What did you understand?
Do some quizzes. Listen again to answer the questions.
Mike: hello Owain, Happy New Year!
Owain: How you doing mike?
Mike; Im good thanks. First proper week back, not day, proper week back.
Owain: I was gonna say, it’s Friday!
Mike: And I feel great… I’m living my new years resolutions!
Owain: Wearing underwear, was that one of them? Clean underwear?!
Mike: Wearing clean underwear was not one of them – wearing pink underwear was my 4th resolution, but we won’t get into that
Owain: Doesn’t make it onto the progamme?
Mike : doesn’t make it onto the list!
Owain: Perhaps we should start by explaining for those who don't know what a resolution is
Mike: Oh yeah good idea. So a resolution is a promise, really, that you make yourself to do something, a commitment you make to yourself to get something done. Yeah?
Owain: Yeah. Based on any kind of improvement you want to make in your life, right?
Mike: Exactly. What are your resolutions Owain for this year?
Owain; Ok, well, I'd say the first one is probably to start smoking
Mike: To start smoking or to stop smoking? (laughter)
Owain: Yeah I've never smoked and it's something everyone should try at some point in their life! (laughter)
Mike: Well as an ex smoker I'm not sure I agree with that…
Owain: No I'm only joking
Mike: I thought you might have been.
Owain: Because most people say, I’ll go to the gym, get fit, stop drinking alcohol stop eating chocolate, the usual rubbish. Actually one of my students said today ‘ to go on holiday somewhere warm’ and I said that's not a resolution, it has to be something you do as a habit on an ongoing basis and I think we came to the conclusion both of us that that's what we do all the time anyway we’re constantly striving to improve ourselves, so New years resolutions are kind of redundant for both of us
Mike: Ok, well I disgree. I’ve got 3 resolutions… do you mean, for both of you, you’re talking about your student and you?
Owain: Yeah, exactly. Alright what about you? You got 3 clearly defined resolutions?
Mike: I do. Do you wanna hear them?
Owain: Go on then! Yeah!
Mike: So in no particular order my resolutions are.. to go swimming, to talk to strangers more, to be less hard on myself
Owain: Yeah well knowing you Mike, ultra demanding that you are that makes sense!
Mike: You know.. and I've got to say mate after a week of living these resolutions life's good!
Owain: Ok, so what strangers have you spoken to this week?
Mike: Well, I actually killed two birds with one stone because I went swimming and I struck up a conversation with the receptionist at the pool and we were just, you know, she asked me about how my christmas was, and I asked her back, and we then got into a conversation about swimming goggles or something ,and she then just waved me through… she just said ‘it’s free for you’… and so I thought, this is good just talking to strangers, you get free swims!
Owain: Free swimming, who would have thought it?!
Mike: I’ve had 2 other conversations with strangers and both have left me feeling really happy…
Owain: Brilliant. It’s something I tend not do that actively. If it happens, it happens. But I don’t look to speak to random people. I think it's a good one, I like that one. More people should do that
Mike: Yeah, I think so, it builds community, and makes people happier, it's so easy to do, bring a smile on people's faces to have a chat with them
Mike: What about you. What’s your other resolution? You’re not going to have any?
Owain: Well, I suppose I do have a resolution, in a sense, but I kind of started it before this year, so it’s not really a new years resolution. But im learning chinese!
Mike: Ah! And why might you be learning chinese, Owain?
Owain: Because im thinking of moving to China… don’t give me that look… most people look at me like that as well. What?? China?! Did you say China?!
Mike: Hey, that’s a different conversation for another episode. Why the fuck are you going to China?!
Owain: But in terms of learning a language, I think it's just a really useful thing to have the experience of learning a language from scratch because, to help someone else do the same thing is not 100% necessary, but I think it’s really useful.
Mike: You realise just how difficult it is?
Owain: Yeah. And do you know one of the things that i do?
Mike: What’s one of the things that you do?
Owain: And I’ve been doing this for a few months now. . I listen to a podcast!
Mike: Kind of like the English waffle, but in chinese?
Owain: Yeah. Except it’s not designed for Chinese language learners. It’s a guy who talks about techy stuff in the US; he’s chinese but he’s moved to the US…. He’s like a developer or something like that and he talks about all different topics for example something like ultralearning, a podcast I've been listening to most likely, a guy called Scott Young and he’s talking about his book and his philosophy of ultralearning and I don't understand a single word he says..
Mike: Wow! And what’s your take out from this? Does it not damage your confidence levels?
Owain: No, not really. B’cos I’m not expecting to. That would be insane, b’cos I don’t know any chinese . Well, when I say I don’t know, im just starting. So, all I can do is identify words I recognise, words I know them b’cos ive studied them. For me, it’s just literally sitting there listening, that’s my job try and identify anything I’ve heard before.
