Intro [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The English Waffle, a podcast aimed at advance English language learners who want to improve their listening skills by listening to real conversations. My name's Owain and in each episode, Mike and I do a bit of waffling about a particular topic. We talk, in this episode, about being under lockdown. Mike and I share our experiences during this strange situation. Listeners find out what we've been doing and what Mike's going to do when lockdown is lifted. The conversation was actually recorded a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, things have changed a bit in different countries around the world since then, although here in the UK we're just taking our first tentative steps to...towards getting back to normal. Towards the end, Mike does some shout-outs to some English Waffle listeners, he's been speaking to, and I'm going to say thanks to one or two of you after the conversation. So I hope you enjoy it. Let's get waffling.
[00:00:56] Waffle Theme Tune
Owain [00:01:24] Hi Mike. How you doing?
Mike [00:01:26] Good. Thanks. Yeah, good.
Owain [00:01:28] How's...how's life on the lockdown treating you?
Mike [00:01:34] Not bad. Not bad. That's...That's like the weirdest answer ever. [It's just...] It makes it sound like it's like a normal, like, every day, hehehe, every day of the week, this is what happens. Not bad. Yeah, how's your week been. Not bad. Erm, but I've I've been reflecting on that day, actually, and I've been thinking how, erm, in so many ways, this has been a really, like, good time for me because I've had to...I've sort of been made to slow down a lot, and that's been really good. And I think that....Yeah it's difficult because it's you know, it's obviously really sort of really hard for a lot of people.
Owain [00:02:17] Yeah.
Mike [00:02:17] But it's, erm, it's, you know, you can't you can't deny your own reality. And I think this is just where it's being honest with yourself and, for me, it's being a very valuable time to connect with friends and family on a sort of deeper level.
Owain [00:02:33] Right. Um, what's what's a typical day un...under lockdown for you?
Mike [00:02:38] For me, work has been largely unaffected. It's it's still, erm, I I'm a teacher, so I teach English and French and Spanish. And it's all moved online. So I have group classes and individual classes that I do through Skype and Zoom. And that's kind of been pretty much the same as, er, as it was before. It's just moved online.
Owain [00:03:07] Yeah. Yeah. So [it's been a] smooth transition for you. You're not, I mean, how how much of your time did you spend travelling around London then?
Mike [00:03:16] Yeah, quite a bit. It actually made me realise that I saw, saw quite a...quite a few trains every day. I don't miss that. I don't miss travelling in. No, for sure, erm, just being able to...to take an hour for lunch. So go round the park and have a good lunch break. That's been that's been an added bonus, I'd say. And just in keeping with the whole thing of just slowing down and not rushing around from, er, from activity to activity, which is what we tend to do in London.
Owain [00:03:49] Sure and i...it's quite funny you say that about, um, having your lunch break outside and stuff. And, um, the first thing I was thinking: I hope you didn't sit down anywhere to relax. I hope you kept moving the whole time because of course, for people who don't know, here in the UK we are allowed to go out of the flat for a few different reasons. One of them is to get a bit of exercise, but you can't go sit in the park and have a sandwich.
Mike [00:04:15] That's right.
Owain [00:04:16] Certainly not in London.
Mike [00:04:17] No, that's right.
Owain [00:04:18] You haven't been doing that, have you Mike?
Mike [00:04:19] I haven't been doing that. No, no, no...
Owain [00:04:23] [You don't have a] confession to make here on on...
Mike [00:04:26] On the English waffle. No, I am...I am resp...I'm totally in this together with everybody else and, er, I respect the...the guidelines that are given to us by the government. And I think the government's doing a pretty good thing, to be honest.
