Tag Archives: words

494. Who Wants to be Good at English? (The Rematch) with Rick Thompson

Testing my Dad on his knowledge of English, using words that are frequently confused by native English speakers. Will my dad be able to identify the words, spell them and explain the differences? Listen to learn 20 words and phrases which native English speakers often get wrong. You will also hear Dad and me discussing topics such as catching a squirrel, what he would say to Donald Trump and Paul McCartney if he met them, stories of police drug busts at university, how my dad would deal with a zombie apocalypse, and which one is worse – Brexit or Yoko Ono’s ‘singing’? Vocabulary list with definitions and examples available.

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Introduction Transcript

About 18 months ago my Dad tested me with his evil gameshow, called “Who wants to be good at English”. I say it was an evil gameshow because I think it was designed for me to fail (although arguably, I didn’t fail, OK!?) It was basically a quiz he created in order to highlight some common mistakes that people make (especially journalists) with certain English words.

You can listen to that, and take the test as well, by finding episode 373 in the archive – or just click here teacherluke.co.uk/2016/08/10/373-who-wants-to-be-good-at-english/

So I thought we’d play another game of “Who Wants to be Good at English” but this time I’m asking the questions. My questions are based on an article I found on the Indy100 (an online magazine) written by Paul Anthony Jones  which is all about some of the most commonly confused words in English (for native English speakers). Apparently these are some of the words that many English native speakers confuse – meaning they use one word when they should be using another. I wonder if my Dad is able to tell the difference between all of these pairs of words. Let’s see if he really is that clever and articulate. I think he probably is, but let’s see.

As we are playing the game I invite you to join in. Can you guess which words we’re talking about here?

If you don’t know the words, listen carefully because we will define them and then also have a little chat using the words so you can hear them in context.

Also, you’ll hear us talking a little bit about the origin of some of these words, which is quite interesting because it shows how many English words come from latin and in some cases words from other origins like old English and even Turkish.

Check the page for the episode on the website too, where you will see all the words listed with definitions.

www.indy100.com/article/ten-of-the-most-commonly-confused-words-in-the-english-language–bJRDKGNwlZ


  • Dad, how are you?
  • Are you confident that you know English better than most other Brits?
  • Did you study latin at school?
  • Does a knowledge of latin help with English?
  • Do you think it will help you in this test?

10 rounds – 10 pairs of words which are commonly confused.

I will ask you questions – you have to tell me the word I am looking for. I will also ask you for the spelling and pronunciation.

ROUND 1

  1. If you’re waiting for something with great anticipation, literally to the point that you are having some trouble breathing – for example you’re desperately waiting for the next episode of Luke’s English Podcast – what expression would you use?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. If you go fishing, what do you need in order to catch a fish?
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. How are they pronounced?

Answers:

Bate (verb) = abate = become less strong, to suppress. Formal, old fashioned.
The storms had abated by the time they rounded Cape Horn. [VERB]
…a crime wave that shows no sign of abating. [VERB]
To wait with bated breath = to wait eagerly and impatiently

Bait = (noun) – food you put on the end of a fishing line or in a trap in order to catch something

Also – figuratively something which is used in order to catch someone. E.g. ‘clickbait’

(verb) – to put food on a line or in a trap

(verb) If you bait someone, you deliberately try to make them angry by teasing them.

He delighted in baiting his mother. [VERB noun]

Synonyms: tease, provoke, annoy, irritate

According to Oxford Dictionaries, around 1 in every 3 records of the phrase “bated breath” in the Oxford Corpus is spelled incorrectly, as “baited.”
Baited with an I is the same bait that you use when going fishing.
Bated without an I is totally unrelated, and comes from an ancient English word, bate, meaning “to beat down,” “restrain” or “suppress” – it’s the same word we use when we say that a storm has abated – which makes “bated breath” literally “held breath.” (Indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • Are you currently waiting for anything with bated breath?
  • What is the best way to catch a squirrel? How about a crab? What kind of bait should you use?

ROUND 2

  1. If you see someone that you don’t want to meet or talk to – perhaps a person who you don’t like, or imagine a drunk man in the street who might bother you or even attack you. You’d walk around him, putting space between you and him. What would you give him?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. What word is this often confused with? It’s something that generally happens at the beginning of someone’s life.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. How are they pronounced?

