AE 264: Interview – Laura interviews Aussie English
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
Today I have something a little special for you guys.
Not only is it an interview episode, but it’s an interview episode where for once, for the first time, I’m the one being interviewed as opposed to the one doing the interviewing.
So, today, I get interviewed by the lovely Laura from Multi-linguals of Melbourne, and she loves going around and talking to anyone and everyone who loves learning languages and lives in Melbourne, whether they’re Australian or from overseas.
She has an amazing blog where she pretty much just talks all about language learning and interviews heaps and heaps and heaps of people learning languages.
Anyway, we recently met at a Mundo Lingo language meet-up in the city where you can go and practice your foreign languages.
So, I went there to practice Portuguese and French, and just happened to meet Laura, we had a chat and she asked to interview me.
So, I thought that would be the perfect excuse to sit down and also record it as an interview episode for the podcast.
We talk about languages, language learning as well as how Aussie English started.
I think you’re going to love it.
I know we’ve already talked about all the stuff but just how did you start The Aussie English Podcast?
So I started because I was learning… I was learning French, and I just fell in love with doing that, and there was a podcast called Français Authentique by Johan who is a… obviously a French guy.
And he had this just amazing podcast that I started listening to addictively. And…
To help your French?
So he explains expressions and then breaks them down, word by word, talks about the expression and what it means aside from just the words in it and their little meanings.
And then would give these hypothetical situations where you could use that expression.
And I really loved that methodology because you walked away not only understanding what the expression meant and how to use it, but you’ve been given these contextual situations where you got to learn all that vocab around whatever the things were, and then also the individual words in the expression and he would explain like, “Oh, you know, even though it’s an expression with the word mouth in it it doesn’t literally have anything to do with mouths”, but the idea is this.
And so I don’t know it was just always really interesting to listen to.
And so after I started learning French and sort of got to basic fluency within six to eight months of working really hard on my… some of the French people that I had met and was practicing with were like, “Do you know of any resources like Français Authentique in English that you couldn’t recommend for us to improve our English, and specifically with regards to Australia?”, and I was like, I had a look, ’cause I didn’t think about making a podcast.
I was just like oh I’ll see if I can find something. For them to…
And there was just nothing out there.
Like, there were podcasts for English, but a lot of it was say IELTs based or… Like really proper, like formal…
You would have like a formal conversation or, you know, the set up would be very very bland, a bit boring at least from my point of view as a native speaker I’m sure a lot of them use them and love them but there was nothing that I found is compelling.
It’s like Français Authentique and the way that it was set up and and specifically… I love this so much. …focus on Australian English.
And so that was why… when I was like, “Well far out.
I can work out how to do a podcast. Like, you know, I just have to record myself talking. I can talk shit”.
I do that every day.
And then I just… I can’t remember.
I think the first few episodes were me just talking about Australian slang and people like Paul Hogan and Crocodile Dundee.
And ’cause all… everyone’s identifies Paul.
I mean exactly.
What’s his name?
Yeah yeah yeah the crocodile hunter.
And everyone like pull out what, like, the shrimp on the barbie.
Exactly and so yeah, the initial thing was funny because I was like, “Far out! How am I going to do a podcast all about just Australian slang terms?”, ’cause I looked up lists and there were only you know 50, 100 words that were the Aussie slang terms, and I thought, “Well it’s not going to be much but I’ll work with it.”, but then I realized pretty quickly that people just wanted to learn English in the context of Australia not just slang terms, obviously.
‘Cause people don’t… they might use them but not like… well my pronunciation, the expressions I use, do I use the same expressions or words that Americans and English people use?
And so let’s just endless with you just, you know, get on there, create content that’s just talking about anything and everything but using Australian English, and doing interviews with other Australians.
And, why’d you want to learn French?
Like, back to that. How did that trigger?
Because did you grow up speaking your languages?
No not at all.
I went through I think primary school.
I started with Japanese, and didn’t really think much of it.
Like, I didn’t hate it, didn’t like it it was just easier.
A lot of people have that experience with languages and in an Australian context they’re exposed to languages, you know, in primary school and high school but it’s not really a… Well, it wasn’t connected with anything, culturally or I didn’t know any Japanese people. And Japan is somewhat of a neighbour I guess loosely to Australia because it’s in Southeast Asia, but not really.
You can’t see, like, the relevance.
