Tag Archives: learn

883. A Last-minute Rambling Episode

A spontaneous monologue about being taken by surprise by public holidays in May (in France), a podcast recommendation, and seeing a hard-rocking and hilarious band perform live in a big arena last week. Includes a song at the end as a tribute.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]



Want something else to listen to?

Listen to my interview with my friend Martin on his new podcast “Aarballs” 👇

Podcast links for Aarballs 👇 https://pod.link/1742336735

882. 47 “Funny” Country Jokes, Explained | Learn English with Humour

Here’s a list of jokes about different countries which I found on the website Bored Panda. I’ll tell you the jokes and then explain them all (dissecting the frog), including any homophones, double meanings or specific cultural references. Can you “get” the jokes? Do you find any of them funny, or are they all just terrible dad jokes? And, what vocabulary can you learn in the process? Includes a vocabulary review at the end of the episode.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

https://youtu.be/5RfpkxoCmwg?si=AELKZPOF8e8-4_JI

Notes

In this episode we’re going to read some jokes about different countries in the world, and I’m going to use them to help you learn English.

They’re not really jokes about countries. They’re mainly just jokes based on the country names. So I won’t be making fun of specific countries or anything.

I’ve found a list of 100 jokes.

Jokes like these…

👍

#12

Which country’s capital city is growing the fastest?

Ireland

Because every day it’s Dublin.

doubling??

  • Some of these jokes are very stupid.
  • Some of them are terrible.
  • But some of them are actually pretty funny 😅

This is all just a bit of fun, but also it’s a chance to learn some vocabulary.

Before we continue, I need to make several jokes about my country: The UK

A map of the UK

It’s just there, under that huge rain storm.

More specifically, England

Football

What do you call an English man in the World Cup final?

The referee.

British Food

Well, this is how our biscuits are sold in France  

C’est Anglais, mais c’est bon !

Translation: 

It’s English, but it’s good.

*Actually they’re Scottish

*Actually the company is owned by a Turkish confectionery conglomerate

And I’m sure you could write plenty of jokes about our Royal Family…

But you don’t really need to

Subtext: They’re already quite funny aren’t they?

I don’t mean to be rude about our king, but apparently he has a sense of humour, so I’m sure he doesn’t mind. 

cheers

Can you understand these jokes? 

If you understand a joke you can say 

“I get it”

If you don’t understand why it’s supposed to be funny, you’d say

“I don’t get it”

If you understand it, but you think it isn’t funny, you can just groan

🤦

There will be VOCABULARY

I will explain every joke that you hear in this episode, including

  • any double meanings 
  • any homophones (words which sound the same but which are different) 
  • or any other little cultural details  

I have only had 

a very quick look 

at this list of jokes. 

I found this joke list on the website BoredPanda.com. There are 100 jokes in the list, but I’ve only seen about the first 15 jokes.

I haven’t seen the rest.  

So I am going to be reading most of these for the first time, so let’s discover these jokes together. 

Disclaimer: 

This might not be funny 

at all 😐

It’s necessary to say this again…

I will dissect these jokes. You might learn some English, 

but the jokes will probably die in the process. 

Sorry jokes, and sorry frogs. 

🐸

But don’t worry. No actual frogs will be harmed during the making of this episode.

And when I say “frogs” I’m not talking about French people 🇫🇷

“Dissecting the frog” or explaining jokes is something I’ve been doing on this podcast for years. 

by a listener called Evgenia

a T-shirt design by a listener called Adel (available in my merch store 

– the t-shirt I mean) 

www.teacherluke.co.uk/merch 

Click here to see this design in my merch store.

Let’s keep reading jokes until nobody can take it any more.

I’ll tell about 5 jokes, then I’ll explain them, and then I’ll continue with more jokes…

Click here for the joke list👇👇👇👇👇

100 Country Jokes To Kindle Your Wanderlust | Bored Panda

The Jokes (it’s a mixed bag)