Owain [00:04:43] Yeah. Yeah, 'cause, 'cause it is true that I mean, we we...I w...we talked about Spain before. And, you know, I've got some good friends in Spain, and, um, it's just mind boggling the fact that their children have been, um, in some cases in a in a in a flat of 40 square meters for about six weeks without going outside, haven't had any daylight, they have been able to run more than the length of their...the longest corridor in their flat. Uh, and you just think to yourself my goodness me. It just must be the...It's qu...It's quite funny because we've got some friends [...] apparently the lock...that was that was changed today. So now children are allowed to leave their flat, as of today, to get a bit of exercise. Um...
Mike [00:05:28] Yep.
Owain [00:05:28] We...we called some of our friends today, um, actually, Lorenzo, who's been on the podcast. And we said, so how how how was going out of the flat? Were the, were the kids really exciting? And they said: oh no, we haven't been out today.
Mike [00:05:43] How come? They just, no, gonna wait for another day.
Owain [00:05:48] Yeah, we'll just see happens.
Mike [00:05:48] What's one more day?
Owain [00:05:49] Well, exactly. Yeah, I mean, it's been six weeks. So doesn't make that much difference, does it? But it is quite tricky for me because I have to be quite careful with my friends and also with some of my students who are in Spain an...and not talk too much about my my experience here where I'm living because it's actually completely different I think.
Mike [00:06:10] Yes.
Owain [00:06:11] And, you know, I have...I have the luxury of having a really nice garden I can go and sit out in in the sun.
Mike [00:06:18] Yeah.
Owain [00:06:20] And uh...
Mike [00:06:20] Yeah.
Owain [00:06:20] You know, we had lunch out there today. And, um, you just think...I mean, you w...because actually for you, it's not so easy either 'cause you're in you're in a flat in the middle of the city. You don't really, you don't have an outdoor space, do you?
Mike [00:06:31] It's not, but...but I think, as you touched upon then, we are, er, the way that England is dealing with it as a whole is vastly different from some of the countries where we...where we'll have listeners. So I I know that we are in very different positions to...to a lot of people. But that said, I'm sure loads of...People I've talked to on the language app Tandem and, erm - a shout out to to specifically to Olivia, if she's listening, Olivia and Jaoquin and, er, a couple of others who've who've been really supportive of of the podcasts so far. Erm, you know, they've all said that their lives have been changed in, er, some ways for the better because they've been able to get on with projects and, you know, devote more time to English studying...
Owain [00:07:25] Yeah.
Mike [00:07:25] ...learning English and to, you know, let's...basically doing things inside, but creative things and positive things, which which is great. Owain, what what about you? What have you been, er, doing that's been sort of different from your normal, everyday existence?
Owain [00:07:46] I haven't had as much time as I thought I would do to do other stuff. I s..sort of at the beginning of this whole thing, I envisag...envisaged [sitting down every day]...
Mike [00:07:55] That novel...that novel was going to come out.
Owain [00:07:57] [that novel], you know, a blog post a day, you know, practising my scales on on on my instruments, and...
Mike [00:08:03] Yeah.
Owain [00:08:04] I've hardl...I've hardly done any of that. And you know...
Mike [00:08:06] Yeah.
Owain [00:08:07] ...just between working....'cause I'm still working quite a lot. I've still got quite a few classes and, you know, um, trying to develop my own online business at the same time, er, which is...it's quite a time for actually, um, also getting to grips with working with my college students, 'cause I'm still...I'm still...er, I don...I don't actually have any live classes at the moment, but I'm working on trying to set up kind of tutorial sessions where I can get a group of students together...online.
Mike [00:08:31] Okay.
Owain [00:08:33] But because of the age of my students, there're kind of safeguarding issues that that I have to be careful about but, um, yeah, no, it's it's it's it's great, and and, I mean, a lot of people are talking about how, oh, this is going to change the way we work forever. I don't know about you, but I kind of feel that that they're over exaggerating a little bit, but, you know, a lot of people're just gonna survive this time, do whatever they have to do and then get back to normal and nothing much is going to change. I mean, what about [indistinct], is this going to change your mindset forever, Mike?