I had the same experience in Indonesia and I was like, why am I…?
Yes, this is kind of cool, but what is the purpose of it, kind of thing.
And I had that in… later when I’d moved primary schools I started Indonesian, and again it was one of those things where it was sort of fun, but it didn’t really have a purpose.
I didn’t know any Indonesians.
I’d never been to Indonesia.
I didn’t really have….
It’s not… it’s a neighbour again, but it’s not really like… we don’t share a border with anything like say in Europe where you… you know, Germany is right next to France, and you guys have cultural similarities, and you’re going to meet a lot of other people that are crossing the border and working, but again with that.
But anyway I started high school and French was an option and I started that and just for some reason I fell in love with it because of the sound.
I really really liked the way that it sounded.
And I think probably compared to Indonesian and Japanese it was a lot closer to English so it seemed easier to learn.
And then after just sort of doing that for six years at high school I didn’t really get too good.
I got to the point where I could, you know, ask for directions and where’s the toilet, and can I get a café (coffee*).
Converse those basic stuff (things*).
And then I was a Chinese at high school and that was good, but a nightmare, very difficult.
Learning all the tones and characters?
Yeah I think mostly that, but also the fact that everyone you had to sort of compete against in year 12 were, native speakers of Chinese.
A lot of them picked that subject, ’cause they would kill it.
I’ve heard that a lot.
Is this in Victoria?
Yeah, and so, even if you were the smartest kid in the class learning it as a second language you just get mauled by, you know, all the native speakers who effectively speak it at home, but wanted a class at high school that they did get a really high score in, because they have that advantage.
So I ditched that in year 11, but kept going with French and it was my best subject.
So… but yeah, I tried to do it in first year uni and actually failed, ’cause I hated it.
I hated the classes.
Do you think it’s the way they structured it? The classes. It was the content. It was all poetry, and like 17th century literature and just dry, standard stuff you would expect. And I just didn’t go to the exams.
I hated it that much that I just decided… I passed one subject I got to 50 percent, and the other one I got a 45 just cause I’d missed the exam and I was like, “Damn!”. I should have just gone to that exam and just put my name… I know.
But I was too worried that I was going to fail chemistry and I was, you know, studying hard to try and pass in those subjects.
But, I guess, after failing it and ditching it maybe nine years later in 2015 I just decided…
Oh so you had a big gap?
Big big big gap.
And I’d always sort of maintained… I was still able to use a bit of French all the time, you know, say the basics, and I’d keep meeting French people, and I was like… I just decided one day, “Screw this! It’s time to be a different Australian. One of the few Australians that actually speaks another language”, and French was obviously the easiest one for me to try and pick up again.
Because you already had the basics. Exactly, and it came flooding back.
That was what really shocked me was just how much it was just dormant sitting there waiting to be reignited.
Yeah it’s like you had this other brain in your head and you’re like, it’s just, yep, waiting to be ignited.
That’s a good way to put it, actually.
Yeah, it was pretty shocking.
But yeah and just how much fun it was.
I guess I didn’t really… I’d it at high school and I’d learnt because I wanted to do well and get a good score.
But now I was sort of… I was finally the driver in the car, and I got to decide what I studied, when I studied, how much I studied.
And so some days I would watch like eight hours of Game of Thrones in French with subs and dubs and really it wouldn’t seem like work.
Yeah, ’cause you were like, just, it’s so much fun. And then reading Harry Potter, you know. I would read three chapters in a night, which was a big deal for me.
But that became so much fun. In French?
Well, like, you would just get to that point where you’d get so enthralled in it.
Like, I remember some days I was doing like eight hours of just studying French and switching from one thing to the next.
You’d read the book, watch your TV show, do some Anki, and it was just so much fun.
And it was it was interesting, ’cause yeah it was so self directed and controlled that…
I heard something.
I think it was Serena the other day.
She was talking about, like, with languages a lot of people always say to her like, you know, can you teach me another language?
But it’s all to do with, like, internally.
You have to be… I guess, you have to want to learn it.
Like, it’s not just something that can come to you.
The more effort you put into it…
Yeah I mean some people say they don’t have an ear for languages, but I think they do, but…
Everyone does! Everyone who speaks a language does.
It’s like… But you have to want it.
You’ve got to be like, “I want to be… I would love to be an Olympic gold medalist swimmer.