  1. England doesn’t have a kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
  2. A slice of apple pie is $2.50 in Jamaica and $3.00 in the Bahamas.
    These are the pie rates of the Caribbean.
  3. A British man is visiting Australia. The customs agent asks him, “Do you have a criminal record?” The British man replies, “I didn’t think you needed one to get into Australia anymore.”
  4. One day Canada will rule the world…
    Then you’ll all be sorry.
  5. What’s the best thing about Switzerland?
    I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.
  6. Why do the French eat snails?
    They don’t like fast food.
  7. Amsterdam is a lot like the Tour de France. Just a lot of people on drugs riding bikes.
  8. I asked my friend in North Korea how he was.
    He said he can’t complain.
  9. Germany and France go to war. Who loses?
    Belgium.
  10. What do you call a vegan Viking?
    A Norvegan!
  11. How do you get a Canadian to apologize?
    Step on their foot.
  12. Which country’s capital is growing the fastest?
    Ireland. Every day it’s Dublin.
  13. What does the Loch Ness monster eat?
    Fish and ships.
  14. Want to hear a Swedish joke?
    Never mind. There’s Norway I could Finnish it.
  15. What do frogs eat in Paris?
    French flies.
  16. An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman enter a bar.
    The Englishmen wanted to go, so they all had to leave.
  17. What do you call a bee that lives in America?
    A USB.
  18. Why haven’t Americans changed their weighing method from pounds to kilograms?
    Because they don’t want mass confusion!
  19. How does every Russian joke start?
    By looking over your shoulder.
  20. I have a Russian friend who’s a sound technician.
    And a Czech one too. A Czech one too.
  21. What kind of birds can you find in Portugal?
    Portugeese.
  22. What was the most popular kids’ movie in Ancient Greece?
    Troy Story.
  23. What is the most common scam in Egypt?
    Pyramid schemes.
  24. What happened to the American who went to the hospital with a broken leg?
    He went broke.
  25. In which country is Prague located?
    Hold on let me Czech.
  26. Is “Africa” by Toto a country song?
    No, it’s a continent song.
  27. What did the Kiwi say to the Rabbi?
    Hee Broo.
  28. Did you hear about the Italian chef that died?
    He pasta way.
  29. Germany once organized the International Fun Conference.
    It wasn’t funny but it was indeed well organized.
  30. Two very old men of European nationality meet
    While talking, one asks: “You watching the football game?”
    The other says: “Who’s playing?”
    “Austria-Hungary”, says the first.
    “Against whom?”
  31. An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes.
  32. Why do bagpipe players walk while they play?
    To get away from the noise.
  33. Why do all Swedish military ships have bar codes on them?
    So when the come to port, they can just Scan da navy in!
  34. How was copper wire invented?
    Two Scotsmen fighting over a penny.
  35. What are Greek houses made out of?
    Greeks and con-Crete!
  36. Why is it hard to make friends in Antarctica?
    Because you can’t break the ice.
  37. What pan is the best to make sushi in?
    Japan.
  38. What will an Australian chess player say to a Czech person while making the winning move?
    Czech mate.
  39. A friend in Germany tells me everyone’s panic buying sausages and cheese.
    It’s the Wurst Käse scenario.
  40. What do you call a bunch of bullies from Malta?
    Maltesers.
  41. Ever since my girlfriend moved to Siberia things haven’t been the same.
    She’s so cold and distant.
  42. The Sahara Desert drifts into a bar and the bartender says…
    “Long time no sea.”
  43. Did you hear about the Pole who thought his wife was trying to kill him? On her dressing table, he found a bottle of “Polish Remover.”
  44. I’ve heard that Argentina is starting to get a little colder…
    In fact, it’s bordering on Chile.
  45. What’s Santa’s nationality?
    North Polish.
  46. What genre are national anthems?
    Country.
  47. Did you hear McDonalds will stop serving fries in Switzerland?
    The Swiss don’t take sides.

Vocabulary List (listen to the episode for my explanations)

  1. A kidney bank
  2. Liver
  3. A criminal record
  4. A (big) plus
  5. Snails
  6. I can’t complain
  7. To double in size
  8. The Loch Ness monster
  9. Bees, flies
  10. Mass confusion
  11. “Check one two, check one two”
  12. One goose, two geese
  13. A scam
  14. A pyramid scheme
  15. To go broke
  16. To pass away
  17. Barcodes
  18. A pan
  19. A worst-case scenario
  20. To bully/tease someone
  21. To be cold and distant
  22. Nail polish remover
  23. It’s bordering on chilly
  24. A side of french fries

881. The first non-native speaker to read the UK TV news (with Barbara Serra)

Barbara Serra is an award-winning Italian journalist who has spent much of her career reading the news in the UK on various high-profile well-established English language news networks including the BBC, Channel 5, Al Jazeera English and Sky News. Barbara has quite a specific relationship with the English language. We talk about learning English, challenges in her career, and the relationship between accent and identity.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

Intro Transcript

Hello listeners, today on the podcast I am talking to Barbara Serra, the Italian journalist who reads the news on television in the UK. She’s a very interesting guest and has lots of interesting things to say about the way her identity and career have been shaped by her relationship to the English language. 

