Tag Archives: vocabulary

794. The Surprising Power of Reading Aloud (Article) 📖🗣️

Reading out loud can have lots of surprising benefits for our memory and our mental health. How can it also help with your English? In this episode I read an article to you, help you understand it and give comments on the importance of reading, both quietly in your head, and out loud. Video version and full transcript available.

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Video Version (with on-screen text)

https://youtu.be/JLaeBWgodhA

Read the article on the BBC Future website here https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200917-the-surprising-power-of-reading-aloud


Download the full PDF transcript for this episode


Full Episode Transcript 👇

Hello listeners,

Welcome to this new episode. This one is about reading and the power of reading aloud (reading out loud) and I think it can definitely help you with your English in various ways. Stick with me, there’s a lot to discover here.

I found an article the other day on the BBC’s website and I thought it was really interesting and definitely something I could turn into an episode of this podcast. 

I am going to read the article to you in this episode. You can read it with me if you like. The link for the article is in the description, or if you are watching the video version you will see the text on the screen. 

I’ll help you understand it all, we’ll consider the main points being made by the writer, I’ll give my thoughts on how this all relates to learning English and I’ll point out some bits of vocabulary for you to learn along the way.

Reading out loud ← what does this mean?

Normally when we read, we read silently. We read in our heads. 📖👀

But when we read out loud we actually say the words we are reading with our voice so that other people can hear you. 🗣️ That’s what out loud means.

Aloud and out loud are synonyms.

  • To read out loud (I had to read out loud in front of my class during my French lesson and it was a bit embarrassing)
  • To say something out loud (Don’t say that out loud, it’s supposed be a secret!)
  • To think out loud (What are you talking about? Oh, sorry, never mind, I’m just thinking out loud really)
  • To laugh out loud (LOL)

The Article

The title of the article I found is The Surprising Power of Reading Aloud, and I found it in the “Future” section of the BBC’s website. 

BBC Future https://www.bbc.com/future/ 

BBC Future is a section of the BBC website where you can read some really interesting articles about lots of different subjects. 

The articles are written in an academic style (so we are looking at academic English here to an extent), but these articles are very readable and they are exactly the type of reading text that you might find in an IELTS reading test. You often find academic texts about scientific subjects, or history, or psychology in IELTS tests.

So, it would be really good practice for you to read articles like this on a regular basis, whether you are preparing for IELTS or you’re just interested in developing your English generally. The articles on BBC Future are quite advanced – they are for native English speakers, but with a good dictionary and a bit of motivation, they could really help your English. 

I’m going to help you do that in this episode with this particular article. I’ll take you through it and will explain things.

Let’s get started.

Before we start reading, I’ve got two tasks for you (and they’re important)

1st task: Consider some questions

Here are some questions to get you thinking 🧐🤔💭

I want you to consider these questions because this will get you in the right mental space to understand the article we’re going to read. It’s important to do this because this is how you get your mind ready before you read. So, consider these questions (below).

If you like you can pause this episode after I say these questions in order to actually answer them, in your own head or out loud. 

Saying your answers out loud would be the best thing to do – to practise your speaking and putting your thoughts into words. So, if you can do that, do that, right now, with these questions.

Questions to consider before reading

  1. When was the last time you read something in English? What was it, and why did you read it?
  2. When you read in English or in your first language, do you usually read silently in your head or do you read out loud? Why?
  3. In what situations do people sometimes read out loud? 
  4. Do you think reading out loud is more or less common these days than it used to be?
    Do people read out loud more these days, or did they do that more in the past?
    Why could this be?
  5. Can you remember a time when someone read something out loud to you?
    What was the situation? How did it make you feel?
  6. How about when you were a child? Can you remember any moments when someone read out loud to you? How do you feel about those memories?
  7. What do you think is better for your English – reading texts silently in your head, reading texts out loud, or listening to other people read out loud to you? Why?

2nd task: Read the text 📖

Here’s a reading task for you 

Before I read this article to you, I want you to read it yourself. Twice

🔗 link in the description 🔗

First, read the text silently, then try reading it out loud.

You don’t have to read the whole thing. Maybe just do the first few paragraphs if you prefer. 

But try it. Go on.

Read it silently first, then read it out loud.

Try not to sound like a robot 🤖

Put some life into the reading ❤️‍🔥

If/When you read it out loud, consider these questions. you .

  • Where are the pauses? Where should you pause when you read? 
  • Which words in each line should be stressed (emphasised)?
  • Where does the voice go up and where does the voice go down? 
  • How would you read it out like a TV presenter or a university lecturer?

Imagine you are reading this out for an audience. 

It might affect the way you read it. 🗣️

You can do that now. The link to the article is in the description. 

Read it – first silently, and then out loud like a presenter.

I’ll let you pause the episode right now and do that. I’ll continue speaking to you again in a moment.

– – – –  

This is where you pause to read the article

 – – – –

OK, welcome back. I know some of you didn’t pause the episode and read the text, which is totally fine.

But some of you did. Nice one.

I wonder how it was for you. 

Was difficult or not? 

Was it difficult to read the text?

It’s a different experience isn’t it, reading it out loud. 

It has its own challenges. 

Unknown vocabulary, difficult pronunciation, understanding the overall flow and structure of the text.

Now, let me read the article to you. You can read it with me too, or just listen. It’s up to you. 

I’ve broken the text into sections. I’ll read a section of the article, then paraphrase what I read, add my comments and explain some words. Then we’ll move to the next section.

Whenever there’s a break in the text like this, it’s the end of a section.

– – – – – – – – –

When that happens, I’ll stop and explain things, then we’ll move on to the next section.

You’ll see some words highlighted in bold. These are words that you might not know, so I’ll explain them as we go. 

Try reading aloud with me to work on your pronunciation if you like.

BBC FUTURE: NEUROSCIENCE

Why you should read this out loud

By Sophie Hardach /ˈhædək/ 18th September 2020

Most adults retreat into a personal, quiet world inside their heads when they are reading, but we may be missing out on some vital benefits when we do this.

For much of history, reading was a fairly noisy activity. On clay tablets written in ancient Iraq and Syria some 4,000 years ago, the commonly used words for “to read” literally meant “to cry out” or “to listen”. 

“I am sending a very urgent message,” says one letter from this period. “Listen to this tablet. If it is appropriate, have the king listen to it.”

Only occasionally, a different technique was mentioned: to “see” a tablet – to read it silently.

Today, silent reading is the norm. The majority of us bottle the words in our heads as if sitting in the hushed confines of a library. Reading out loud is largely reserved for bedtime stories and performances.

But a growing body of research suggests that we may be missing out by reading only with the voices inside our minds. The ancient art of reading aloud has a number of benefits for adults, from helping improve our memories and understand complex texts, to strengthening emotional bonds between people. And far from being a rare or bygone activity, it is still surprisingly common in modern life. Many of us intuitively use it as a convenient tool for making sense of the written word, and are just not aware of it.

– – – – – 1/10 – – – – –

Colin MacLeod, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has extensively researched the impact of reading aloud on memory. He and his collaborators have shown that people consistently remember words and texts better if they read them aloud than if they read them silently. This memory-boosting effect of reading aloud is particularly strong in children, but it works for older people, too. “It’s beneficial throughout the age range,” he says.

MacLeod has named this phenomenon the “production effect”. It means that producing written words – that’s to say, reading them out loud – improves our memory of them.

– – – – – 2/10 – – – – –

The production effect has been replicated in numerous studies spanning more than a decade.

In one study in Australia, a group of seven-to-10-year-olds were presented with a list of words and asked to read some silently, and others aloud. Afterwards, they correctly recognised 87% of the words they’d read aloud, but only 70% of the silent ones.

