So, pay attention to the conversation because I think it does contain some good advice. As ever, please add your thoughts to our conversation by leaving a comment below. What do you think about our conclusions for learning a language? Can you add and ideas of your own?

Also, listen carefully in this episode because I will share some of my experiences of learning French, which is something people have been asking me about recently. You’ll see I’m a bit shy about this subject, but I’ll let you listen to the episode to find out why.

Can You Copy The Way I Speak? – Send Me Your Recordings!
In this episode Paul and I ask you to send me recordings of you copying the way I speak. So, please send me about 1 minute of audio of you doing an impression of me.
You can download my jingle here: Download LEP Jingle

Send your 1 minute (or less) impression of Luke from Luke’s English Podcast here: podcastcomp@gmail.com
I can’t wait to hear you copy my voice and my typical introductions.

Also, if you listen all the way until the end of the episode, you’ll hear some fun extra content that I added. So, our conversation lasts about 1 hour, and then you’ll hear some fun extra stuff afterwards.

If you would like to write a transcript for this episode, using a google document, just click this link. Google document for “Learning Comedy is like Learning a Language”. That’s it for my introduction, now here is our conversation.

*Episode begins – Notes below*

Conclusions about Learning Languages & Learning Comedy

  • It’s not what you know, it’s what you can do. You can know lots of vocabulary, you can know methods of learning – but you actually have to do it.
  • Surround yourself with people who are better than you.
  • Throw yourself in at the deep end.
  • Accept that you might have to be a slightly different person.
    E.g. as a comedy performer you might need to exaggerate aspects of your person, or play a role.
    When speaking English, it’s normal that you might feel like a different person with a different personality. Own the person you are in another language.
  • Learn from failure and don’t be afraid to fail.
    Failure is not the problem. How you react to failure is more important. Don’t let failures bring you down. Learn from them. Embrace failure and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.
  • Don’t take it too personally!
    Be ready to take criticism, and try to look for critical feedback. It will help you to be better.
  • Cheat and cut corners!
    In comedy it helps to arrange the situation to your advantage. For example, prepare some responses for audience interaction – these can make the audience think you’re better than you are.
    Similarly in English, focus on having good pronunciation and people will think your English is great, even if your vocabulary or grammar are not perfect. If your voice sounds pretty good on the surface, this will impress people more than perfect accuracy or range of vocabulary.
  • Be confident, or at least be determined to fake it.
  • But remember to be yourself.

Paul & Luke
public-speaking

182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse

This episode is all about the relationship between language, successful communication, stand-up comedy and learning English! It features an interview with the one-and-only Yacine Belhousse, who is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language and now in English too. A year and a half ago, Yacine hardly spoke any English. Now he regularly performs in English and this year he is doing a 1 hour stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh fringe festival. How does he do it? How does he deal with the challenges of learning English while also making people laugh in English too? Listen and find out!

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I’m really pleased to present every episode of Luke’s English Podcast, but this one makes me extra pleased. Why? I just think that we come to some particularly useful conclusions during this conversation, especially related to the attitude that you need to learn English effectively. I’m also pleased to present Yacine because he’s got a great attitude towards learning English and because I think he’s really funny.

Conclusions about Learning Language
In summary here are some of the key points about learning English & communication from our conversation:
– To communicate well, you must take responsibility for communicative exchanges.
– Remember when you’re talking to native speakers, you’re just talking to another human. They have no reason to judge you if you’re just trying to communicate to achieve something. In fact, native speakers have the same responsibility for successful communication as you. So don’t feel that you’re totally responsible for any communication breakdown.
– Be confident and don’t worry about making mistakes. If you do make mistakes, you can learn from them and that’s how you improve. If you’re concerned that you can’t be confident – don’t worry. Confidence is something which just happens when you try to do something. If you focus on achieving successful communication, and don’t get upset by failure – confidence will just come naturally. So, don’t worry about confidence. Just focus on trying to achieve things.
– Have an organised approach to learning – mentally store words and phrases you like in the “good things bucket”. Reject bits of communication that didn’t work in the “bad things bucket”. Perhaps revisit the “bad things bucket” to learn from the errors, but enjoy the contents of your “good things bucket” too!
– Repeat words and phrases that you’ve learned. Repeat them lots of times in order to remember them.
– Learn by doing things. Learn to speak by speaking, failing, succeeding and moving on. You have to be active. Use your English. If you don’t use it, you lose it. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
– Be positive!