Mike [00:09:06] Lot of unknowns, aren't there. I mean, it's it's, it's change...it'll change the way that I approach a day, I think, and try to kind of take take into my life the lessons I've learned about myself in the lockdown, which've really just been doing less, but better...but but more. Do you know what I mean? So, I'm definitely guilty of charging around and filling my day and weeks up, as a Londoner. And now that this con..confinement has come along, you you start to revalue what what you want to do. And, you know...
Owain [00:09:48] Yeah. Well, this is goo...This is a good way to kind of bring it to an end. So, obviously, one of the big questions - there are lots of things we can't do right now - and one of the big questions that's going around is what is the first thing you're going to do as soon as this whole thing comes to an end?
Mike [00:10:03] Get a haircut, probably.
Owain [00:10:06] Yeah, you need, actually, yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
Mike [00:10:08] Yeah, I'm getting quite a lot of, yeah, I would call it abuse, but that that's too strong. I'm getting a lot of, er, a lot of, er, teasing from my friends, er, about the state of my hair. So I think probably probably a visit to the barber's, visit to the hairdresser's, yeah.
Owain [00:10:24] Just for benefit of the list...any listeners out there who are trying to imagine what Mike looks like right now. He just looks like a hedgehog or something. Not really sure if that's the...[does it justice].
Mike [00:10:32] Thanks mate. I can always count on you for...for compliments, from from my mate.
Owain [00:10:38] A very nice looking hedgehog.
Mike [00:10:40] Oh, thanks. Yeah. I mean, that's a good point to end on it it it... Also, something we are thinking about, though, is putting this...maybe putting it on YouTube. Owain, maybe you don't know this, but I've I've been thinking about it.
Owain [00:10:55] What?! Well, I'm a little shy Mike, so, you know, I'm not...
Mike [00:11:00] Well, this is it. It's the best way to combat shyness: get yourself on the Internet.
Owain [00:11:05] Yeah.
Mike [00:11:06] But, you know, clearly we'd we'd like to, erm, to spread the word and get some more visibility for...for The Waffle. And we've had some really lovely feedback from listeners. So that's just something that we're thinking about doing. But please subscribe, if you like listening to the Waffle and tell your mates. Tell your friends. It really helps us. And the more listeners we get. Quite simply, the more motivation it gives us to do it, so.
Owain [00:11:35] Abso...absolutely! Okay, Mike, well, I think that's all we've got time for today. So, um, see you next time.
Mike [00:11:41] See you next time, Oast. Cheers! See you later.
Owain [00:11:44] Cheers. Bye.
Intro [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the English Waffle, a podcast aimed at advanced English language learners who want to improve their listening skills by listening to real conversations. My name's Owain and in each episode Mike and I do a bit of waffling about a particular topic. In this episode, Mike and I share our language learning experiences. Listen to find out which languages we speak, which languages we're trying to learn, and how we do our learning. To prepare you to listen and help you check your understanding at the end, think about these questions. What languages does Mike speak? Why does Mike mentioned a tape player and Silvio Rodríguez. Do I use music to learn languages? How has Mike used Desta's course, which is mentioned in Episode 27? I'll give you the answers at the end. I hope you enjoy it. Let's get waffling.
Music [00:00:58] Welcome to the English waffle, where we talk about random stuff. We'll take you on a journey where you'll find out soon enough why listening to the Waffle is an entertaining way of sharing with you foreigners the things that British people say. So join us on the waffle and strap yourself in for ten whole earthly minutes of English listening.
Mike [00:01:27] ...the curiosity of of of how, you know, how language works in different different aspects.
Owain [00:01:34] Well, a-a-actually, and I me...I wanted to ask you about the whole language music thing. I mean, obviously, you've done a podcast with Desda...Desta, sorry. And, um, she...well, I was just curious about h...... I...you know obviously I've got my own perspective, but... Have you spent a lot of time listening to music to to to learn...? Well, first of all, which, which languages do you...do you speak...Mike?