In another study, adults aged 67 to 88 were given the same task – reading words either silently or aloud – before then writing down all those they could remember. They were able to recall 27% of the words they had read aloud, but only 10% of those they’d read silently. When asked which ones they recognised, they were able to correctly identify 80% of the words they had read aloud, but only 60% of the silent ones. MacLeod and his team have found the effect can last up to a week after the reading task.

– – – – – 3/10 – – – – –

Even just silently mouthing the words makes them more memorable, though to a lesser extent.

Researchers at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank discovered that the memory-enhancing effect also works if the readers have speech difficulties, and cannot fully articulate the words they read aloud.

MacLeod says one reason why people remember the spoken words is that “they stand out, they’re distinctive, because they were done aloud, and this gives you an additional basis for memory”.

We are generally better at recalling distinct, unusual events, and also, events that require active involvement

For instance, generating a word in response to a question makes it more memorable, a phenomenon known as the generation effect

Similarly, if someone prompts you with the clue “a tiny infant, sleeps in a cradle, begins with b”, and you answer baby, you’re going to remember it better than if you simply read it, MacLeod says.

– – – – – 4/10 – – – – –

Another way of making words stick is to enact them, for instance by bouncing a ball (or imagining bouncing a ball) while saying “bounce a ball”. 

This is called the enactment effect. Both of these effects are closely related to the production effect: they allow our memory to associate the word with a distinct event, and thereby make it easier to retrieve later.

– – – – – 5/10 – – – – –

The production effect is strongest if we read aloud ourselves. But listening to someone else read can benefit memory in other ways. In a study led by researchers at the University of Perugia in Italy, students read extracts from novels to a group of elderly people with dementia over a total of 60 sessions. The listeners performed better in memory tests after the sessions than before, possibly because the stories made them draw on their own memories and imagination, and helped them sort past experiences into sequences. “It seems that actively listening to a story leads to more intense and deeper information processing,” the researchers concluded.

Reading aloud can also make certain memory problems more obvious, and could be helpful in detecting such issues early on. 

In one study, people with early Alzheimer’s disease were found to be more likely than others to make certain errors when reading aloud.

– – – – – 6/10 – – – – –

There is some evidence that many of us are intuitively aware of the benefits of reading aloud, and use the technique more than we might realise.

Sam Duncan, an adult literacy researcher at University College London, conducted a two-year study of more than 500 people all over Britain during 2017-2019 to find out if, when and how they read aloud. Often, her participants would start out by saying they didn’t read aloud – but then realised that actually, they did.

“Adult reading aloud is widespread,” she says. “It’s not something we only do with children, or something that only happened in the past.”

Some said they read out funny emails or messages to entertain others. Others read aloud prayers and blessings for spiritual reasons. Writers and translators read drafts to themselves to hear the rhythm and flow. People also read aloud to make sense of recipes, contracts and densely written texts.

“Some find it helps them unpack complicated, difficult texts, whether it’s legal, academic, or Ikea-style instructions,” Duncan says. “Maybe it’s about slowing down, saying it and hearing it.”

– – – – – 7/10 – – – – –

For many respondents, reading aloud brought joy, comfort and a sense of belonging. Some read to friends who were sick or dying, as “a way of escaping together somewhere”, Duncan says. One woman recalled her mother reading poems to her, and talking to her, in Welsh. After her mother died, the woman began reading Welsh poetry aloud to recreate those shared moments. A Tamil speaker living in London said he read Christian texts in Tamil to his wife. On Shetland, a poet read aloud poetry in the local dialect to herself and others.

“There were participants who talked about how when someone is reading aloud to you, you feel a bit like you’re given a gift of their time, of their attention, of their voice,” Duncan recalls. “We see this in the reading to children, that sense of closeness and bonding, but I don’t think we talk about it as much with adults.”

– – – – – 8/10 – – – – –

If reading aloud delivers such benefits, why did humans ever switch to silent reading? One clue may lie in those clay tablets from the ancient Near East, written by professional scribes in a script called cuneiform /ˈkjuːnɪˌfɔːm/.

Over time, the scribes developed an ever faster and more efficient way of writing this script. Such fast scribbling has a crucial advantage, according to Karenleigh Overmann, a cognitive archaeologist at the University of Bergen, Norway who studies how writing affected human brains and behaviour in the past. “It keeps up with the speed of thought much better,” she says.

Reading aloud, on the other hand, is relatively slow due to the extra step of producing a sound.

“The ability to read silently, while confined to highly proficient scribes, would have had distinct advantages, especially, speed,” says Overmann. “Reading aloud is a behaviour that would slow down your ability to read quickly.”

– – – – – 9/10 – – – – –

In his book on ancient literacy, Reading and Writing in Babylon, the French assyriologist Dominique Charpin quotes a letter by a scribe called Hulalum that hints at silent reading in a hurry. Apparently, Hulalum switched between “seeing” (ie, silent reading) and “saying/listening” (loud reading), depending on the situation. In his letter, he writes that he cracked open a clay envelopeMesopotamian tablets came encased inside a thin casing of clay to prevent prying eyes from reading them – thinking it contained a tablet for the king.

“I saw that it was written to [someone else] and therefore did not have the king listen to it,” writes Hulalum.

Perhaps the ancient scribes, just like us today, enjoyed having two reading modes at their disposal: one fast, convenient, silent and personal; the other slower, noisier, and at times more memorable.

In a time when our interactions with others and the barrage of information we take in are all too transient, perhaps it is worth making a bit more time for reading out loud. Perhaps you even gave it a try with this article, and enjoyed hearing it in your own voice?

– – – – – 10/10 – – – – –


Conclusion

As a language practice exercise, try reading texts out loud. 

You don’t have to do it all the time, but simply trying to read a text out loud as if you are reading it to some people, can be a good exercise. 

Research suggests that it could help you remember words more effectively. The production effect means – producing words (saying them out loud) makes a difference to your ability to remember them later. Even just mouthing words when you read them helps them to go into your brain.

So, read aloud and mouth words when you read them.

Also, being prompted with a clue helps you remember words. This is called the generation effect. This encourages me a lot, because it confirms things I have been doing as a teacher, including in LEP Premium episodes when I use little prompts to help you recall words. For you, you could always create your own clues to help you remember words or phrases, or play word games in English in which you define words and then have to guess which words they are. Do this with new vocabulary. Of course, you would need friends or language partners to play with.

Acting words out, or linking them to physical movements also helps you remember words. So, when trying to remember words, add a physical element somehow, even if it means imagining yourself doing the word or being in a certain physical space when thinking of new words. For example if the expression is “to be wary of doing something” – put your hand to your chin and pretend you are being nervous about something or reluctant to do it. Make a sound like “Naaaaaaah, I’m a bit wary of doing that”. Perhaps imagine yourself at the end of a dark street and say “I’m a bit wary of going down there on my own. I think I’ll take the main road.”

Listening to other people read to you also helps a lot. So, the conclusion here is just keep listening to LEP of course! I am sure this works when someone is just speaking to you as well, especially if you are involved and caught up in what they are saying. That’s what I’ve always thought and I am sure scientific research would suggest that it’s true. My hypothesis is that people will remember more L2 words when they are presented in a meaningful context. It’s pretty obvious really. 

Reading aloud might be good for your mental health. It seems that the exercise can reveal signs of dementia. Maybe reading aloud does require quite a lot of brain work – not only are you reading and decoding the words, but your brain is involved in some motor exercise too – meaning, muscle work, movement work. Surely, making your brain multi-task like this can only be good as a way of keeping it active. Brain training, basically. 