Yeah except for the fact that I can’t be stuffed.
And I suck at swimming”, and it would be… you know, like, it’s… I want a lot of things, but there are very very few things.
It’s like the difference between I’m going to do it and it’s like a fantasy, I guess.
Whereas… And that was the funny thing.
Once I’d sort of gotten over the… getting to the point where I was basic fluent, you know reaching basic fluency in French was like “Oh my god”, It’s such a cool feeling.
And you’re like, “This isn’t that hard to do. And I could replicate this in other languages”, and that process, that initial 80 percent of getting to fluency is so much fun.
That problem solving and constant exposure is so gratifying that it’s kind of like… I think that’s why so many polyglots, right, they get one language down and then all of a sudden are like, “I want to do another five or six or 10” yeah.
‘Cause it’s the process they fall in love with not the actual languages, specifically.
But more like the systematic methodology behind it.
I’m trying… I think I told them trying to learn Portuguese, but it’s just… my brain is like trying to switch between Spanish, and it just…
That’s why I’m staying away from Spanish.
That’s why I can’t…like, I want to.
I know, I’m looking like I’m being a hypocrite right now, but it’s like, maybe I think I should do another… like, something just completely different so I can apply my learnings, I guess.
I think it’s one of those things where I would stay away from anything similar to one that I’m learning or already speak until I’ve gotten to the point of being, you know, very proficient in it.
Just because I’d be terrified that I’d confuse the crap out of myself.
That’s what like I told… I have some like Brazilian friends and I’ll just be like… If I don’t know it in Portuguese I’ll just say it in Spanish, and they’ll be like, “No.”.I’m like, “I’m so sorry. I’m trying.
Like I’m…” just like, you know, ’cause it is similar but there’s some things that just do not… like are just completely different.
The false friends.
The false friends, so.
Well back to the podcast.
I’m just going to check the time.
What’s like your favourite thing about doing it?
Helping people, I think, first and foremost just being able to make a small difference to a lot of people is really gratifying.
Like the amount of emails and comments and messages that I get after publishing an episode where people will just be like, “Oh man that was so fun” or “That was so interesting” or “That really helped. And I use that expression today” or “I heard that on TV and I finally knew what it was” like, that is really really gratifying.
And I think, just being able to make it fun.
That I think is really the best part, where people can… because language learning so often is so dry and boring, and people have a lot of bad experiences with it at high school and primary school.
I feel like people are scarred from their experiences.
And then they go, like, as an adult, like, then they go try to learn it, and they just have that, I don’t know, intrinsic feeling of like “oh this is, like, it’s too hard”, but, especially in Australia, again in an Australian context.
And I don’t want to like, you know, bash on the school systems, but it is, like, you know, just the way that they’re taught.
And as you said, like, it’s so important to make it fun and engaging and…
The difficulty, I guess, with the school system is that you have to try and measure everyone with the same stick. And not everyone wants to learn the same stuff.
And that’s where they need to somehow… And not everyone learns the same as well.
Some people might be, I don’t know, book smart, or some of them might be able to like just be able to speak and…
But that’s the difficulty.
If you’re going to mark people and try and give them a score and compare them to one another, then you honestly are left with only using the same sort of set of criteria.
Whereas, yeah, it should be a thing about you come into a class and say, “OK guys today we’re going to learn vocab for, you know, cars or something.”
“Whether you want to use a book, YouTube, whatever you want to use, listen to music about cars, whatever. Go and do it for a half an hour.”
I think about it the more successful, because the kids are going to be visual, audio, they’re going to prefer listening than get on prefer reading.
I think I like Sébastians view on it, like, as in, learn the words that you’re actually going use and maintain what you’re going to use not just… I don’t know, they just sometimes they teach you things and you’re like “When am I going to use this?”.
I think it’s good to expose yourself to everything.
But that’s one of the things that I almost always tell everyone that I am teaching English to is always work out your most commonly used phrases.
Don’t try and commit crap that you’re not going to use to memory.
That’s a good idea.
I’d never thought of it like that, actually.
Yeah, because a lot of the time, you know, you’re only going to use a small fraction of the actual words you need to learn to be able to recognize, but actively using them.
You really need to probably know more you know 2000, 3000, 4000 words that you can recall on the spot.
And a lot of the time, the thing is that they’re patterns.
So there are sets of words that you need to learn, the collocations or whatever they are.