Mike [00:01:57] I speak French and Spanish as well as English.
Owain [00:02:02] Right.
Mike [00:02:03] Er, and I speak them fairly fluently. I've got sort of C1 level in both languages, erm, and I think it's it's sort of been a bit of an add on to those languages that music has come into, into my appreciation.
Owain [00:02:24] Right. Right.
Mike [00:02:24] So i-i-it wasn't there from the beginning...
Owain [00:02:28] Yeah.
Mike [00:02:29] ...if I'm honest, erm, you know, it wasn't it wasn't like like I've gone out and learnt those languages through pr...exposure to music.
Owain [00:02:38] Yeah.
Mike [00:02:39] So it's come it's come later.
Owain [00:02:40] Yeah.
Mike [00:02:41] But, um, I would say that I had an experience when I was at school as a 16 year old learning Spanish and...where my Spanish teacher came in one day within, erm, a Silvio Rodriguez song, which she played on er, on, you know, time it was like a CD, you know, a CD player.
Owain [00:03:02] Oh, okay. Okay.
Mike [00:03:03] ...or tape player. Maybe it was a tape player, I mean, I'm quite old.
Owain [00:03:10] Showing your age.
Mike [00:03:10] I'm quite old and maybe she's just press play on like a ghetto blaster...[imitates noise sound], and um, anyway, she she played the record...the record [a] couple of times and we were so...I think all of us were so taken that this was not going to be a grammar lesson. It wasn't going to be a lesson about, you know, the stuff that we're typically covering. And then. And then. And then she she she got into the language from there and it was it was really memorable for me. It's left a mark.
Owain [00:03:37] Right.
Mike [00:03:38] It's left a memory with such [a] strong memory.
Owain [00:03:40] Where...was this...wh...Did we have the did we have the same Spanish teacher at this time? Are you talking about a Spanish teacher I had as well.
Mike [00:03:47] Hang on, yeah, 'cause we did...oh, hang on.
Owain [00:03:48] I thought this, this sounds kind of familiar.
Mike [00:03:52] This is my life, this [is] my life...oh, it's your life too. Oh shit, yeah, 'cause we went to school together.
Owain [00:03:58] An we studied Spanish together.
Mike [00:03:59] I totally forgotten...and we studied Spanish together. So, I'm not lying.
Owain [00:04:04] I can corroborate. Yeah, this...this happened.
Mike [00:04:06] Yeah. Yeah. This happened.
Owain [00:04:07] Well I don't know, 'cause I don't remember...that day.
Mike [00:04:09] Remember our name?
Owain [00:04:11] I mean, I remember Miss Elliman.
Mike [00:04:13] Yeah. It was... it was the other one. Yeah, it was Miss Phillips...
Owain [00:04:17] Miss Phillips, yeah.
Mike [00:04:17] ...who doesn't sound as though she was Spanish but she was Spanish. She had an English...she got her husband's name. And, er...
Owain [00:04:23] Yeah, yeah.
Mike [00:04:24] She she was a...she was a...she was a Spaniard, I think....I believe from Madrid. Yeah.
Owain [00:04:29] Yeah. Well, I mean, it's funny 'cause I don't remember really anything about tha at all. I do remember some of our lessons with Miss Elliman. I remember studding...studying, um, for our A-levels and doing Lorca's poetry and things like that, and actually struggling quite a lot with the all of it. But I don't remember listening to music that much. And it's it's funny for me. I was thinking about this the other day and to actually make music, the the central tool that I would use to to learn a language is is probably something...I've never done it and, you know, I've I've gone from studying Spanish at school to travelling abroad and learning a lot more Spanish and then moving abroad and just being immersed in in Spanish society. And I suppose for me, my experience is quite different in the sense it...music's been there, conversations have been there, TV's been there, there's been a whole range of things to work with and in in many ways not in an effortful way in that, you know, well...I mean, it's it's...not a not a structured learning way. So I haven't I haven't had to kind of set myself a target of learning a certain number of words each day. I haven't had to find spaces in my timetable to actually sit down and study.