Answers:

Berth (noun) = (nautical term) originally means “sea room” – the room that a boat needs for mooring, but also generally room or space for ships. So, to give a wide berth in terms of shipping – you can imagine needing to go around a rocky point or perhaps another ship with lots of space, to avoid any possible collision.

Give something a wide berth = avoid it, go around it, put distance between you and it.

Birth / Give birth (to someone) = have a baby

Quick Discussion Questions

  • If you saw these people in the street, would you give them a wide berth or would you go up to them?
    • Donald Trump
    • Harvey Weinstein
    • Kim Jong Un
    • Madonna
    • Boris Johnson
    • Paul McCartney
  • Were you there when Mum gave birth to me? What was it like for you?

ROUND 3

  1. What word is a synonym of advice – for example legal advice? It can also be a verb, meaning to give advice. (also another noun – it can mean the lawyer too)
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. What about a group of people brought together to make decisions? E.g. a local administrative group who make decisions about how the local town should be run.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. How are they pronounced?

Answers:

counsel (noun) = advice
[formal]
He had always been able to count on her wise counsel.
The community requested his counsel on various matters.

counsel (noun – person) = a lawyer
The defence counsel warned that the judge should stop the trial.

counsel (verb) – to give advice

[formal]
If you counsel someone to take a course of action, or if you counsel a course of action, you advise that course of action. 
My advisers counselled me to do nothing. [VERB noun to-infinitive]
The prime minister was right to counsel caution about military intervention.

Council and counsel can both be used as nouns (in the sense of “an assembly of people” and “good advice or direction”) but only counsel with an SE can be used as a verb (“to give advice or direction”).

Both are derived ultimately from Latin, but while council comes from the Latin word calare, meaning “to call or proclaim officially” (which makes it an etymological cousin of calendar), counsel with an S comes from the same root as consult. So while a council is “called” together, you might “consult” someone for their good counsel. (Indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever needed to take legal counsel for anything work related?
  • Have you ever been asked to provide counsel on any local matters?
  • Is there a local council where you live?

ROUND 4

  1. As a teacher, sometimes it’s necessary to draw out certain language from my students. Often if I’m teaching some words, or doing an introduction, rather than just lecturing them about a subject, it’s a good idea to get them to give me certain words – it tends to keep the students involved and makes them a bit more productive, and it also allows you to see which words they know and don’t know. What verb means to get a piece of information, a word or a reaction from people by asking certain questions?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. What adjective is a synonym of ‘illegal’ and means ‘not allowed or approved by a rule’.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. How are they pronounced?

Answers:

Elicit (verb)
Illicit (adjective)

The E of elicit is the prefix ex–, which is here used to form a word bearing some sense of “out” or “from”, like exhale and exterior. The –licit in both words is also entirely unrelated: in illicit it comes from the Latin verb licere, meaning “to allow” (as in licence), whereas in elicit it derives from the Latin lacere, meaning “to lure” (which is also where the word delicious comes from). (indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • When you were growing up in the 60s, were you ever given information about illicit drugs? Did many people use illicit substances at that time?
  • The Shakespeare play “Macbeth” – what feelings do you think it elicits in its audience? What’s the main feeling that it elicits?
  • How about films. How do they elicit reactions from the audience? Think of a horror film for example.

ROUND 5

  1. What is the difference between the word ‘affect’ (with an ‘a’) and ‘effect’ (with an ‘e’)?
  2. How are they pronounced?

Answers:

Affect (verb)
Effect (noun)

The root of both is the Latin facere, meaning “to make”, but while the E of effect comes from the same prefix as elicit, ex–, the A of affect comes from the prefix ad–, which is used to form words bearing some sense of “towards”, “on” or “a coming together” like adjoin or ashore. To affect ultimately means to have an effect on something, while an effect is an outcome. (indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • How does wine affect you? Does it affect you in the same was as it affects other people?
  • What are the good and bad effects of wine?

ROUND 6

  1. How would you describe someone whose hair is going grey, making them look quite cool and perhaps even quite tough. It’s the sort of word you might use to describe a police detective or a cowboy who is getting older and has had some tough experiences, which you can see in his greying hair – but he’s not really old yet, just experienced.
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. What’s another word for a brown bear? They type of bear you might come across in Yellowstone National Park in the USA. They’re brown but they have some grey-ish hair around the shoulders, head and ears.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. What adjective would you use to describe the disgusting or explicit details of a murder. Something which is very unpleasant and that would be horrible to look at.
  6. How do you spell that?