It’s a good way to keep your brain young.

Reading aloud also makes you feel quite good, especially if you do it with others. It could be a good exercise with other learners of English, or with your English teacher. Of course, don’t only read aloud, but include it as part of your regular English practice. It’s especially enjoyable if you are reading out some interesting texts, and try to mix it up – some non-fiction stuff and also some stories and so on.

When you read aloud, consider where you need to chunk the text, pause, emphasise and use intonation.

Reading texts out loud is something I often do with my students in class. I ask my students to work out where the pauses should be, which words to emphasise and where the voice goes up or down. 

This exercise reveals things about the text, including the structure and the real meanings and intentions of the writer.

Try reading aloud from time to time. Also try reading out loud with me, at the same time as me sometimes (if there is a transcript with the episode). It might help you notice more aspects of the language in the text, help you remember it more, and help you practice your pronunciation as well as your reading. It might also just make you feel good.

What do you think?

  • Leave your comments below. 
  • What have you been thinking while listening to this?
  • Has it given you any ideas about learning English?
  • Do you have anything to add?

Put your thoughts into English in the comment section.


A Premium Series 

I’m also publishing a 3-part premium series all about the language in this episode. It’ll be available soon or maybe it’s already available now. I’m going to record them right away in fact. They are the next things I’m going to record.

In those premium episodes I will go through the vocabulary which I highlighted in the text again, and I’ll expand things with slightly more detailed explanations and examples, then I’ll test your memory of those words and phrases (with some prompts and some sentences with missing words) and give you a chance to practise pronouncing all the words in sentences. 

There will also be an episode where we practise reading aloud some of the paragraphs from the text, with advice about where to pause, which words to emphasise and so on, with sentences to repeat after me.

To get those episodes, sign up to LEP Premium on Acast+. You can add the premium episodes to your podcasting app, and also access PDFs and video versions that way. www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium for the premium series focusing on the language in this episode.


That’s it for this episode, but I will be back soon with more things for you to listen to, including more stories which I would like to read to you, and conversations with guests, and all the other types of episode I like to present to you on my show.

Thanks for listening, but for now – good bye bye bye!

785. Crossword Puzzles & Word Origins (with Fred Eyangoh)

Fred Eyangoh returns to the podcast to bring some entertaining and useful word puzzles, quizzes and insights into English etymology & history.

Audio Version (Including 30min+ extra vocabulary summary and intro)

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Video Version (just the conversation with Fred)

Intro Transcript & Vocabulary Notes

Hello dear listeners,

Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you are doing well. Here are just a few words before we get stuck into this episode properly.

I am currently sitting here in my pod room. I got back from my holiday last week. Here we are. Back to normal life, whatever that means these days.

It was a very nice holiday, thanks for asking. I might do a post-holiday ramble episode and talk about it a little bit – although actually there isn’t that much to tell. Just standard holiday things – sunshine, a bit of time at the beach, a bit of swimming pool, a bit of cycling, eating seafood, plenty of relaxing, reading, playing with my daughter, spending time with the family – no big adventures really, no encounters with bears or volcano climbing this time. 

Anyway I might do the traditional post-holiday ramble over the next week or so, we will see. 

The thing is, I actually have a bit of a backlog of episodes to publish. I recorded 3 things during the holiday. So I just want to crack on get them published really, so I might forgo the post-holiday ramble this time. We will see. In any case, freshly recorded episodes are coming, including premium content where we get into the language side of things. 

It’s nice to be back in podcastland, if a little strange. You know when you’ve been away on holiday, there’s a slightly odd feeling of melancholy when you return. That September feeling. That’s how it is for me – a kind of end-of-the-holidays, Sunday evening, going back to school sort of slightly sad feeling that I always used to get as a child and I still get these days as an adult. Maybe it’s a northern hemisphere thing, at this time of year. 

As September arrives there’s that little hint in the air that autumn is here and winter is just around the corner. The kids all go back to school and we start thinking about work and studies again, and the things we’re trying to achieve, maybe learning English in your case, and after all, that is why we are here. 

That’s why I am here right now, talking to you on this podcast – to help you improve your English and to enjoy the whole process, which is so important. Learning English can be enjoyable and should be enjoyable because it’s probably more effective if it is enjoyable. So there. I invite you to enjoy listening to my podcast and to let the magic happen.

Now, I need to introduce this episode and I am going to do my best to keep this little introduction as brief as possible. You’ll see that the episode is long. There’s plenty of good stuff here, from beginning to end. I hope you listen to the whole thing, in several stages if you prefer.

All I want to say is that this episode is packed with English language learning potential. 

There is a veritable Smörgåsbord of vocabulary here for you to notice and pick up, a few more differences between American and British English and also some general inspiration for your learning of English. 

The overall message being – there are many ways to get new vocabulary into your life, but the main thing is that you need to maintain a certain level of curiosity, an open minded willingness to challenge yourself a bit, a certain readiness to be entertained while you listen and study and a focused yet relaxed approach to the acquisition of English through all manner of different avenues.

My guest, Fred, technically doesn’t have English as a first language but he has a really broad range of English vocabulary in his head. He likes to do word games and he reads a lot, and checks new words in various online dictionaries, and explores those words and phrases until they become memorable for him, and he notices them again and again, and he tests himself with word games, and learns new things from the questions he can’t answer, and has fun doing it all. I think it’s a really good attitude. Let’s explore that and do some word games.

This conversation is actually a continuation of the theme of a couple of episodes I did with Fred last year in which we looked at the New York Times Spelling Bee, and also some word quizzes on the Collins Dictionary website (episodes 720 and 721). 

This time Fred came back on the podcast to talk about crossword puzzles in which you have to use clues to find missing words in a grid. Sometimes the clues are quite cryptic and contain clever little riddles which you have to work out. Fred presents a few of these crossword puzzles to me during the episode and I invite you to listen carefully to the clues and try to guess the words with me. There are about 25 different questions overall, but plenty of other words and phrases which come up along the way.

We also talk about the history of English and the etymology of English words which have their origins in other languages and which reveal things about England’s ancient history and colonial past. 

So there’s lots of word quizzes and vocab games, and then at the end a bit about etymology, English history and colonialism.

If you find it hard to keep track of all the vocab during this chat, then don’t worry because I’ll give a quick summary of it all at the end of the episode, and I mean quick. Just to consolidate some of the things you heard I will list the vocabulary at the end. It won’t be the full LEP Premium treatment. It’ll just be a quick a reminder, to recap.

Check the episode page on my website for all the vocabulary notes. There’s a video version too which you might want to check out on YouTube, but it doesn’t contain this lovely introduction or the incredibly useful and generous vocab re-cap which I will do at the end of this wonderful audio version. 

Now, without any further ado, let’s chat to Fred again, and here we go…

Ending

So there you are that was Fred Eyangoh, being very useful there and sharing lots of fun vocab quiz questions and also insights about how crossword puzzles work and also words which have their roots in other languages.

I’ll invite Fred back onto this podcast to play “Plant, dish or animal”, which sounds like a fun game.

My prediction for the episode length

I said 1h36min

For the video version I was very close. It’s 1h34min22sec.

This audio version though is clearly much longer.

