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Mike If I said the word pandemic to you mate, what would you er what would come to mind?
Owain Hello, listeners, and welcome back to another episode of the English Waffle. My name is Owain and in each episode, Mike and I do a bit of waffling about a particular topic. This week we talk about, well, Mike's recent activity related to the pandemic, although I suspect he's going to surprise us. I don't know why. Carry on listening to find out. I'll be back at the end to remind you about the English Waffle projects and give you some news. And for those of you who are listening for the first time, I'll give you some information about how to get more out of the podcast by visiting our websites, englishwaffle.co.uk. In the meantime, let's get waffling.
Mike If I said the word 'pandemic' to you mate, what would you er what would come to mind?
Owain Pain in the arse,...
Mike Covid, no?
Owain Oh, sorry Covid. Yeah, Covid-19. Yep. Yep. Um, Yeah, uh, yes, real...
Mike But not necessarily the name of a board game.
Owain Haha, no. No, that would be kind of weird, wouldn't it, to sit there and play a game and have fun with a pandemic. Wouldn't it? That'd be weird?
Mike Yeah. And yet...and yet this is exactly what I did last Friday with some friends.
Owain Oh. Oh, right.
Mike We played, we played a game called Pandemic, which is a co-operative board game, in which you are trying, as a team, to eradicate four deadly diseases that are spreading around the world. (Owain: Ok.) So very, very. What's going on in the world? (Owain: Okay.) And basically the one of the best things about it is that you are working as a team. You're not in competition with each other. So most board games that we play traditionally are winner...You have a winner. You have a loser. You might work in teams to be the winning team. But there's basically a winner and a loser. And this game (Owain: Yeah), you know, this game is a cooperative game. So we're all working together to beat...to beat the game.
Owain To beat, to beat the virus.
Mike Exactly. Have you played that kind of a game before?
Owain No, I don't think, I don't think so. And I think everybody should be playing it right now because, you know, we all need to work together to get through this whole thing right now. So it's quite a nice...quite a nice little lesson, isn't it? (Owain: And how do you actually.../ Mike: Well, that's it.) How do you actually work together to beat the virus? Would you do?
Mike So, each player is given a role to play. Erm, there are...I think there are four in total. You can either be a doctor who flies around the world to cure people who have got any of these diseases. Or you can be a researcher. A researcher is somebody who's looking for the cure, actively looking a step. So it's a scientific role. (Owain: Ok). And then I think the third role is a dispatcher who can move the medic or the researcher. There's a fourth role, but...so the third role is a dispatcher. Some...Think of like somebody who perhaps works as a courier or...(Owain: Ok.../ Mike: Someone like that. He... / Owain: Yeah ok alright like...)
Owain Yeah. Like Hermes or some some sort company like that that carries parcels and things like that or...
Mike That's it. (Owain: Yep) That's it. So they are responsible for moving things around. And then the fourth role is a...a... Is...What's the fourth role? I've forgotten what the fourth role is.
Owain So, we've got, we've got, um, a doctor, we've got a researcher, we've got a courier or dispatcher.
Mike That's right. And then we've got a quarantine expert. Thank you for reminding me. And the quarantine expert is responsible for making sure people are staying safe and, er, putting measures into place to to make sure they stave place. Now, it's really good fun. This this game, because you do, you...it sounds a bit stressful, perhaps maybe in the current times. But it's it it makes you think before you speak. (Owain: Yeah.) And you collectively come up with solutions, which I think is great.
Owain It is, it is! And, and actually a great way to spend an evening, I mean, even though you're dealing with a potentially life-threatening scenario, quite a fun way to spend an evening with a group of friends and um, you know, did did you...? We there was some some nibbles and some some drinks and things like that? How...?
Mike That's it. That's it's. One of...one of the group made some snacks, some pastries. And we had a few few drinks around the table. It was really it was a really nice relaxing way to spend an evening.