And so that’s yeah, I think that’s why I did so well in French so quickly was because I wasn’t focused on just going through, you know, the 5000 most commonly used words and remembering all of them.
I would more sit down and every time I wanted to say something in French but didn’t know how to do it, and it was something that I would say in English, you know, like, maybe it was a phrase like “how do you know that?”, and I wouldn’t know the exact way to say that in French.
I would go look it up.
And then write that down, and then every single time from then on be able to refer to that phrase, and it just becomes part of your repertoire.
Like in your little, you know, kit.
It’s in your pocket.
You can just pull it out.
And so that was the funny thing it’s not filling in all the holes in the language.
It’s filling all the holes in the language that you’re going to use.
So, it’s like you’re trying to create a spider web, and then eventually join everything up, but you don’t need to cover everything.
You just need to cover the little area that you want to target.
What you use.
Have that basic structure.
I think that’s, yeah… I think you keep… you’ll find it too it becomes so much more gratifying because you keep coming up against the same problems.
So like if I was learning, you know, say Icelandic from scratch, I would have to learn about how to talk about languages, how to talk about podcasting, how to talk about doing science, and, you know, those… say if I don’t focus on those things I’m going to keep coming up against those problems.
And so… knuckle down, like, those… get them down pat.
And it just… the spider web grows, I guess, eventually, right?
Like you start filling in all those holes and then you will… you just keep going until Into get the next hole.
And then you go, “Okay I’m you have to learn that to write that down. Learn that.”
And then just keep, you know… Building on it.
I had such a backwards learning…
Have I told you about my language learning experience?
It was so backwards.
I don’t know if you want to.
I went to Spain on exchange, like, accidentally, kind of thing.
I just wanted to go…
You just woke up there?
Oh, I’m in Spain!?
No, like, I wanted to go to the US, ’cause, you know, I only spoke English, and then, I was like, “Oh…”, and then I missed the cut of date.
So, I was like “Oh, I’ll go to Europe”.
And then I was… I’ll go to the U.K.
And I was like, “Why do I want to go to the U.K.?”.
Like, I’m such a beach bum, like, I love the beach, like surfing and things like that.
So I have some friends, a friend who went to Spain and I knew that the courses were in English.
I was like “Oh, ok, I’ll go. That’ll be fun”.
So I went, got in, went to Spain and I was… and but I got there and I was, like, I could only say like hello.
Like, I literally knew nothing.
And then my teacher she only spoke Spanish and I was in the beginner’s class, but the problem was, like, I didn’t mind that, you know, obviously, like I should’ve learnt a little bit of Spanish maybe before going there.
You would have thought a normal person would, but I’m a bit crazy.
It’s good, though, jumping in the deep end.
I jumped off a cliff without a parachute.
Into a storm.
I was skydiving without a parachute.
But, I… it was really… I didn’t understand how to learn a language.
Like, I didn’t understand all these words like “an infinitive” and like, I don’t know, because we didn’t… In high school, I mean… I must… we don’t really get taught.
And then, I was like, “What’s the present.” you know the difference between… like, I knew like obviously the present and the future and the past tense, but that like all the specific words all of them.
And it was just like “OK”.
And then, like, after like so… and conjugating everything.
So then after six months of being in Spain, I was, like, “Oh I kind of have like an understanding, kind of not.”
And then I came to Australia and in my Spanish class my teacher was explaining it in English, like, the next level, but I didn’t even understand the beginner’s level.
So, I was, like, constantly going back and forward. And I just… I, like, similar to you at university, I struggled so hard to keep up, but also just to, like, get marked all the time but… I don’t know.
It’s like… It took me a while to learn things.
So, like, I wasn’t, like, keeping up with everyone in the class, but I’d get it, like, maybe a couple weeks later.
And, like, I was borderline failing.
Like, I remember my teacher asked me what the present tense for, like, “to do” is.
And I was like, “What’s the present tense?”, and he’s just like, “Oh my god!”.
Well that’s the funny thing right?
When you’re teaching a lot of the time, if you’re not asking the question in a way that the student can understand it doesn’t mean the students stupid or that they don’t get it or that they can’t learn it.
And that’s when you have to sort of reassess what you’re doing and how your phrasing it and how you’re asking it.
And that happens to me a lot, you know, and it’s… I love the podcast too, because it’s taught me so much about English, and language a whole, and just things like connected speech, pronunciation.