We’re going to talk about reading the news in the UK when you sound like a foreigner, lots of questions around identity and accent, and all sorts of other things that Barbara has experienced in her time as a broadcast journalist. I think you will find it very interesting as a learner of English looking to improve your English as much as possible in different contexts, both personal and professional. 

LEPster meet-up in Da Nang Vietnam

Gordon’s Pizza (in An Thuong area) on Friday 17th May from 9pm.

Send Zdenek an email if you’re interested – teacherzdenek@gmail.com

Barbara Serra is an award-winning Italian journalist who has spent much of her career reading the news in the UK on various high-profile well-established English language news networks including the BBC, Channel 5, Al Jazeera English and Sky News. 

Barbara has quite a specific relationship with English. It’s her dominant language but not her native language. She has a certain accent, which does place her outside the UK somehow. So how has this affected her career as a news reader and reporter? 

Broadcast journalism is associated with a certain model of spoken English – in the UK that would be what is often called BBC English, and traditionally the role of newsreader has been synonymous with that kind of high-level, high-status form of spoken English. 

So what has Barbara’s experience been? 

What is the story of her English? 

How did she get the point where she was ready to do this job? What kind of challenges has she faced while reading the news in the UK? 

And what does this all tell us about learning English, what it means to improve your accent, the relationship between accent and identity, the definition of “native” and “non-native speaker”, the status of different English accents in the English speaking world?

Let’s get into it.


LINKS

👉 Barbara’s email newsletter “News with a foreign accent” https://barbaraserra.substack.com/

👉 Barbara’s website with course info https://www.barbaraserra.info/

Luke on a couple of other shows recently

Take Acast’s podcast survey here

880. Is Paris ready for the Olympic Games 2024? (Article + Vocabulary)

I read an article about Paris’ preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games 🏊, discuss the issues, summarise the article and explain plenty of vocabulary. Is Paris ready for the games? What are the attitudes, complaints, expectations and fears ahead of this potentially controversial event.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

https://youtu.be/wayMKFFUFB4

Notes

880. Is Paris ready for the Olympic Games 2024? 🏊 (Article + Vocabulary)


Intro

I’m in Paris and it’s less than 100 days until the Olympic Games begin here. 

Is the city ready? 

Let’s read an article on the subject. 

I found this article on www.TheWeek.com  

I’ll read the article to you, then explain and discuss what is written. 

I’ll also go through vocabulary from the article – and there is plenty.

Topic → Reading/Listening → Vocabulary → Discussion

Before we read the article, here are some questions to get you thinking.

  • If you like you can stop the podcast and discuss these questions for some speaking practice. 
  • What are the benefits and costs for a city hosting the Olympic Games?
  • Has the Olympics ever been held in your city or country?
  • How did people feel before, during and after the games?
  • Were people positive about it?
  • Did it have a positive effect on the city?
  • 100 days before the Olympics are due to happen, what do you think people are worrying about?

Article link 👇 https://theweek.com/sports/olympics-2024-is-paris-ready-to-party 

Vocabulary

  1. The build-up to this summer’s Games is being ‘marred’ by rows over national identity, security and pollution
  2. The lighting of the Olympic torch today comes amid a “dampening” of enthusiasm for the Paris Games in an increasingly “fractious” France, commentators warn.

    Light – lit – lit
    To light something
    To light something up

    Lighting
    Lightening (lighten)
    Lightning ⚡
  3. “We’re ready for this final straight,” said Paris Olympics chief organiser Tony Estanguet
  4. to mark the 100-day countdown
  5. With the clock ticking down until the Games kick off on 26 July
  6. France’s “bitter politics and gloomy mindset are dampening the mood” among a “fractious” public, said The Japan Times.
     