Owain Yeah. Yeah ok. And is that something...? Did you, did you have the game already or did you come out here when the pandemic started? All right. Or you saw it in the shop and you thought, oh, look, pandemic,...(Mike: That...) I'll get...I'll have to get that.
Mike No, they had the game already (Owain: Right ok, ok) They had the game. Maybe waiting for this particular occasion.
Owain Yeah, to crack open their...their set of Pandemic. Uh, yeah, okay, nice.
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Mike Intro Hello and welcome to another episode of the English Waffle. My name is Mike
and in each episode, Owen and I do a bit of waffling about a particular chosen topic. In this
week, I bring on a guest to the podcast, Paulina. Paulina is from Poland and she has a
brilliant platform and a website called Polski Daily, which teaches students from all around
the world the Polish language. Now, why are we talking about Polish language? You might
be thinking on the English waffle.
Intro cont'd Well, since I am about to start learning Polish or taking Polish classes myself,
I discovered Paulina via YouTube and I am about to start one of her courses, so I thought
it would be a good chance to talk to her about what she is trying to do with Polski Daily.
And in our discussion, we first of all, we discovered that we're both learning a common
language, which is neither Polish or English. So that's quite early on in the conversation.
And then our conversation steers towards tips for language learning, bits of advice that we
both have for learners, and also what we're trying to do with the English waffle around
Intro final Listen right to the end where Paulina reveals why listening to native speakers
can be tricky just because of the amount of fillers that we use in the language, which don't
necessarily mean too much, but can throw you off guard in your listening. And I'll be back
at the end. But in the meantime, sit back, enjoy the conversation. Happy Waffling!
Jingle music 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 by 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 yourselves in for 10 whole earthling minutes of English listening.
Mike I've watched a couple of your your videos, the first one, I dived in straight in the deep
end, I suppose, but I listened to one about funny Polish words, and I really enjoyed that
Paulina / mike Do you remember any of them? (Mike - I can remember the English. I
remember it was one was, the paradise of the feet where royce sto, royce dor, I can't
remember the word itself, but the word for tights) Rajstopy , (Mike - which I thought was
really good) who comes up with such words like there must be some origin of such a word,
right? Like someone says, like, OK, it's like paradise and feet. Perfect.
Mike Absolutely. (laughs)
Mike So tell us why why you came up with with Polski Daily. So, so Polski daily is in my
words, it's a platform to learn Polish and er..
Paulina Exactly it's a platform with different kind of resources from podcasts and stories, I
try to combine things that I enjoy making and which I find useful for students because like,
first of all, like myself, I love learning languages and I learn different languages. So I kind
of have experience of a learner and I somehow use it, this intuition to make something that
I would like to have, especially because of Arabic. I think that Arabic is very important here
because there's I study Arabic, but not the standard classic Arabic, but Egyptian Arabic.
And there's so few resources. But I always imagined what I need, what I wish existed. And
then I created in Polish. Sometimes it already exists, but. Well, I make it my way. Yeah.
Mike So. So how long have you been studying Arabic for?
Paulina Too long (laughs) . Because like I don't speak it fluently. It's an extremely
complicated and demanding language and I would have to like I feel that if you want to
learn Arabic and speak it very well, it has to be your main hobby. It's like I also want to
learn other things in my life. So four years I would say..
Mike OK, so I'm sort of two or three years into my Arabic as well.
Paulina Yeah, really? But which one, Fusha? .
Mike Yeah, Fusha although I did spend time in living in Morocco and for three months and
living with a Moroccan family, but it's incredibly difficult Arabic because you have, you have
these different you have your standard Fusha and then and the different dialects and it's,
it's focussing I think having to focus on one in particular. (Paulina: Yes) . Makes it, makes
Paulina Yeah. It depends on your on your goal. Right. Like my husband is Egyptian and
my sole goal is to talk to his family. I don't need to read Qur'an and I don't need to read
news and so on.