Vocabulary Summary

Mini Crossword Clues and Answers

  • Helpful reference for tourists – MAP
  • Dressy short sleeved shirt – POLO (Dressy means smart)
  • They have meters and motors – TAXIS (A meter is what counts the distance and price of the taxi journey)
  • D on a gearshift – DRIVE (In US English a “gearshift” is thing you use to change gears in a car – either an automatic or manual car, in UK English it’s more likely to be called a gear stick)
  • Fighting spirit – MOXIE (Moxie means “courage” or “nerve”, “guts” in US and Canadian slang)
  • Look _____ out there – LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE! (This is something that people shout at baseball players to encourage them. People also say “Attaboy” – “At her boy!”)
  • Football scores, for short – TDS (this is an abbreviation for “touchdowns”, which is of course American English because touchdowns are part of what we call American Football or Gridiron Football, but in the USA they just call it football, and they’re wrong of course, it’s not football it’s hand egg – just joking, they can call it football if they want, because, they have guns)
  • ____-ball – SKEE (Skee ball is a game that you might find in amusement arcades in the USA. To me it’s the kind of word that you hear sometimes in American movies or TV shows)

Fred’s Crossword Quiz Questions for Luke

  • Campaigned for office – RAN (to run for president, for example)
  • Urban air pollution – SMOG (A portmanteau word between smoke and fog)
  • Rowing tool – OAR (also “to stick your oar in” – meaning to get involved in a situation which you shouldn’t be involved in. E.g. when two people are arguing and you interrupt and give your opinion too, but it just makes the argument worse, “Sticking your oar in doesn’t help! Just mind your own business)
  • Kisses and caresses in British lingo – SNOGS
  • It may pop before a toast – CORK
  • Doe’s mate (the mate of a doe) – STAG
    Other related words: 
    buck (also a male deer) to buck (when a horse kicks its legs to get someone off its back) 
    to buck the trend (to do something different than the trend – e.g. to focus on long form audio content, rather than short form video content)
    a fawn (a young deer – pronounced /fɔ:n/ by me and /fɑ:n/ by Fred with his American accent.
  • Angers – IRES (to ire someone means to make someone angry or frustrated, but I never use this word. Still it’s useful to know it and it’s the kind of thing that might come up in a book or something – also useful for crosswords and scrabble)
  • Fuss, kerfuffle, trouble, tizzy, hubbub, brouhaha, ballyhoo – ADO
  • Blocked, as a river – DAMMED (We also have “Damned” as a kind of swear word, which for me sounds the same as dammed)
  • “Hold your horses” – WAIT 
  • Shush – ZIP IT! 
  • Current events? – TIDES (current has several meanings – a current in the water, an electrical current, and also the adjective current which means at the moment *not actual* as in some languages. Also there’s the homophone word currant which is a small dried grape, like a raisin)
  • Drop a line? – FISH (“drop me a line” means “call me on the phone” but you also drop a line when you go fishing)
  • Mini freezer – BRAKE (the brake is what stops a car, and a Mini is a kind of car. To freeze means to stop, so a mini freezer is a brake)
  • Good or bad vacuum review – SUCKS (this vacuum sucks! Good, that’s what it’s supposed to do!)
  • Locale for drawers in the study – ART SCHOOL (tricky – but it’s where you find artists involved in studying) 
    Draw a picture with a pencil
    A drawer where you keep your knives and forks
    He speaks with a southern drawl

That’s all folks!

Leave your comments in the comment section.

Leave a positive review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen.

Sign up to LEP Premium for all those bonus episodes where I focus on teaching you vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, and the storytime series.

All the very best to you and your English. 

Have a lovely morning, afternoon, evening or night and I will speak to you again soon.

P35 [1/2] StoryTime: Learn English with Stories (free LEP Premium Sample) THE BEAR STORY

This is a free sample of LEP Premium, available for everyone. In this episode I’ll tell you about my technique for learning English with stories and transcripts, with full details about how to improve your English with my stories. Then I’ll tell you a story about a time I had an encounter with a bear, and then I’ll give you some language practice exercises for your grammar and vocabulary, and some pronunciation drills to let you repeat after me. Full PDF transcript available + video version available too.

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Links, PDFS & Notes

🏆 LEP Premium is a series of bonus episodes from Luke’s English Podcast in which I teach you vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. LEP Premium is now available on Acast+ Episodes are usually in audio format (with some bonus videos), and you can listen to them in any normal podcast app.

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👇 Get the full PDF transcript/worksheet for this episode

📄 PDF in normal size https://teacherluke.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/P35-1_1-StoryTime_-Learn-English-with-Stories-free-LEP-Premium-Sample-THE-BEAR-STORY-COMPUTER-VERSION.pdf

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757. Setting up my new Pod-Room / DIY (Do It Yourself) Vocabulary & Expressions

Describing how I am setting up my new pod-room with a couple of stories and plenty of vocabulary for talking about DIY and doing improvements to your home. Vocabulary list available.

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Episode Notes & Transcript

Hello listeners, welcome to LEP#757. In this one I am going to talk to you about how I am setting up my new podcasting room (is it an office, is it a studio?) and I’m going to teach you some vocabulary related to doing practical work with your hands at home.

Just before we start I just want to say hello properly to everyone in LEPland and deal with a little bit of podcast admin. 

Hello

I hope you’re doing well. It’s been over 2 weeks since I published the last episode because of the house move (I moved house a few weeks ago). If you’re wondering how that’s going – I’ll talk about it a bit in this episode, but let’s just say that the phrase my wife and I have been using over and over is “it’s coming along” which means we are making progress, bit by bit, slowly but surely – unpacking our stuff from boxes, setting up the new place, getting things sorted out such as an internet connection at home and the important appliances like a cooker, a washing machine etc. Things are getting slightly less chaotic every day. Also I was ill for week (not COVID thankfully) which didn’t help. Anyway, if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new episode – thanks for waiting. If you’ve been waiting impatiently, I’ll still say thanks for waiting. Things are still up in the air so I can’t get back into the usual podcasting routine yet, which means there might be another delay after I publish this episode, but when I have my new podcast room set up and have done lots of other things that need doing, normal podcasting will resume. Hopefully this slowdown has allowed a lot of you to catch up with me.

3 of announcements and bits of admin before we start properly:

  1. Premium subscribers – I am currently working (when I can) on P33 parts 3 & 4 which are turning into quite substantial episodes. Part 3 is all about word families, parts of speech and word stress patterns. That means how word stress patterns can change from the noun form of a word to the adjective, verb and adverb forms etc. (Politics – politician – political – politically, Economics – economist – economic – economically, architecture – architect – architectural – architecturally, etc) Part 4 will be pronunciation drills with full sentences, not just words on their own. So that’s coming soon to LEP Premium. If you want to sign up to LEP Premium to get all those episodes – go to teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo to get all the info. If you ever have problems with the registration process – try using other browsers, and not on a mobile phone.
  2. Spotify listeners – hello! Recently loads of my episodes disappeared on Spotify. I don’t know if you noticed but episodes 1-664 just disappeared. Well, they should be back now or soon. It was just an automatic update which changed some settings, but those settings have now been reset. So everything should be normal, the episodes should be available again and you should be able to listen on Spotify as usual. In any case you can always get all the episodes in the LEP App which you can download free from the app store on your phone (just search for Luke’s English Podcast App). That’s the whole episode archive, plus about 10 bonus episodes which are only available in the app, all the mini phrasal verb episodes, some music and videos and access to the premium content too if you have a subscription.
  3. OPP – If you’re looking for other things to listen to while waiting for new episodes of LEP at the moment, you could check out my appearances on several other podcasts. Recently several of my podcast friends reached milestone episodes and they both chose to invite me as a guest as a way of marking the occasion. Apparently I am the pod-father. First of all, Rock n’ Roll English hosted by Martin Johnston – he reached episode 250 recently and invited me on to have a chat about the ins and outs of making podcasts for learners of English and it’s a typically funny and unfiltered conversation. That’s episode 250 of Rock n’ Roll English. Also Zdenek’s English Podcast reached episode 400 recently and Zdenek invited me as a guest. I love the way Zdenek and Martin decided to pay their dues to the podfather in this way! I had an epic chat with Zdenek about loads of things including how his podcast has been inspired by mine in some ways and about the development of him as a teacher and podcaster. I think it’s a good conversation with insights about various things including what it’s like making podcast content and how confidence develops, the creative process and generally another inside look into podcasting for learners of English. Check them out – you will find links on the page for this episode. 2 other episodes of other people’s podcasts you could check out.