  7. The build-up has been “marred by rows” that go to “the heart of a bitter national debate about identity and race”.
  8. Herve Le Bras, a sociologist, told the paper that the Games threaten to “underline the major fractures in France – notably the fracture between Paris and the rest of the country”.
  9. An Odoxa poll of more than 1,200 Paris region residents last November found that 44% thought the Games were a “bad thing”, and that 52% were planning to leave the city during the 16-day event.
  10. One Parisian told the BBC that staying would be “unbearable“, with the Games making it “impossible to park, impossible to move around, impossible to do anything”.
  11. Security fears are also growing amid mounting global tensions.
  12. In a break from the tradition of opening the Games in the main stadium, the organisers have devised a “grandiose” ceremony centred around a parade of barges on the River Seine, said Le Monde.
  13. The original plan was for as many as 600,000 spectators to watch from the riverbanks, but security and logistical concerns have led the government to “progressively scale back” the plan, with the spectator numbers reduced to 300,000.
  14. And President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday that the ceremony might be moved to a new location if the authorities decide that the risk of an attack, potentially by drones, is too great.
  15. “There are Plan Bs and Plan Cs”, including holding the opening at the city’s Stade de France, he told television interviewers. Asked if the Kremlin would seek to disrupt the Olympics, Macron said that he had “no doubt“.
  16. Another potential threat is sewage pollution in the Seine, where swimming events are due to take place.
  17. Bacteria, including “pollution of faecal origin”, remains dangerously high in the river.
  18. Games boss Estanguet said last week that if water quality levels worsen, “there could be a final decision where we could not swim”.
  19. The Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee has “mountains of scepticism to dispel” in France and beyond, said The Associated Press.
  20. The $13 billion cost of the 2021 Tokyo Games and the “unfulfilled promises of beneficial change” for 2016 host Rio de Janeiro triggered widespread anger, and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi were “tarnished by Russian doping“.
  21. But some previous predictions of Olympics doom have proved incorrect.
  22. In the run-up to the London 2012 Games, the Army was drafted in to bolster the security presence provided by private firm G4S, amid fears of a repeat of the riots that had broken out in the city in 2011.
  23. Journalists emitcyclical loud buzzing noises before every set of Summer Games”, said George Vecsey in The New York Times in 2004.
  24. Reporters will “continue to fret on schedule”, because it’s “in our job description“.

Estanguet acknowledged last week that “before this kind of big event, there are always many questions, many concerns“. But the Paris edition would make his nation “proud”, he said.

879. Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques for Spontaneous Speaking ️with Matt Abrahams

Top tips for spontaneous speaking 🏆 with communication expert Matt Abrahams, a professor at the Stamford Graduate School of Business, California. Matt is a leading expert in his field and his latest book “Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot” gives you clear, academically-researched advice on how to deal with anxiety, focus on making connections, improve your mindset, learn to listen, and find really useful structures to help you become a more spontaneous and successful speaker.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]


878. From Learning to Teaching and Beyond (with Elena Mutonono)

These days Elena Mutonono is an experienced business coach who helps online English teachers to gain independence and control over their own careers, but Elena’s journey started as a learner of English herself. In this conversation I ask Elena about how she learned English, making the step to becoming an English teacher, then teacher trainer and what challenges online English teachers face when trying to work in a crowded and demanding job market.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

https://youtu.be/Sp-1fX1Q15I

Links

Elena’s website https://www.elenamutonono.com/

Elena’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elenamutonono/

Elena’s podcast https://www.elenamutonono.com/podcast/

877. How to Learn Vocabulary | A Conversation with Clare Whitmell

This conversation is a preview of my Zoom workshop on Thurs 18 April 2024 at 10AM (UK time), as part of the Advanced English Summit. In my workshop I will be talking about how to really learn vocabulary, and not just stare at word lists. This is a conversation about the subject of the workshop, and summit organiser Clare Whitmell asks me questions about why vocabulary is important, why I love teaching it, common mistakes made by learners, ways of learning vocabulary more effectively, and some tools you can use.