Answers:

Grizzled (adj) = going grey (usually used in a literary context)
Grizzly (adj) = also going grey, like ‘grizzled’ but usually ‘grizzly’ is just the word for a type of brown bear
Grisly (adj) = extremely unpleasant and horrible

If something is horrible to look at then it’s grisly, not grizzly. Grizzly with two Zs is a descendent of the French word for “grey”, gris, and comes from the older use of grizzled to mean “grey-haired” (despite grizzly being another name for a brown bear, of course).
Grisly with an S is a descendent of grise, a Middle English word meaning “to shudder with fear”. (Indy100.com)

  • What kind of movie star would you rather watch in a film – a fresh faced young-looking hero or a grizzled hero? Can you think of any examples?
  • Have you ever seen a grizzly bear?
  • Do you think the news should report all the grisly details of a story?

ROUND 7

  1. Imagine there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse. It’s a terrifying thought. It would be a good idea to collect and store lots of food, drink and supplies. To stockpile things, and hide them so that nobody else can find and use them, but you’ll be able to keep them and survive. What verb am I thinking of?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. Now imagine loads of zombies in a huge group, or in fact many large groups of zombies surrounding your house or out in the street. What noun could you use to describe these groups of the undead. Of course this word could also be used to describe groups of ordinary people too, but it sounds a bit negative – frightening or unpleasant, perhaps.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. Pronunciation?

Answers:

To hoard something (verb) = If you hoard things such as food or money, you save or store them, often in secret, because they are valuable or important to you.
They’ve begun to hoard food and gasoline and save their money. [VERB noun]
The tea was sweetened with a hoarded tin of condensed milk. [VERB-ed]

A horde of something (noun) = a large group of people, usually considered quite threatening or scary.

This attracts hordes of tourists to Las Vegas. [+ of]
…a horde of people was screaming for tickets.

Around a quarter of all the citations of the word hoard (a noun meaning a store of valuables, or a verb meaning “to accumulate” or “stockpile”) in the Oxford English Corpus are incorrect, and should really be horde (a large group of people).
In English, hoard is the older of the two and derives from an Old English word for treasure – wordhoard was an Old English word for a person’s vocabulary. Horde is completely unrelated, and has an E on the end of it because it comes from an old Turkish word, ordu, for an encampment. (Indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • What would you do if you found out that there would be a zombie outbreak? What kinds of things would you hoard?
  • What would you do if your house was surrounded by a horde of zombies?

ROUND 8

  1. Imagine a road which is full of twists and turns. How would you describe it? How about a piece of writing or perhaps a process which is really complicated and time consuming. Which word would you use to describe those things?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. Which adjective could you use to describe something that causes great pain and suffering?
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. Pronunciation?

Answers:

Tortuous = twisting and turning (road), complex and time consuming (process, writing)
The only road access is a tortuous mountain route.
…these long and tortuous negotiations aimed at ending the conflict.
The parties must now go through the tortuous process of picking their candidates.
Torturous = like torture – very painful and agonising.
This is a torturous, agonizing way to kill someone.

Confusion often arises between these two not only because of their similar spellings, but because something that’s tortuous can often seem torturous.
Tortuous without the extra R means “full of twists and turns”, and is derived from a Latin word, tortus, for a twist, or a twisting, winding route. If something is torturous then it’s akin to torture, hence the extra R. (Indy100.com)

Quick Discussion Questions

  • Would you like to be involved in the Brexit negotiations? Why not?
  • You wrote a book once. How was that experience? Was it tortuous? (complicated) Was it torturous? (painful)
  • How would you describe Yoko Ono’s singing?
  • What about the experience of having your teeth pulled out, by Yoko Ono, while she’s singing? (Torturous, right?)


ROUND 9

  1. Imagine your wife is pregnant (I know!) and you go to a doctor for a scan. You and your wife are very worried about the health of the baby because a previous test suggested that there might be a problem. So, you’re both feeling very worried and nervous, and you really want the doctor to put your worries at rest, but the doctor seems completely insensitive to this and doesn’t even seem to realise that you’re worried. You think, is he being deliberately like this? This word means slow to understand something and also insensitive.
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. How would you describe something that was really complex to understand, abstract, deep, highly intellectual. E.g. a book about abstract existential philosophy, or the rules of cricket.
  4. How do you spell that?
  5. Pronunciation?