This is an episode about DIY – or Do It Yourself

This is not an episode about how you can teach yourself English, although I could talk about that a bit, later in the episode.

DIY is a common expression in English, meaning Do It Yourself and it relates to doing practical work at home. 

People talk about doing DIY. We say things like “I’m going to do some DIY this weekend” “I’ve been doing some DIY”, “I did a bit of DIY at the weekend”,  “I’m no good at doing DIY” “My husband does all the DIY in our house” “My wife tends to handle all the DIY because I’m rubbish at it, etc etc”. 

DIY (Do It Yourself) means all the practical work that you might do at home from time to time – the things we do in order to make improvements to our home. I’m talking about things like putting up shelves, painting & decorating, fixing things and other similar work that you do to improve your own home without having to call someone in to do it for you, like a plumber, carpenter, decorator or electrician. You don’t call someone in to do it, you do it yourself. DIY.

It’s the sort of thing you might do at the weekend. Putting up shelves seems to be the most common example of DIY as far as I can tell. Putting up shelves – that thing that seems so simple on paper, but in reality is the sort of thing that can bring a person to their knees – and I don’t mean kneeling down in order to do some work, but to kneel down in a desperate plea to the gods of (what – wood? Screwdrivers?) in order to beg for mercy because your attempt to put up the shelves is proving to be too difficult a task. What do you mean, Luke? I mean, doing DIY, for example, putting up shelves can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

As I said, on paper it doesn’t seem that bad, but to do it right you have to do it properly. You have to read up on how to put up shelves, maybe watch some tutorials online, then plan a specific time to do it, go to the hardware shop or DIY shop to get all the right materials and tools. You put on some old clothes, maybe prepare an area of the home where you’re going to do your work and make sure no pets or children go anywhere near it, you get the stepladder out, and then you try and actually put some shelves on the wall, or build something or whatever, and if you’re not very good at it, if you’re not a practical person, it can be stressful and you end up making a total mess of it, and you hit your thumb with a hammer and then you start swearing and maybe break something and fall off the ladder, and have an argument with your spouse or something and then just give up and go to the pub or something. It depends how handy you are, how practical you are or not. For many of you, this isn’t a problem and the idea of putting up shelves being diffiult is laughable to you. I don’t know your life. 

But I do know, that DIY is a very common thing in life and surely this is something that unites all of us to some degree. Either because we all have to do DIY sometimes, or at least we know someone who has to do DIY and it’s just a thing that happens in our lives. Do you know all the English that you need to talk about DIY? The tools, the verbs, the specific phrases for all of it? That’s what I’m dealing with here. 

The reason I’m doing this episode right now might be obvious for those of you who are regular listeners. I have just moved into a new flat and also I’m setting up a new office/studio for myself and this is involving a lot of this kind of work. 

In fact, this is what is taking up most of my time at the moment, which is why the podcast has been a bit delayed recently. When I’m not teaching English classes at the British Council or spending time with my wife and daughter doing family things, I’m working on the flat and working the office. 

What I’m going to do in this episode, then, is:

  1. Describe exactly what I’ve been doing in the office and talk about how I’m trying to set it up as a good base for my podcast work. I’m going to describe the DIY I’ve been doing.
  2. Go through a vocabulary list of various words and phrases for talking about the fascinating subject of DIY.

Setting Up The Pod-Room

  • What is it?
  • Where is it?
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it need to be?
  • What are you doing with it?

Tell us about the shelves you put up, in as much detail as possible.

Vocabulary – DIY

Putting up shelves

  • Tape measure – to measure things (length, depth, width, height, distance from x to y etc)
  • Spirit level – to check that things are level (horizontally or vertically)
  • Pencil – to mark lines or crosses/spots 
  • A drill – to drill holes (into thing)
  • A cordless drill
  • Battery / battery pack – charge it regularly
  • Drill bits (different bits for different materials) – to drill holes of the right size / to drill (into)
  • Types of material – masonry (stone and brick), wood panels (MDF, chipboard, wood (pine, oak etc)
  • Wall plugs / Rawlplugs – to hold screws in place and prevent damage to the walls (you push them into the holes and then when you screw in the screw, the plug expands inside the hole and grips the inside of the hole, preventing the screw from falling out) they ensure a tight and secure fit for screws in material which is brittle or porous.
  • Screws – screw them into the wall or into wood to attach things
  • Nails – hammer them into the wall or wood to attach things
  • Screwdriver – to screw in screws, or unscrew screws
  • Electric screwdriver / power screwdriver – a convenient way to screw screws
  • Hammer – to hammer nails or pull nails out of walls
  • Mallet / rubber mallet – to hammer other things, without causing damage. You can use a mallet to hammer rawl plugs into the holes, for example.
  • Pliers – to hold things firmly, to grip things
  • A saw – to saw wood (handsaw, hacksaw, etc)
  • Sandpaper – to sand things and make them smooth or take off rough edges – like wood, dried filler or rough patches of paint
  • A plane – to remove layers of wood
  • File – to rub against wood (usually) and change the shape, remove layers (e.g. if a door sticks and doesn’t close properly)
  • Rags – to wipe things, clean things, dust things (remove dust)
  • Dustpan and brush – to clean up dust and other bits and pieces
  • A multi-tool – a convenient thing to help you do lots of things, including cut your arm off if it gets trapped under a rock in the desert 

Painting

  • Paint – to cover surfaces, to coat surfaces, to add colour, to make things look nice
  • Layers of paint or coat:
  • Primer – to prepare the wood by covering dark colours or patches, prevents things from leaking through (like some oil or sap which comes from knots in the wood) and makes the surface smooth (MDF is absorbent so the primer helps to stop the MDF from absorbing all your paint – it also causes wood fibres to stand up, so you can then sand them down) etc 
  • Sealer – seals the wood and creates a watertight layer
  • Undercoat 
  • Topcoat
  • Types of paint, with different appearances:
  • Matt (flat surface, low “sheen”, not reflective, harder to wash, prone to marks and scuffs, easy to add other coats without showing up brush strokes) 
  • Eggshell / satin (higher level of “sheen” than matt, easier to wipe than matt, more durable than matt)
  • Gloss (highly reflective, has a very high “sheen” level, sometimes used in kitchens because it can be wiped clean and is therefore a bit more hygienic)
  • Oil-based paint
  • Water-based paint
  • A brush – to apply paint to things 
  • A roller – to apply paint evenly and conveniently to large surfaces
  • A tin/tub of paint – the containers the paint comes in
  • Masking tape – to cover parts which you don’t want to paint, like skirting boards, windows, handles etc
  • Plastic sheets – to cover and protect the floor from drops of paint

That’s it!

When the pod-room is set up and I have a proper internet connection (and maybe a new computer) I will be doing podcasts with videos like in 2021 and you will be able to see the amazing and inspiring work I did on the shelves 😂

Speak to you soon! Bye bye bye…

750. An Unedited Ramble / How to talk about Being Busy in English

In this unedited episode I share some of the thoughts that have been running through my head, talk about being busy and look at some vocabulary to describe busy times in your life. Video version available.