Mike [00:05:47] It's come organically.
Owain [00:05:49] Yeah, it's been very...a very different experience. So that's perhaps why I don't think of music as...I mean, it, to...that being said, I'm I'm trying to learn Chinese at the moment and I haven't done anything to do with music yet at all. And there are two possible explanations. And one is that, well, I'm not interested in learning stuff through music. The other one could be that maybe there isn't any decent Chinese music. I don't know, I don't, hehehe, that's probably the wrong thing to say but...I haven't really heard of much Chinese music, certainly on the international scene? Maybe not Kore...
Mike [00:06:23] No. Me neither. Me neither. And I...I listen to a lot of world music. But it's...it doesn't seem as though it's given that much, like, that much visibility outside of of China.
Owain [00:06:36] No, no. [hasn't caught on].
Mike [00:06:38] Which is not to say that it doesn't...Which is not say it's not great, you know, and there's probably loads of it.
Owain [00:06:43] Right and they won't catch on in the future as people become more and more....[interested]
Mike [00:06:46] Yeah. It's not like K-pop or, you know, Japanese stuff, which is...
Owain [00:06:50] What's that other one...that? That the Korean group th...something B, the boy band - ABC? No.
Mike [00:06:57] That's all K-pop. Yeah, I think...
Owain [00:06:59] Is it K-pop?
Mike [00:06:59] I think it's K-pop. Yeah.
Owain [00:07:00] Okay.
Mike [00:07:01] Yeah.
Owain [00:07:01] And that's why...you're you're kind of down with the...
Mike [00:07:04] Not really. No.
Owain [00:07:05] [lingo]...with the kids on the street.
Mike [00:07:08] Yeah, that's it. Down with the guys in Seoul.
Owain [00:07:11] Okay, but, I mean, Mike, I think we should commit to maybe exploring a little bit more the whole music learning thing, um...Lyricstraining dot com is a real interesting website you can use to just...I've I've I've played with it a little bit and it it it's quite entertaining, quite fun, er, so I might explore that a bit more and, um, may...maybe you could get on, um, maybe could speak to to Desta an...and get a trial on her...on one of her courses. What do you think?
Mike [00:07:39] Yeah. I mean, I've done that with Arabic already.
Owain [00:07:42] Oh, okay.
Mike [00:07:42] So I've read her...I proofread her Arabic...well, not proofread because I don't speak Arabic that well, but I...I gave her some f..., I gave her some er...I mean, you know, I gave her some a..., some, some feedback and she...it's great what she's doing. I really like what's she's doing.
Owain [00:07:59] Right. Nice, okay. Good. Er, what did you...what did you like about it, just before, I mean, we got...we gotta finish in a minute. But yeah, just what, what did you what did you like about it.
Mike [00:08:08] Well, it's the the...I like the layout of what she's doing. So she's got her, she's got...she takes song and then she'll put the lyrics of the s...of the song and some vocabulary that pertain to those lyrics.
Owain [00:08:21] Right.
Mike [00:08:22] Erm, and it just makes you want to...kind of go and listen to the music really.
Owain [00:08:26] Yeah, yeah.
Mike [00:08:26] She...takes you...takes you there. It's like a cultural thing, it just takes you, you know. What what what is it about Arabic culture that I'm interested in? Music's got to be pretty high up there.
Owain [00:08:39] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, well we'd better leave it f... for today and um...but good speaking again Mike.
Mike [00:08:47] Always a pleasure.
Owain [00:08:50] Speaking to you next time then.
Mike [00:08:51] Speak to you next time. Cheers, mate.
Owain [00:08:53] Cheers. Bye.
Mike [00:08:54] Take care. Bye.
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