Answers:

Obtuse (adj) = mentally slow or emotionally insensitive
“How can you be so obtuse? Is it deliberate?”
Abstruse (adj) = hard to understand because of being extremely complex, intellectually demanding, highly abstract, etc.; deep; recondite
[formal disapproval…fruitless discussions about abstruse resolutions.

How can you be so obtuse? The Shawshank Redemption – Andy discovers evidence that proves he is innocent. The warden seems to choose not to realise how this could get Andy out of prison. Andy says “How can you be so obtuse? (slow to realise the significance of this) Is it deliberate?

No questions, your honour.


ROUND 10

  1. Imagine a long summer evening, long shadows, golden sunlight, a pleasant temperature. You can just relax in a chair and take your time, soaking up the pleasant rays of deep golden light. How would you describe that weather?
  2. How do you spell that?
  3. What about someone who’s a bit crazy and foolish?
  4. Spelling?
  5. Pronunciation?

Answers:

Balmy (adj) = Balmy weather is fairly warm and pleasant.
…a balmy summer evening.

Barmy (adj) = If you say that someone or something is barmy, you mean that they are slightly crazy or very foolish.
[British , informal , disapproval]
Bill used to say I was barmy, and that would really get to me.
This policy is absolutely barmy.
UNITED! BARMY ARMY! UNITED! BARMY ARMY! (football chant)

Is the weather balmy or barmy? It’s balmy with an L if you’re talking about something pleasantly warm—literally, something as pleasant as balm, in the sense of an aromatic, healing lotion or salve.
It’s barmy with an R when you’re talking about something (or someone) foolish or crazy—literally, someone as frothy and as flighty as barm, which is the froth that forms the head of a pint of beer. (Indy100.com)

  • How was the weather in the UK this summer? Did you have any balmy summer evenings?
  • At what time of the year is the weather at its balmiest? What do you like to do when the weather is balmy?
  • What do you think of Brexiteers? Are they a bit barmy or is there something else going on?

 

Thank you for listening!

Don’t forget to join the mailing list on the website to get an email with every new publication on the website.

Luke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

310. The Words of the Year (Part 1)

In this series of three new episodes Amber, Paul and I talk about a list of the 10 Words of the Year which have been added to the Collins English Dictionary. We’re going to explain the words and discuss the issues behind them and I’ll also explain and clarify a lot of the language you’re going to hear in our conversation.

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Links
Article in The Guardian about the 10 Words of the Year
Collins Dictionary Q&A about the Words of the Year

Transcript to the Introduction and some notes for language analysis
Hello everyone – welcome to another episode of LEP. I hope you’re doing well… etc.

This introduction is being recorded on 18 November, on a Wednesday, but the rest of this episode and the other 2 episodes in this series were recorded a couple of weeks ago.

This episode is all about the Collins Dictionary Words of the Year 2015.

What’s that?

let me break it down.

First of all, Collins are a publisher of dictionaries, and so it’s their job to monitor the usage of words in order to decide which words should be added to the dictionary every year. They do this by noticing new words and seeing how often they have been used in the last 12 months. They then pick some of the more commonly used new words and add them to the dictionary. These are their ‘words of the year’.

How do they monitor the words? They have a special database of word usage called a Corpus. This is a quote from the Collins website:

“This evidence is based on our 4.5-billion-word database of language called the Collins Corpus. The words in the Corpus are taken from a huge range of sources of spoken and written English, including newspapers, radio and other types of media, from all over the world.” Link here.

The ‘words of the year’ list is an interesting way to identify trends in language, but it’s also quite revealing about modern British life because these are the things we’ve been talking and reading about.

Some people complain that these words aren’t serious enough, and that adding them to the dictionary is an example of the decline of language in some way. I think it’s fine to add these words into the dictionary because they just reflect changes in culture and in the end with new words needed to explain new concepts. Also, we need a record of the words people are using – especially if you’re a learner of English. You want to be able to learn the real English that people actually use, don’t you? Then you’ll want the dictionary to include the words that people really use. It’s not Collins intention to decide if people should or shouldn’t use these words, rather to see which words are being used a lot just so that they can be added to the dictionary to reflect the language as a living thing.

As ever I’m curious to know what you think about these new words. What do you think of Collins’ list? How is the dictionary managed in your country?

In this episode, Amber, Paul and I are going to go through all the words in this list, explain what they mean and discuss the issues that relate to them. This episode is also going to be a kind of review of the trending issues of the year.