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Vocabulary Notes

How to talk about being busy in English

1. The word “busy”

Pronunciation

/bɪzi/ “Bizzy” – like “business”

Not “Buzzy”

Collocations

  • A busy time
  • To be extremely busy
  • To be busy with something
  • To be busy +ing
  • To be too busy + infinitive
  • awfully, extremely, really, terribly, very | exceptionally, particularly | desperately, frantically | a bit, fairly, pretty, quite, rather | constantly

2. Expressions for when you have too many things to do and you don’t have time for everything

  • To have a lot to do (It’s possessive have, so don’t put it in the continuous form)
  • To have an awful lot to do, to have a hell of a lot to do
  • To have a lot of things to doTo have loads of things to do
  • To have tons of things to do
  • To have a lot on
  • To have a lot going on
  • To be rushed off your feet = Always in a hurry because you have so many things to do
  • To be up to your ears/neck in work, admin, marking, assessments
  • To be under a lot of pressure
  • To work well under pressure
  • To be snowed under (with something)
  • To be swamped (with)
  • To be overwhelmed
  • To have your hands full
  • To have a lot on your plate

A busy time

  • A full day/month/year
  • Hectic
  • It’s all go (go go)
  • Things are a bit mad/crazy/hectic/Full-on
  • (to be in) a mad rush

3. Expressions for when being busy is good, because having time on your hands and doing nothing is bad

  • To keep yourself busy
  • I’m keeping myself busy

That’s all for this episode. Speak to you next time! Bye bye bye…

739. The Escaped Man by CT Platt (Learn English with Short Stories)

Reading a short story presented on Commaful.com. The Escaped Man is a mystery full of tension and intrigue. Listen closely as I break it all down and explain the vocabulary fully. YouTube video version also available.

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Introduction Transcript & Links

Hello listeners and video viewers,

It’s time to do another story on the podcast. This time I’m going to be reading a story called The Escaped Man which was written by CT Platt and is presented on the Commaful website.

Commaful.com is a website where you can find short stories, fan fiction and other reading texts and it’s all presented in quite a nice and easy-to-read format.

I’m going to read the story to you once and all you have to do is follow it, and hopefully enjoy it. I have a couple of questions for you to help you stay focused on your listening.

Then I’ll read through the story again and break it down line by line, explaining, pointing out and teaching you bits of vocabulary and grammar as I go.

Learning English through stories is a great idea and tends to work because it places language in a vivid context and is generally quite entertaining and fun.

So listen to the story and then let me break all the language down for you bit by bit.

Just before I read the story, here are a couple of questions for you.

Where does the story take place? How do you know?
Is this American English or British English? How do you know?
What is going to happen next?

OK, let’s start.

https://commaful.com/play/lisa/the-escaped-man/

Full Script of the Story

https://www.wattpad.com/543021670-suspense-stories-the-escaped-man-c-t-platt-2017

729. TOEFL and the Duolingo English Test (with Josh MacPherson from TSTPrep.com)

Talking to Josh MacPherson about tips and advice for taking TOEFL and the Duolingo English Test. YouTube version also available.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, here is an episode about English Tests like TOEFL and the Duolingo English Test which I hope will still be an interesting episode even for those who have no plans to take one of these tests. I’m joined by online English teacher Josh MacPherson. I guess you have heard of TOEFL, and the Duolingo English Test is a test made by Duolingo, that company which helps you learn languages on your phone, and which seems to be managed by a green cartoon owl, who is some kind of master of learning English. They make a test now, and it’s getting really big.

Some time is spent describing the tests but we don’t just spend an hour describing TOEFL. Most of the time we are doing samples from the test, commenting on my performance in a TOEFL speaking task, discussing testing methods in general and giving comments on ways to perform well, particularly in the speaking parts of a test like TOEFL and IELTS.

Also, tests should be reliable and having genuinely good English skills should (of course) cause you to get decent results, so a lot of the tips relating to getting a better score are also generally good tips for improving your level of English, so even if you’re not planning to take one of these tests, the tips and advice here should be applicable to your English anyway.

There is a video version of this episode on YouTube and you can see Josh’s screen and can observe our conversation as if you are taking part in a Zoom call with us. You can find the video on the page for this episode or on my YouTube channel.

Again, the audio is not tip top this time round and that was caused by things like microphone echo, which I have managed to fix, but in any case I think you can still hear everything clearly.

That’s it, I hope you enjoy it and you will find all the links you need on the page for this episode on my website.

Let’s get started

I am joined today by Josh MacPherson from TSTPrep.com and the TST Prep YouTube channel.

Josh is an English teacher who specialises in helping learners of English prepare for English tests, particularly TOEFL and also the fairly new DuoLingo English Test.

I thought I’d interview Josh to find out more about these tests and to get some tips from him about how to get the best result that you can.

Also, we’re going to do some test questions during this interview, so we can see how well I perform in these tests too.

Links

  • TST Prep website www.tstprep.com
  • TST Prep Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL0ZOT3eKp4RvKcQyBZJ4bw
  • How to think or reasons for your opinion document – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NpEhd9BLNVKOuOO08LpJ6lA2NSLOZgJO/view?usp=sharing
  • Duolingo English practice test – https://englishtest.duolingo.com/home
  • Duolingo English test list of institutions – https://englishtest.duolingo.com/institutions
  • Duolingo Research articles – https://englishtest.duolingo.com/research

Ending Transcript

Thanks again to Josh for his contribution to this episode.

Don’t forget, links are available on the page for this episode for all the things Josh mentioned there including test practice, sample answers, tips and videos.

Thank you as ever for listening all the way up to this point.

There’s not much more for me to add here. I haven’t played the guitar on the podcast lately, but I will be coming back to that soon, but for now I will just wish you a fond farewell and until next time, good bye bye bye bye bye

720. How Fred Learns Vocabulary with the New York Times Spelling Bee (with Fred Eyangoh)

Fred often plays spelling games on his phone during his lunch break, and he has discovered lots of new words as a result. In this episode I talk to Fred about his process of discovering and understanding new words and I talk about learning vocabulary with online dictionaries.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, 

I hope you are doing well out there in all the various parts of LEPland. Are you ready for a new episode? Yes, you are? That’s why you’re listening to this? Yes, that makes sense. It would be pretty weird if you had pressed play on this episode and thought “Wait wait! I’m not ready! I must immediately reasses my life choices. What am I doing?” I’m assuming you’re ready for this episode, and that you are fully on-board and prepared mentally, physically and spiritually for another dose of English.

This episode is called How Fred Learns Vocabulary with the New York Times Spelling Bee.

Fred Eyangoh is my guest for this one and he is a returning guest, as some longer-term listeners might remember. Fred has been on the podcast a few times before. Basically, I know Fred from doing stand-up comedy at English language comedy shows in Paris. He’s a stand up comedian, like me. Fred is also a bit of a movie geek and he loves to talk about films of various kinds. His last appearance on this podcast was when we talked about Avengers Endgame a couple of years ago.

But this episode is not about films. We decided instead to talk about how Fred expands his vocabulary in English using the New York Times Spelling Bee. 

Do you know what a spelling bee is? It’s not an insect that is good at spelling words and making honey. No. A spelling bee is basically a spelling competition. Often spelling bees are done in the USA in schools. 

But the New York Times Spelling Bee is basically just a spelling game that they publish in their daily newspaper, and it’s for adults or students, not children. It’s the sort of thing you can do on your lunch break or while commuting to work or college or something and it involves trying to spell as many words as possible from a limited number of letters.