Mike Mm hmm. And what for you has been the... so you said that you didn't really have
many resources that were useful to you in your Arabic. What was, what was the gap then
between that and real life, what was the like... Mm hmm. So I suppose maybe a good
place to start is what we're trying to do with the English waffle. It's to give listeners a better
idea of how language is actually spoken. ( Paulina Hmm). In the textbooks, it's very clear,
predictable and, um, stable in terms of the language. And there's a wonderful metaphor
from a linguist called Richard Cauldwell, and he talks about this idea of lang.. of words
being either in the greenhouse or in the garden or in the jungle. And he talks about words
being in the garden as being perfect ..in the greenhouse sorry, as being perfectly ordered.
And we speak each word is given its own space. So, for example, a common phrase might
be that you hear in London a lot unfortunately, there are lots of homeless people. So you
might hear. "Have you got any change"? Have you got any change? Now in the
greenhouse that would be said, have_ you_ got_ any_ change? Perfect, but nobody
speaks like that. In the garden, still, the words are kind of together and it looks very pretty
and you might get the odd drop dropping of a T. Have you go (t) any change? Have you go
(t) any change? But actually, the jungle is where it really this is where language happens.
So it comes out as.. ave you go (t) any change?, go (t) any change? And I suppose our
aim really in the English waffle is to show listeners just how messy and chaotic language
can be without making them feel aaagh, I am never going to get it. I'm never going to get
it. It's more just showing them that through, exposing them to how language actually works
is is a good step in raising awareness, i suppose. That's our aim, really.
Paulina I agree. I agree. Like, there are so many students who.. I always remember the
story of my friend who was very good in English, and she was like the best in the class.
And then she went for holidays to the UK to spend with her brother who lived there. And
she said she didn't understand a word and she was so upset and so demotivated. And so,
like, I got all the best grades, but it's all the exposure. Thankfully, we live in such times
when you can connect with other people online and you can have language partners. You
can listen to Podcasts there's so many wonderful ways to do to learn what you just said.
This kind of jungle way of learning. And yeah, like I believe that's why podcasts are my
favourite source of learning. I, like,maybe my speaking won't improve that fast with
listening to podcast, but at least you're able to.. to get used to the real sound, just like in
the books, like like for beginners, I understand I also try to slow down in my podcast or my
recordings because, like, we don't want to scare anyone, right? You don't want to make
people like, that's so.. It's impossible. But with time, it's like the level has to grow.
Mike Yeah, I think there's a... right at the beginning, we have to have the raft, something to
cling on to, some confidence building to give us hope.
Paulina Yes, yes. That's why I always advice a lot of my students to know that it's a very
common, very popular way of learning..who.. like students learn or learners read online
that you have to start speaking from lesson one. And a lot of people believe and it works
for some easier languages. I don't know if it works with English because I didn't learn this
way. But with Polish, it's it can be discouraging, to be honest, because you you can learn
some basic words from your girlfriend or from your partner or from whoever, but then you
will somehow get the mistakes as well. And you will you will only copy what they said and
you will be not able to to have a fluent conversation. At least that's that's what I get from
the students who tried this method. And then they get corrected because Polish people are
also not used to foreigners speaking Polish. So they keep correcting or they keep
switching to English, which is extremely frustrating. They are not very actually learning
friendly people. So it can be it can be tough this way.
Mike I mean, I think. There are a number of things that a key critical for success, for
language learning, but I think one of them is being persistent to tell people, I'm learning,
can you speak slower or can you speak can we speak in the target language? Can we
speak in Polish? Can we speak in English? I think for me, that's that's a critical one. What
tips have you have you come up with since doing Polski daily. What what tips for the
language learner would you say..kind of ?