As usual our discussion is pretty fast and busy, which is normal when friends discuss things.

To help you to understand everything and to give you a chance to maximise your learning from this episode I’ve decided to break up the discussion into chunks.

What’s a chunk? It’s just a substantial piece, a part, a lump. Like, a chunk of meat, tear off a chunk of bread from a loaf, a chunk of rock, you can also talk about chunks of language – like fixed expressions or phrases. In this case, we’re talking about chunks of a conversation.

What I’m going to do is play you each chunk of the discussion and then explain some of the language you heard. That way you’ll understand and learn much more.

I really think this is the best way to do it because you’re getting the best of both worlds – you can listen to our natural and spontaneous conversation, and then I’ll break it down to help you understand everything and learn even more from our conversations.

This episode contains just one conversation chunk, and it’s just the pre-chat we had before we even talked about any of the words of the year! In fact, I started recording and said hello to Amber and Paul, asked them how they were, and we started chatting about different stuff like the weather and the November 5th and we talked before dealing with the words of the year. However, this pre-chat is so full of language content that it has taken up the whole of this first episode.

It’s a bit ridiculous – you won’t actually hear us discussing the words of the year in part one! So, before we listen to the pre-chat, let me just list the words of the year for you now, even though you won’t hear us discussing them until part 2 of this series. I like to make things complicated.

OK, so the Collins Words of the Year are (in reverse order – and all these words will be explained and discussed in this series of 3 episodes – you might not understand them now but you will by the end of the series I promise)

transgender, manspreading, contactless, swipe (left or right), ghosting, clean eating, Corbynomics, shaming, dadbod and binge-watch.

I will only say those words once. You will hear them again, and hear explanations, later in this series, but for now, let’s listen to the pre-chat I had with Amber and Paul

Pre-Chat
This includes stuff about climate change, November 5th, and some other things. So, let’s finally start listening to the conversation shall we? (I do go on a bit don’t I?)
Listen to the pre-chat

Language Analysis: Pre-Chat (The bits in brackets are notes for my comments)

Conspiracy theories (Paul talks about climate change as if it’s a conspiracy theory)
It’s a hot topic.
Is it a conspiracy theory? (upward intonation for surprise, doubt)
Some people say that climate change isn’t a thing.
some people deny climate change.
(climate change deniers / to deny climate change)
We are exacerbating the environmental trend.
We’ll be dead before anything bad happens.
We might not be (elision).
Would it be bad if we were still alive in 100 years? (pron – weak sounds)
There are already too many people (pron)
China – they’re getting rid of the one baby ban (a ban on having more than one baby)
Old people who are in retreat (he means in retirement)
China should open it’s arms to Syria (an interesting political idea – but I didn’t want to talk about it because it’s a sensitive topic and I didn’t want to go down a rabbit hole – get sidetracked).
It’s unusually warm, which is kind of nice in a way because we don’t have to wear big coats and everything. (pron, but also using a relative clause to refer to a while clause).
There was a plot to blow up the houses of Parliament.
1605 (how to say years – normally divide it in two, except: when it’s 05 06 etc, 1900 1800 etc, 2000-present = “two thousand and…”)
Passives – Guy Fawkes and his gang were caught in the act of trying to blow up Parliament. He was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.
And we’ve never forgot. (Nursery rhyme. “Forgot” isn’t it “forgotten”. Amber is referring to the old rhyme. Forgot here is poetic licence – it should be “forgotten” but that’s ok because of the poem and it’s old)
Words of Nathalie Portman there (Paul is referring to the film V for Vendetta which takes place in the future and has a character similar to Guy Fawkes. You hear the rhyme in the film. Obviously the quote is not from Nathalie Portman. In fact it’s an old rhyme from English folklore – we don’t know who wrote it)
www.potw.org/archive/potw405.html
Amber talked about the Lewes fireworks. www.lewesbonfirecelebrations.com
They make effigies and burn them. It’s very pagan.
Didn’t life change after that? (downward intonation – it’s a rhetorical negative question – it means – “life changed a lot after that, didn’t it”. “Didn’t she do well?” “Didn’t we have a good time?”)
(Obviously, 9/11 changed more than just the bottles of water not being allowed on planes and it was a very tragic event)
(Everyone laughed – not because 9/11 was funny, but because I was stuck in a serious topic suddenly and it was difficult for me to somehow get from this serious topic to the main topic – The Collins New Words of the Year.)
“How do I transition this to the actual theme of the podcast?”
“How do I get away from this potentially sensitive subject, which obviously is very serious, you know I don’t mean to make fun of THAT” (Features of spoken English – unfinished sentence, relative clauses, connected speech – all of it, and sentence stress)
2018 is when the next physical dictionary will be brought out. Some of these words may end up in that dictionary too. (phrasal verbs)
It depends if the words stand the test of time. (expression)
Article link: www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/05/binge-watch-2015-word-of-the-year-collins

End of the pre-chat.