In case you’re wondering, the ‘bee’ part in ‘spelling bee’ is nothing to do with the insects that make honey. The word bee here is actually derived from the middle-English word ‘bene’ (spelled B E N E, and middle-English is not used any more of course) which basically meant when neighbours get together to do an activity that helps someone. A sort of group activity in which everyone gets together to help someone in the community. Somehow along the way this word became associated only with these competitions designed to help kids improve their spelling, and the word ended up being spelled “bee”. As far as I know, there are no other uses of the word “bee” like this. So, you can just learn the phrase “spelling bee” to mean a spelling competition.

So, this episode is all about ways to expand your vocabulary. Recently Fred has found that this little spelling game has introduced him to various new words, and this has been an inroad into English for him, so we decided to talk about it on the podcast.

The overall point here is that there are many ways to expand your vocabulary. You can come across words while reading books or articles, you can find them by listening to podcasts, you can find them by checking transcripts and by using subtitles, by playing computer games, by checking song lyrics, or by playing word games. There are probably other ways that you can think of. There are many ways to come across new words.

I should say that as well as doing these word games, Fred is also a big reader of books and a film nerd. He watches loads of films and TV series in English and investigates the English he hears (or sees if he has the subtitles on) and when he came to the flat to record this episode he had a copy of Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Caroll which he had been reading, and that book is full of word play, poetry and little jokes. So, there are many ways that Fred gets English into his life, but in this episode we’re focusing on how Fred uses this particular little spelling game.

This leads to some discussion about the steps I think you should take when discovering new words, and this relates to one of the recommendations made by Michael from Poland which was to use certain online monolingual English/English dictionaries because they help you to find not only definitions of new words, examples and correct pronunciation but also plenty of synonyms and as you explore the definitions of words you end up discovering other words and it all expands outwards like the branches of a tree.

So this is the overall point – find words in whichever way that you enjoy, but try to go a bit further and explore those words using good English/English dictionaries. Notice how one word leads to another, notice what kind of words they are (nouns, adjectives, verbs etc) and how they fit into a sentence (including which other words they usually go with or collocate with, like certain prepositions, and if they are followed by certain forms like -ing verbs or infinitive verbs), notice how the words are pronounced and if there are several acceptable ways to say them, make note of the spelling and watch out for discrepancies between the spelling and pronunciation, consider if the words are from a specific register (e.g. medical language, legal language, old-fashioned literary language or just general English), if they tend to be from American English or British English. All that information is available from a good dictionary. Also, perhaps consider recording your new words in a notebook or a flashcard app like anki, try to use new words yourself and then try to notice the words again and again as you keep listening and reading. That’s the overall point of this episode.

This is a conversation between two people and so you are going to hear the usual moments when we get sidetracked and there are various conversational tangents, little jokes and things as we make each other laugh. So, it might be a bit tricky to keep up with it all, so just bear that in mind and get ready. 

As you will notice, quite a lot of specific items of vocabulary come up during this conversation and it might be a little difficult for you to keep track of them all, but I will be repeating them at the end of the episode, and they’re also written on the episode page on my website if you’d like to take a look.

Right, so I hope you can keep up with all of this. There will be a part 2 of this conversation, where we explore some word quizzes about commonly confused words in English, but now let’s listen to Fred talking about how he uses the New York Times Spelling Bee to expand his vocabulary, and here we go.


Try the New York Times Spelling Bee here (although you need to register to keep playing) https://www.nytimes.com/puzzles/spelling-bee

Ending Transcript

So, that was Fred Eyangoh talking about how the New York Times Spelling Bee has helped with his vocabulary, which in turn helps with things like pronunciation and improving your pronunciation helps with your speaking and also your listening skills, and improving your listening skills helps to improve your ability to understand people, and the more you understand people the more you’re able to notice more language that people are using and the cycle continues, and all the while your confidence is improving. This is the idea anyway. Certain habits or at least certain mindsets can help to put you in a positive cycle of language acquisition.

You also heard at the end there how we were about to start a word quiz on the Collins Dictionary website. In part 2 of this conversation we will continue where we stopped. So the next episode will be another one with Fred, exploring some commonly confused words, most of which are homophones – words which sound the same but are spelled differently. So check out that episode too when it arrives. There should be more learning opportunities for you there, and also some silly jokes and tangents too from Fred and me.

Let me now recap some specific things from the conversation you’ve just heard.

My 5 favourite dictionaries again

Look beyond just the definition. These are resources designed specifically to help you build your vocabulary.

Some of them have other resources too, like vocabulary quizzes based on things like idioms, synonyms and commonly confused words, and you’ll hear more about that in part 2 of this conversation as I just said.

Macmillan Sounds App – helps you learn the phonemic script. Download it from the Macmillan website https://www.macmillaneducationapps.com/soundspron/ 

Words & phrases mentioned

Repeat the word stress and give an example of each.

Admittedly (adv) (use this when you are saying something that weakens the importance or force of what you have just said) “Daily practice is so important in language learning, although admittedly, I don’t follow my own advice when it comes to working on my French”

Horrendous (adj) (something unpleasant or shocking, horrific, appalling, awful, ghastly) “Getting sick in a foreign country can be an absolutely horrendous experience”

Severe (adj) (very intense or serious) “I had to stop working because I had a severe headache”

Word stress

  • Embarrassed 
  • Important 
  • Necessary
  • Accessory

Umbrella terms (all these ones are nouns)

  • Invertebrate
  • Arthropod (invertebrates that include arachnids, insects and crustaceans)
  • Insect (types of arthropod)
  • Flea (types of insect)
  • Arachnid (aka spiders – types of arthropod, but not insects)
  • Crustacean (also types of arthropod which are neither insects or spiders – includes crabs, lobsters, shrimp)

Chitin (what insects’ exoskeletons are made of)

Worms 

Elated (adj) (synonyms – joyful, delighted, excited, proud)

Heart bypass (noun)  – According to the NHS A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure used to treat coronary heart disease. It diverts blood around narrowed or clogged parts of the major arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. We laughed about the fact that the guy in the example had two heart bypasses, but of course this is a serious procedure that a lot of people have to have. 

To take something with a pinch of salt (UK) – this means to be sceptical about something, or to not completely believe everything that someone says. “Take online medical advice with a pinch of salt. Sometimes it’s not completely accurate.”

To take something with a grain of salt (US)
Allele (noun) (a specific scientific term from genetic biology, pronounced “uh leal” – I remember this word coming up in my biology A level lessons when I was 17, but I haven’t heard it since, until this conversation. I failed that A level by the way.)

Pelf (noun) (money, especially if it has been illegally obtained – this word is hardly ever used today, so don’t worry about it. Collins is the only dictionary that lists it) Synonyms might be swag, booty – but those words aren’t really used either, unless it’s some pirate adventure story set in the 18th century)  

Pilfer (verb) (a slang word meaning to steal – it’s still used but I would probably go for the words “nick” or “pinch” instead) “Someone’s nicked my wallet!” “I pilfered some biscuits from my flatmate’s cupboard.” “Someone’s pinched my mobile phone”.

Quid (noun) (slang word meaning pounds, it’s both the singular and plural form) “A pint of beer in a pub can cost over 7 quid these days. It’s daylight robbery!”

That’s it for this episode then. Part 2 should arrive soon, and it will be called something like Learning Vocabulary with Collins Dictionary Word Quizzes (with Fred Eyangoh) Commonly Confused Words.

So, sit tight until that one arrives!

I hope all is well in LEPland. Don’t be a ninja – write something in the comment section, and by the way, writing one comment like “I’m writing a comment, so I’m not a ninja any more” this doesn’t completely revoke your ninja status, because you have to stay out of the shadows you know!