I’d had no idea about, you know, how much Australian English differed from English English or American English.
And then, just constantly listening to myself speak and then breaking down, “Ok how am I actually mixing these words together?”, and, you know, one example that I absolutely love is like, “Whadaya…?”.
“Whadaya…?”. “Whadaya…?”. “Whadaya…?”.
What do you…?
What are you…?
What have you…?
It’s all… it means all of it.
So, like, you could say “Whadaya done?”, and in that case “Whadaya…” is “What have you…”.
You can say “Whadaya doing?”, and that’s “What are you doing?”.
And you could say “Whadaya do?”, and that’s “What do you do?”.
And so it’s been contracted in all those three cases, you know, and you don’t even realize it, but you get so used to hearing it.
And teaching ESL students how to use those phrases and sound more like a native, and then hearing them use them, and actually, you know, you just notice a massive change in their ability to speak.
And it’s just that’s really satisfying and fun.
And that’s what I always look for now in other languages.
So, for instance in French you sound like a weirdo if you’re constantly saying things like, “Je ne sais pas.”, “I don’t know”.
Instead they just say, “Jsais pas”, “Jsais pas”, but they’ve just put it all together to “Jsais pas”.
Like, you know, so they join things like that.
And the same in Portuguese you’ll have “Você é”, and then, you know “something”, which means, “You are”, but they’ll just contract it to “Cé”, you know, where they literally, you know, get rid of “Voce” and “é” and they contract it together to just “Vocé ” and then “Cé”.
And so there’s just cool things like that that happen in language that kind of get replicated across all languages.
And it’s good to like… I guess when you’re learning that language as well, ’cause you want to… no one wants to stand out.
Exactly, well and that’s it.
And I feel like people learning English a lot of the time I think, “I’ll never be able to get rid of my accent. I’ll never be able to sound like a native.”
And a lot of the time the accents not really the thing that matters it’s the sort of rhythm and the way they speak.
And so when they learn things like the connected speech stuff and the pronunciation of you know like “Whadaya”, even if you said that with an accent you sound infinitely close to a native then if you were to be someone with a perfect accent who said, “What do you do”.
You know, like, saying like that is just making you stick out so much more.
So, yeah, I don’t know, that stuff gave me a massive kick.
What about, like, have you had, I mean, not any bad experiences, but like what’s… is there something that’s really hard to, like, explain?
In the language?
Yeah well what’s one example that you can think of that’s, like, been really trick to…?
Far out. I think there are so many in English.
I think a lot of the time it’s difficult because they’ll ask me things and I just won’t know the answer.
And you just have to be honest about it and go find it.
You’re reflecting on yourself.
Well that’s it and I guess that’s what an honest teacher does.
And so it’s hard for me to come up with one, because a lot of the time any question they have I don’t have the exact answer as to why or how, and I’ll just have to go and look it up and then go home with them. But I think prepositions.
A lot of those things like prepositions and things where there is no logical reason.
And so, you know, where you have to use “for” instead of “on” or “at” instead of “in” and “on”, and it’s just like “Oh my gosh I don’t even know why.
I just know that you can’t” or “that it’s incorrect”.
It sounds odd.
And it’s almost… I guess it’s a good thing being a language that I myself because I can sort of share that frustration with them, and be like “I understand ’cause in Portuguese and French it’s exactly the same.”.
Where you have to use different prep… and different from Portuguese and French, even though they’re close languages they just use completely different things in different situations.
But probably that.
And auxiliary verbs.
And just yeah, it’s funny too the students a lot of the time know a lot more than me about the rules.
I just know how to use them innately.
Yeah I find that so…like I like it because I’ve done a TEFL course.
Like, that was after I did my language learning and it was like “oh” like so many clicking moments, like “That’s why that’s like that!”.
Like, you know, this is what’s going on now.
And I feel like my English has gotten… You know, it’s improved now that I can like proofread a lot more, you know, more… I’m a lot more confident in how I can read things, “No, that doesn’t sound right.”.
And even watching the news and how people speak in real life, I’m always noticing, you know, a lot of people use is and are…
Yeah, a lot of the time people just use is, or have and has.
And that’s the funny thing.
When I started the podcast initially I was like “oh my gosh I’m going to make one grammatical error and people are going to tear me a new one.