Mike: Kind of like, someone who’s never listened to, let’s say classical music before and just wants to sit down, and try and adapt their ear to the classical music, and maybe pick out…. Like a clarinet, or a trombone…
Owain: Yes, Exactly! That’s exactly what it’s about. It’s about exploring, it’s about trying to appreciate sounds, noticing repeated sounds, and rhythms as well. How the language is divided into different sections, and any sounds you hear repeatedly, and often those are the ones you’ve learned in basic chinese..
Owain: (says something in chinese)
Mike: Are you ok?! (laughter)
Owain: Yeah, so it’s just getting familiar to the sounds, the flow, the rhythm of the language. Which is kind of what you could do with the English waffle, right?
Mike: Right, yeah. If I was a listener to the English waffle, trying to improve my English, that’s kind of how I would use it.. depending on the level I had, you could certainly use it to adapt to the rhythms that we speak in natural English
Owain: Right, and that’s kind of what the 2nd half of this episode is about, idea is to have a bit of a chat about….well.. aimed at someone perhaps who’s just decided as a new years resolution, ‘Im gonna improve my listening skills in english this year’; maybe you’ve been recommended this podcast or you’ve just stumbled across it online and you think, how can I use the English waffle?
So, our idea now is to… just give you a bit of advice, really, if you’re out there wondering, this is two guys talking, what do I do with this?
… do you want me to go first, Mike?
Mike: Right, let’s just shoot the breeze!
Owain: So, … I’ve got about 3 things, that as it stands at the moment you could do with the website. First of all, it’s just to develop the habit of listening regulaly . We try to get an episode out once a week… something new once a week. Just listen! Get the gist of what’s been said if you can… if not just like me with my chinese podcast, just listen to it, get exposure to the sounds. Even if you’re quite a low level, it doesn’t matter too much, so long as you’re not expecting to understand..
2nd thing, perhaps, if you have more time, go look at the transcripts, b’cos we get a transcript ready… it’s really there to help you check what you’ve been listening to… if you go back afer you’ve listened to an episode or you’re in the middle of an episode and you hear something, and you think oh, don’t really know what that is, go and look at the transcript and maybe that will clear that up for you. Pause it, go and have a look, listen back again and you think, ah, now I get it.. it’s clear in the transcript. And then even once you’ve listened to an episode, go back and listen to it again, all the way through, with the transcript.. I think this is a really simple, pretty effortless way of working with it.
And then, perhaps the 3rd thing to do after that, is to look at the explanations of the vocabulary that we post online in the Lang analysis section. At the moment, that’s all there is, keep it simple!
Mike: All of what you’ve said is great and I’d echo that. The only thing I might add would be to say… why might this be more useful than say listening to any other audio on the internet with English speakers, or indeed English text books, is that a lot of the material that you get in schools when you’re learning English is going to be scripted , so you’re going to get a conversation that is not very real, it’s going to be slow, but it’s not going to be how real conversations play out in real life. So when Owain and I are talking ,we’e going to have interruptions, we’re going to talk over one another a lot.. there’ll be times when you won’t understand what’s being said, but that’s a good thing, don’t worry about it!
Owain: Exactly. I think that’s the key word, unscripted conversation. It’s pretty much what people struggle with, if you’re watching the news or something it’s a lot easier..
Mike: So, just another thing to say, would be to say in the future we’re thinking of adding some exercises to the website, where you can practice some language exercises, and we also have a blog where you can read about other things related to English, in English, so you can practise your reading skills in English..
Owain: Yeah, I recommend checking that out. There’s a new article coming out..?
Mike: Yeah, there;s an article coming out this Saturday, yeah tomorrow.
Owain: Look forward to it. What’s it about, Mike?
Mike: Er, that would be a spoiler.. .the listners will have to go.. including you Owain!
Here are some of the bits of Language that we at English Waffle think you may find interesting...
Kill two birds with one stone (idiom) :
to achieve two aims at the same time with one action.
E.g. When I go to Madrid to see my friend, I’ll also check in on my colleages at the European office of my company. That way, I’ll kill two birds with one stone.
Who would have thought it?! (expression):
Owain here uses this to show his surprise Mike got a free swim just by talking to the receptionist.
Learn a language from scratch (expression):
to learn something from scratch is to learn from the beginning, with no previous experience.
Let’s shoot the breeze! (informal exrpession):
Mike here uses this phrase to mean ; Let’s chat about something in an informal way
From the verb to spoil (to ruin), this is used when you are revealing the ending of a book, joke, or film for example. “Spoiler alert - if you haven't seen Sunday's episode, stop reading now!