End of Part 1: We haven’t even started talking about the words of the year yet!

Part 2 will be available soon.

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Words of the Year 1

154. British Slang (H to M)

The series about informal British expressions continues here. You can read a list of the words in this episode below. *Caution – there is some rude content in this episode.*

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Other Slang Episodes In This Series
British Slang (A-C)
British Slang (D-G)
British Slang (H-M)
British Slang (N-Z)

British Slang Expressions (H to M)

Please be aware that some of the words in this episode are quite rude. Also, I must apologise for the explosive sound of the microphone whenever I say the word “KIP” – this is because of the plosive sound of the ‘K’ in ‘kip’. I had the mic a bit too close to my mouth for that one. I do apologise.

Thanks also to www.effingpot.com for providing some of the words and definitions you can read below. The explanations I give in this episode are all my own.

Haggle – To haggle is to argue or negotiate over a price. Most people that wangle stuff are usually quite good at haggling. I just learnt that in the USA you dicker over a price, particularly for used cars!

Hard – After your 20 pints of lager, the curry or the doner, your average 20 year old feels hard. Since his male organ has no chance of working at this stage, hard clearly refers to something else – it means he is ready to fight anything or anybody or to take on any bet. This is the time to make fun of drunken lads by betting them they can’t jump off the end of the pier, hang on to the back of a bus etc.

Hiya – Short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.

Horses for courses – This is a common saying that means each to his own. What suits one person might be horrible for someone else. If my Dad was trying to understand why my brother had wanted to get his ear pierced he might say “Oh well, it’s horses for courses I suppose”!

Hump – If you have got the hump it means you are in a mood. If you are having a hump, it means you are having sex. Care is advised when you try using these words for the first time. It could be embarrassing!

Hunky-dory – My English dictionary tells me that hunky-dory means excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.

I’m easy – This expression means I don’t care or it’s all the same to me. Not to be confused with how easy it is to lure the person into bed!

Irony/sarcasm – The cornerstones of British humour. This is one of the biggest differences between the nations. The sense of humour simply doesn’t translate too well.

Jammy – If you are really lucky or flukey, you are also very jammy. It would be quite acceptable to call your friend a jammy b****rd if they won the lottery.

Kip – A short sleep, forty winks, or a snooze. You have a kip in front of the telly on a Sunday afternoon.

Knackered – The morning after twenty pints and the curry, you’d probably feel knackered. Another way to describe it is to say you feel shagged. Basically worn out, good for nothing, tired out, knackered.

Knees up – If you’re having a knees up, you’re going to a dance or party.

Knob – Yet another word for your willy.

Knockers – Another word for breasts.

Leg it – This is a way of saying run or run for it. Usually said by kids having just been caught doing something naughty. Well it was when I was a kid!

Left, right and centre – If you have been looking left, right and centre, it means you have been searching all over.

Love bite – You call them hickies – the things you do to yourself as a youngster with the vacuum cleaner attachment to make it look like someone fancies you!

Lurgy – If you have the lurgy it means you are ill, you have the Flu. Don’t go near people with the lurgy in case you get it!

Luvvly-jubbly – Clearly another way of saying lovely. Made famous by the TV show Only Fools and Horses.

Man

Mate – Most chaps like to go to the pub with their mates. Mate means friend or chum.

Mental

Morish – Also spelt “moreish”, this word is used to describe desserts in my house, when a single helping is simply not enough. You need more! It applies to anything – not just desserts.

Mug – If someone is a bit of a mug, it means they are gullible. Most used car salesmen rely on a mug to show up so they can sell something!

Are you mugging me off?

Here’s a nasty scene from the film “The Football Factory” (not a great film really) involving the expression ‘are you mugging me off?’. Watch out, it’s full of swearing.
[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPtqfAMyGq8&w=500&h=281%5D