They’re going to see it and be like, “He just made this error! He used “is” instead of “are”! What an idiot.” Or “He put in the “‘s” whereas there’s no apostrophe that’s meant to be there or something.””
But I think half because I wanted to not put myself in a position to always be getting corrected and half because it is just how real life English speakers speak I just decided I’m just going to put it out there errors and all, warts and all, and just always be like, “This is how we speak. And so this is how I’m going to talk to you guys. I’m not going to read from a transcript where you know I’ve checked it and everything is grammatically correct, because even if it is grammatically correct a lot of the time people don’t speak like that.”
And so I wanted the podcast to always be a lot more conversational, and have “Um’s” and “Ah’s” and “You know’s” and errors in there and, you know, my train of thought will go off in one direction and then I’ll be like “Yeeeeh…” and then go in a different direction, and…
And we’re human, you know.
It’s not like robots and let’s be perfectly.
So, people get it, you know.
It’s… I think that’s part of the appeal too, a lot of resources out there tend to focus too much… They…
That’s the problem with, I think, the universities.
Yeah. Not the problem, but that’s that’s how it is there.
So if you aren’t that type of person, like, that is always, like, I don’t know, maybe you’re a type-A personality.
We get taught right that you have to be correct.
And that’s what people are marking you on or assessing you own or deciding whether you’re not… whether or not you’re clever, smart.
It’s “How many mistakes do you make?” or “How many mistakes do you not make?”.
Whereas, yeah for this, I… a lot of people were telling me all the time they’re like, “You should go and do a course and learn how to be an English teacher.”.
And initially I was like “Oh it’s a really good idea.”.
But now I’m almost like that’s almost like being Picasso or you know.
I’m humbly saying, you know, that you’re an artist and someone saying you should go to art school so you learn how real artists do it.
And for me I feel like it would give me the same way of looking at the world that all the other teachers have.
Whereas, at the moment I’m kind of…
So, that’s your point of differentiation?
I think so, I mean and, you know, maybe it’s half me being lazy.
But you’re curious as well.
So, you’re… it’s not like you’re just talking about things and not following up on them as you said people ask you questions and you want to go and investigate and find out why it’s like that.
Well, yeah I’d be… yeah I’d be terrified that I would come out of a course like that being given the same sort of goggles to see the world as all the other English teachers.
And then you sort of lose a bit of your artistic flair. Yeah like your… I don’t know.
Is anyone else doing, like, Australian podcasts at the moment?
I don’t think so.
At least not in the same way.
And it’s the same for a lot of other languages.
Like, I would love to have a podcast like this in Portuguese.
I would kill for that.
I would listen so much more than I currently am to Portuguese stuff.
But there’s just nothing out there.
And it’s easy to do.
Anyone can do it for any language.
Especially, the hard thing is, I guess, that it’s difficult for minority languages or smaller languages where you would probably get a lot less attention, you know, for say Icelandic or Estonian but the people actively learning those languages would probably flock to you so much more readily because you would be such a rarity in those instances.
Like, if yeah, if there was something for Icelandic, Oh my God, I would be addicted to that stuff. Really?
There’s just no resources for it.
What about… like, what do you see The Aussie English Podcast, like, what do you see it’s… like where’s it going?
I don’t know.
Hopefully, in the same direction. Obviously, I need to… I keep wanting to help people, but I also want to obviously be able to make an income from it.
So, just to keep combining those two.
And the most difficult thing is getting over that fear of asking for money.
I guess, at least that was what I had to overcome a few months ago when I first monetised was realizing that it’s okay to ask for money when you’re providing a service, and a lot of the time the people that are listening to you and who are your fans want to be able to pay you and give you money to help you, but need a reason to.
Yeah, and so, playing with that sort of stuff.
But I think in the near future I’m going to focus a lot more on doing the same as what I’d been doing with the Aussie English Supporter Pack stuff where I try and create and lesson plans for one lesson a week.
Then also creating small courses where they’re really targeted to a specific problem that people have in English. And I probably let the listeners decide.
You know, I’ll put up a poll and say, “What’s… do you need to course on prepositions or phrasal verbs?” and whichever one gets the most votes. But then focus like a laser on solving that problem, and you know, do that month after month, and create courses and sell them on line, and hopefully…SPI (smart passive income) happening in the back(ground).
So that’s the idea and then just keep travelling around and learn languages.