Speak to you soon, but for now – bye bye bye bye bye

597. Growing Up / Getting Older / Becoming a Father (with Paul Taylor)

In this conversation Paul and I get a bit deep & meaningful and talk about where Paul is in his life at this point, including our thoughts about becoming a father, getting older and growing up.


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Introduction

Rambling about my birthday… My daughter is a toddler now. She toddles around.

Thank you so much for the lovely birthday messages that you sent to me.

I’d like to give a shout out to students in my class today who surprised me with presents, delicious cake and champagne – at 10.30 this morning!

We all drank champagne during the class, in the morning. It seems that champagne is the only alcohol that you can drink in the morning and it’s acceptable. You can’t really drink whiskey, wine, beer, vodka (although I’m sure in some places that a breakfast drink) – where I’m from, it’s not acceptable to drink those things in the morning and if you do you’re an alcoholic, but champagne – go for it!

It was pretty interesting for me to teach English after having drunk champagne, which was great.

Anyway, I am another year older, which I am fine with as I said in a recent episode.

But that brings me to this episode, which is a conversation with one of the pod-pals, Paul Taylor, and the conversation is all about growing up, getting older and becoming a father.

As you will know if you heard the previous episode, Paul is about to become a Dad for the first time. His wife is pregnant and the due date is at the end of June. Congrats to the two of them, on behalf of all the LEPsters! It’s a girl. Hopefully she’ll grow up to be friends with my daughter and the other kids from our circle of friends. We don’t know what the name will be yet. We’re all hoping that the rest of the pregnancy goes well, and the birth too.

Having a child can be a bit of a turning point in your life. I don’t know if you have children.

So, in this conversation Paul and I get a bit deep & meaningful and talk about where Paul is in his life at this point, including our thoughts about becoming a father, getting older and growing up.

All I have by way of an introduction at this stage, are some questions for you to consider in order to prepare you a bit for what you’re going to hear.

Questions to consider before you listen to the conversation

  • As you get older, does your perception of other people change?
  • For example, if you see a group of 18 year olds, how do you feel?
  • If you see people who are in their retirement, elderly people, how do you feel?
  • How do you feel about the passage of time and getting older?
  • How does life change as you move from being a teenager into a young adult and then into being middle-aged and retirement age and old age?
  • What do you think of the way society views old people? Are they looked after, represented or respected fully in your society?
  • What about having children? Does it change your life? How? Is it a change for the better? In what ways?
  • What about your lifestyle?
  • Are you good at looking after yourself?
  • Do you keep yourself fit and do enough exercise? If not, why not?
  • Have you managed to find a sport or exercise routine that suits you and that you enjoy?
  • How about your diet and eating habits? Do you manage your diet well? Do you make sure you’re staying healthy and eating the right things?
  • Daily routine
  • Do you manage to get enough stuff done in your average day?
  • What’s your daily routine? Could you improve it in any way? How much discipline do you have in your life?
  • How motivated and disciplined are you about doing things that don’t bring you instant results?
  • Do you think you need to change your lifestyle as you get older? Is that an easy thing to do?
    What influence did your parents have on your life? Do you ever judge the way your parents brought you up?
  • Do you ever compare yourself to your parents? Do you ever feel like you can’t live up to their expectations or the example they set for you?
  • Were either of your parents often not there when you were growing up? Maybe one of them or both of them worked a lot and wasn’t always there. How do you feel about that?
  • At what age do people leave home and become independent, in your country?
  • What kind of time should you spend with your child? Should you always be there, or is it ok to be absent sometimes as long as you are working hard and making money to help support them?
  • If you have kids or are planning to have kids, what kind of example should you show to your children? What aspects of your personality do you want them to inherit from you? Which aspects would you rather they didn’t learn?
  • Do you need to say “yes” more in your life? Or do you need to learn how to say “no” more?
  • As you get older do you feel that you are becoming more open-minded, or less open-minded? Are you still happy to meet and get to know new people and see new places in your life as you get older?
  • And, is Paul ready to be a Dad? Is he looking forward to it? Is he in the right stage of his life for parenthood?

These are the sorts of questions we are talking about in this episode.

So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Paul.


Ending

Congrats again to Paul and his wife Adi. Best of luck for the birth. We’re all looking forward to meeting the new Taylor when she arrives.

You heard us mention a book there.

“Yes Man” by Danny Wallace – a great, interesting and funny book written in modern plain English.

I know my listeners are always interested in finding new books to read. This one was very popular when it came out and I think it is not too difficult to read and should be full of the right kind of English. Everyday English in a plain and modern style.

There is an audiobook version which you might want to listen to. It’s available on Audible.

That’s almost it.

Podcast News / Admin

I have two more free episodes to publish before things go a bit quiet while I work on premium content.

Those next two episodes are also conversations with guests. Earlier this week I spoke to Oliver Gee, the Australian journalist and he told me lots of interesting stories about things like the recent fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, meeting some famous people while working as a journalist and also his experiences of learning Swedish and French.

And the other conversation hasn’t been recorded yet, but it’s going to be with my Dad. We’re going to talk on Monday next week and the idea is to somehow describe the recent situation in UK politics and some other things like a recent conference that my Dad moderated about climate change, and hopefully we’ll have time to talk a bit more about football, because my Dad follows UK football very closely. That one isn’t recorded yet, but if all goes according to plan I’ll do the recording next week and publish it quickly afterwards, then the Oliver Gee episode should go up.

After that – things will go quiet for a while and there will be no free episodes probably for a couple of weeks, but I will be working hard on new premium content which should arrive steadily during that period.

To sign up to LEP premium go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium

Don’t forget also that Paul’s live 1hr stand up show is now available on YouTube. Search for Paul Taylor Franglais. The bits which are in French have English subtitles. It’s about 50% English and 50% French. You can check out Paul’s excellent French skills. It’s impressive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am_WjjAnzvw

Episode 600 – YouTube Live Stream – I’ve chosen a date and time!!

It’s going to be Friday 7 June at 3pm CET (Paris time)

That’s…

  • 6AM on the west coast of the USA
  • 9AM in New York
  • 8AM in Mexico City
  • 10AM in Rio, Brazil
  • 2PM in London
  • 4pm in Moscow
  • 4pm in Ankara, Turkey
  • 6.30pm in New Delhi
  • 9pm in Shanghai
  • 10pm in Tokyo
  • 11pm in Sydney
  • 1AM on the Saturday morning in Auckland, NZ

If it’s not at the perfect time for you, then I am sorry! There’s not much I can do about that I’m afraid. Whatever time I do it, there will be some people who won’t be able to attend.
Also, this is just when I’m free!

I will be announcing this again on the podcast, but here it is – 3PM Paris time on Friday 7 June.

I’ll also create a YouTube link for the live stream which I’ll share on my website and on social media. That’s how you’ll access the live stream.

OK, cool!

Song Lyrics: Neil Young – I Am a Child

584. Posh or not posh? (Part 3) with Amber & Paul

Amber & Paul join me to talk again about poshness, posh accents and posh celebrities. This episode is full of different British accents – posh, RP and regional differences. It’s also full of comedy and I found myself laughing out loud while editing this, especially the interview with the football player that Paul tells us about. I hope you enjoy it.

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Are these celebrities posh or not? What are the features of posh accents, RP and regional accents in the UK?

Kate Beckinsale

Victoria Beckham

Sadiq Khan

Kenneth Branagh

Stephen K Amos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5F0Y7wvv9M

Elton John

Daniel Craig

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling

George Martin

Jacob Rees Mogg (again)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWFtVzlmBa8

Danny Dyer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWAa3_OyS48

Keep adding your videos of British celebrities in the comment section. Are they posh or not posh?