Listen to the conversation to find out more.

Links
Would you like to play Yacine’s computer game? Click here to visit the game on his website.

Will you be in Edinburgh during the Fringe? You should check out Yacine’s show. Click here for information on Yacine’s Edinburgh show.

Transcript to #182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse
The introduction to this episode is transcribed below. If you would like to write some more minutes of transcript, click here to visit the google document for this episode.

Introduction
Here is my introduction to this episode of the podcast.

“Normally I have native speakers on this podcast; British people, Americans, Australians and stuff like that. And yet, most of the people who listen to this are non-natives learning the language. I rarely have learners of English giving their voice, which is a pity because everyone has a story to tell and interesting things to share. …

So, in today’s episode I am speaking to a friend of mine called Yacine. He’s not a native speaker. In fact, until quite recently he didn’t speak English at all. By his own admission, his English is not perfect. Sometimes he can’t find the right words, he has some trouble choosing the correct verb forms or pronouncing words naturally. These are all the normal problems faced by people learning English. However, I believe Yacine is quite special and that’s why I’ve brought him onto the podcast, despite not being a native or near-native speaker of English.

But why Luke? Why are you featuring a learner of English in one of your interviews? Well, there are lots of reasons:
– I think Yacine has a really good attitude towards learning, and I want to explore that so we can pick up some good things about language learning.
– Yacine is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language but he is also now performing shows in English. In fact, this year he is doing a regular one hour show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is perhaps the biggest comedy festival in the world, and he regularly performs comedy with the great & legendary Eddie Izzard, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest stand-ups of his generation. Eddie Izzard is not just an inspiration to stand up comedians, he is also an inspiration to language learners all over the world, and we’ll find out more about that later. Yacine is very influenced by Eddie Izzard, and he often supports Eddie when he does shows in France.

Learning a language is a challenging thing for anyone. You know when you speak you feel shy and embarrassed sometimes because you don’t want to be judged (just like me when I go to the boulangerie). These are normal fears. But, can you imagine going on-stage in front of lots of people, Scottish, English, perhaps a bit drunk because the show is on at 9.30PM, and delivering a full one hour stand-up performance in a language you’re trying to learn?
– It must be very challenging.
– You’d need a lot of self-confidence and self-belief.
– You need to focus very carefully on how to communicate your message.
– You need to be able to deal with any possible breakdown of communication.
– You need to stop worrying about errors, and if you make errors learn from them but don’t let them make you lose confidence.
I want to know how Yacine faces these challenges, but also, for me these are the challenges faced by any learner of English, but they are multiplied by the fact that Yacine is also doing this on-stage while having to make people laugh. It’s impressive and I want to know more.

So, this is what I want to investigate in this episode:
– How he’s learning English.
– Doing comedy in French vs English.
– French audiences vs UK audiences – are they different?
– Is humour universal?
– How is good communication an essential part of comedy? How do you make a successful joke? It’s about successfully communicating an idea.

Footnote: Yacine has only been learning for a few years. He hasn’t attended any courses or lessons. He’s self-taught. My professional opinion is that he’s doing really well. His English is better than it was a year ago, and his English is certainly much better than my French!

Yacine might make errors during the episode, and that’s fine. I’ll help him or even give him corrections (“yes please” – he says). This episode is not a judgement of his English, and it’s not his comedy performance either – that happens in Edinburgh. What this is, is an investigation into his English learning experiences and the relationship between language, communication, comedy and language learning!

Click here to transcribe more of this episode using a google document.

Thanks for listening, and have a good day/evening/night!

Luke

yacine PODPIC