Paulina As you said, like, the persistence for me is actually the key, and I love that there's
a book called The Power of Habit, I read it like two years ago or something. And it was
like, wow, that's exactly what happened. Even if your memory doesn't work, the habit of,
like, repeating and doing things regularly will bring it to your goal. And I notice from all my
experience as a teacher as well, that a lot of people have this kind of huge goal and like,
OK, so tell me when I'll be fluent (Mike ; Yeah) . And its like depends on you, right. Don't,
don't think about being fluent. Think of being on A2 or next goal. And like your first
conversation, your first Podcast that you completely understand, then give yourself the
small goals and just milestones, not the full fluency dream. It's too much.
Mike I totally agree. I totally agree. Just realistic goals, which you can measurably achieve
is a really good place to start and do it every day.
Paulina You have to do something every day, even if you're like very tired. Do at least
your Duolingo, which is like a game. And like you can you can enjoy it more. You can
make some silly sentences like why did my grandma eat my dog or something. And so
sometimes it's so hilarious.
Yeah. And I also believe in something that not everyone does. A lot of people find it's it's
boring, but I believe in writing because not always you have a chance to speak to people.
But, you can always like listen and read a lot. And usually people are much stronger in
reading and listening than speaking and writing then.. Writing can give you a little bit more
time to think about your grammar, your vocabulary when you create something in the new
language while where you're speaking, you have to be very fast. And and then if you feel
like at least I feel that after the conversation I have, like, wow, I knew this word like, why
did I make the stupid grammar mistake? Well, in writing you can correct it and you can
Mike And I think for me, writing is a good way of .. giving life to like a list of a verb list, like,
for example, on your own Polski daily, you've very helpfully put some of the key modal
verbs that we that you use in Polish so Mojec to be able to is it?
Paulina Móc is the infinitive but Moge, Mosze, hm hm.
Mike And then the verb to be and and this kind of thing for me, just writing down some
sentences which relate to my life is superimportant. So, you know, Jestem mezczyzna
(polish word), jestem Angielsku (polish word), whatever it is, that relate to me that's I found
Paulina Exactly like, own it! This is your new language, use it, make it a .. this is like your
new tool and something to talk about your own life, not the characters of the book, (it's not
Mike Yeah, absolutely. Just allowing things to happen. Exactly. And what's what's
surprised you most along the way? It's been three years, I think four years that you've
been doing the project.
Paulina Erm, a little bit more than three. Yes. So could you repeat your question? I'm
sorry, I didn't. (mike : sure. )
Mike What's erm.. Since starting with the idea of Polski daily, what's been surprising for
you along the way? What have you learned most that perhaps you didn't think would be
the case? For me, for example, it's just how many, how many mistakes native English
speakers make. You know, it's like we have this idea that people have put their English
speakers are perfect. I'm not when I speak English, I make mistakes or I change direction
a lot of the time, I start saying one thing and then I move. And it can be really confusing for
listeners because listeners, because we don't speak like radio performers all the time, we
don't have a script. (Paulina ; Mm hmm). And that, for me, has been probably my
biggest...thing that I've learnt since doing the podcast is that language is quite messy and
kind of takes you in different directions sometimes.
Paulina Hmm, that's true. I noticed that like a few months ago, I started doing this small
project within Polski daily, it's called real talks with Poles. And I just interviews, I interview
Polish people like about like very basic topics. (did you listen?)
Mike You've inspired me to do the same!! You've totally inspired me, so thank you
Paulina So, yeah, yeah. When I write the transcript of the of the talk, I'm like, we use so
many fillers. If I really I could strip this dialogue of half of the content and it would have the
same meaning. A lot of people use this kind of , JEDNAK (polish word), TAK ZNAM (polish
word), N (?) And these words don't mean anything! It's like it's like our language is faster
than our brain and and we have to speak not to make this weird sounds like erm, urm,
they're useful to learn because then you sound more fluent even if you don't know so
many words. If you use these kind of fillers, you will like cheat a little bit. (mike : Absolutely.
Absolutely) . END OF CHAT