transcript: Episode 34

Language learning 2


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...... 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 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'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' 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'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'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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