👉 Sign up for the Advanced English Summit here https://english-at-home.com/summit/

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

https://youtu.be/pThUa7fxteY

👉 Sign up for the Advanced English Summit here https://english-at-home.com/summit/

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

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

[DOWNLOAD]


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

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


📄 Get the PDF 👇

Those Strange AI-generated Images 👇

875. Aepyornis Island by HG Wells (Learn English with a Short Story)

Learn English with another short story. I’ll read the entire story to you, and then go through the text again explaining and clarifying the main events and plenty of vocabulary. This is a wonderful adventure story written by HG Wells, a very influential and imaginative English writer from the late 19th century. The story is full of vivid descriptive language, action, adventure and extraordinary moments. I hope it captures your imagination and lets the English come alive in memorable ways. PDF available below.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

Get the full episode PDF here 👇 

874. Walk & Talk: PARIS

Here is an episode in which I walk through the streets of Paris, rambling about a particular subject. This time the subject is Paris itself. This summer Paris is hosting the Olympic Games. The city will be filled with visitors. I am very curious to see how the city will handle this moment. Will it be a huge success? What will visitors think of the city? Will anyone suffer from the mysterious “Paris Syndrome”? Join me on my walk, follow my words, look out for vocab and consider using my questions for your own speaking practice.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

Discussion Questions

Feel free to use these questions for your own speaking practice.

  1. Have you ever been to Paris? When did you come here? What did you do and see? What did you think of the place?
  2. If you have never been to Paris, would you like to? Why?
  3. What associations do you have with Paris? What do you imagine, when you think of this city?
  4. Have you ever seen any films or TV series set in Paris? What image of the city do they present?
  5. Have you ever been to London? Did it match your expectations?
  6. Think of a city that you know well. Try to talk about it.
    What is it famous for?
    What can you see and do there?
    Does your city have a reputation?
    Does the reality match the reputation?
  7. Has your city ever hosted the Olympic Games? What did residents think about it before, during and after the games took place?

Vocabulary

There will be a premium episode dealing with vocabulary, coming soon. https://www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Ending ramble

OK, this is not actually the end of the episode, as you can probably see from the running time. There’s a lot more left in this episode.

I am now back in my podcastle, where I am much more comfortable recording and being on video.

Having reviewed the footage which you have just heard and seen I wanted to just reflect on it and give my thoughts on this experimental episode and how I might do more of these Walk & Talk episodes, and whether I will do more of them at all.

So here are my thoughts on this.

  • The footage looks fantastic. Good colours. Very clear. Smooth image stabilisation.
  • I didn’t show many landmarks in the video but I wanted to keep it natural and just show the places where I would typically go on my way home or on a trip into town to get lunch. You did see the Eiffel Tower (very briefly at the start), Les Invalides, Grand Palais, Assemble Nationale, Concorde, Louvre, La Seine, Les Tuileries, Place Vendome – so actually quite a lot of landmarks I suppose!
  • I’m slightly concerned that referring to all these visual things will make this less satisfying to listen to as an audio only episode, but I really hope not. It should be an immersive audio experience too.
  • The audio sounds good enough I think. It’s not as loud and rich as normal but that’s to be expected. It’s hard to get the mic in the right position and there’s lots of background noise, but it’s good enough.
  • I’m not overly happy about the way I look! You can see up my nose and there are not very flattering angles, but I should not be vain about this and you probably don’t care about it as much as me.
  • I was so self conscious about walking along with the cam in my face it makes me seriously doubt if I can do that regularly. It wasn’t as pleasant as I’d hoped. I felt very self-conscious and awkward and that prevented me from getting into my normal flow of speaking.
  • Putting the cam on my shirt is great – I can be completely hands free and continue to record, but the battery runs out quite fast. Also, you can’t see my face, which is reasonably important.
  • My original plan was to have a load of questions that I answer on a topic then see what topic vocab comes up in those questions and answers. You heard me mention that I’d used ChatGPT to help me write the questions quickly. In this episode about Paris I didn’t really answer many questions from my list. But you can still find some questions about cities on the episode page. Use them to practise talking about a city you know well.
  • I’ll have to review all those ChatGPT questions on other topics because the ones it came up with about Paris were actually very dry and not that fruitful. I didn’t fully answer the questions it gave me about Paris, but it’s ok. I think I still discussed the city enough.
  • It was a bit difficult to prioritise the speaking and expressing myself because I was multi tasking. Operating the camera, moving around and feeling self conscious. When I’m in the pod room I can focus more on what I’m saying.
  • I’ll try this again, and next time will focus on a specific topic with questions and vocab as I promised. Maybe I can sum up the vocab in a premium ep each time.
  • What do you think?
    I’m particularly interested in hearing from audio LEPsters.
    Audio listeners – how was it? Loud enough? Clear enough? Was there a lot of atmospheric noise? Did that make it hard to hear, or did it add to the atmosphere of the episode?

Song: “The Look You Give That Guy” by Eels