Oh my god!
That is like the dream right?
Yeah that’s it.
I think just to be your own boss and control everything yourself.
I think, yeah, I won’t go into my… but I think I really like that as well, being your own boss and having your own… like having freedom. I think it’s that like… and that’s what, you know, the world is kind of going in that way, like to entrepreneurally focussed and driven and yeah.
I think my ultimate goal is just to be able to travel wherever I want, whenever I want, learn whatever language I want, whenever I want, and be able to teach English via the Internet.
So, you know, you can pretty much do that anywhere there’s an internet connection.
What about your thesis?
Are you going to use that at all?
Well I’m going to hand it in.
I’ll probably publish the papers from it.
I’ve got one at least that’s currently being reviewed and then the next two, they’ll get done pretty quickly.
But I don’t think I will ever have a solid career in science where I have, you know, a nine to five job, five days a week with a boss.
I think if I do any science it will be on my own terms and volunteer.
But I would love to do something where I could potentially donate money from The Aussie English Podcast to say research on endangered Australian animals, and set up a grant where people could apply for it and we could fund, you know, the listeners could effectively give money and we could fund a project and stuff.
It’s that two worlds colliding.
Exactly, well, that’s it, and that’s my unfair advantage, I guess, is the fact that I’m a scientist and a language enthusiast.
So that’s what makes me unique and I just have to find a way to…
Is that what you like to call yourself, “A language enthusiast”?
Yeah I don’t like the word “Polyglot”.
I don’t know.
I feel like that’s a bit… That’s what other people can call you, but you shouldn’t call yourself.
I’m a bit humble and don’t like to toot my own horn so…
Yeah, “Polyglot” is kind of…
I don’t really… I don’t really ever call people that but I guess like people like Sébastian who do speak…
Yeah, that’s crazy. 12 languages. Jesus.
I don’t how my brain would function to be honest.
I would wake up one day and be like…
I think that’s part of the fun, right?
It’s when you realize you can switch in and out of languages.
That with Portuguese, being the third one that I sort of started learning, once I got to the point where I was, you know, somewhat proficient in it it was sort of interesting to be able to have you know Facebook open or Skype open or whatever and have be having these conversations in three different languages at the same time.
Yeah like your brain… I love that.
Just like texting in Spanish.
I’ll be like “Oh Yeah. This is cool” and like…
It’s as impressive to know where your brain can do.
It’s really satisfying.
Can I ask another question?
This may be the last one just ’cause we might have to go and take photos.
Is there anything that you’d like to see changed… like in an Australian context, ’cause, you know, generally… I don’t want to generalise, but a lot of people don’t… you know languages aren’t as…
What’s the word?
Like, “celebrated”, maybe? You know, they just… people just dismiss it, like, “oh it’s just…”.
It’s so… Is there anything you’d like to change?
Like, what… do you have an opinion on that, or?
I don’t know. I guess the difficult part is the fact that Australia is so isolated.
It would be so much easier to justify and to probably rev people up and get them passionate about it if they could… if we had a neighbouring country.
If we had someone next door.
Hold on a second. (There was a person locked outside trying to open a door and come into the museum)
So yeah I think the main problem is that we don’t have a real reason to do it and that’s pressing.
Whereas, obviously, if you live in France and you’re surrounded by, you know, three or four other countries that speak other languages you have a direct reason to.
So, I think it would have to be that you would just be… I would love to see Aboriginal languages embraced. That would be really cool.
If we could find a way of combining local Aboriginal languages being taught at school in order to sort of not just to preserve the Aboriginal languages themselves, but also to spread, you know, cultural awareness.
That would be cool I reckon, especially because you would be going to school on the land where, you know, these Aborigines once lived and thrived and had their own culture.
That would be a lot easier to connect to than say learning Japanese from, you know, a high school classroom in Geelong. As opposed to if you knew, “Oh my God like the name of the river outside our classroom is this in the local indigenous (language)”. I like that.
And they’re doing that in some schools in say the Kimberley.
The Kimberley I know there’s one in the Kimberley’s that they’re teaching… I think they have classes in that language specifically, like, just in that Aboriginal language, and they’re slowly reviving it.
But again the difficult thing is that we have, I think, 260 Aboriginal countries in Australia.
And so, you would have to revive that all over the place for so many different minority groups.
It’s a challenge, but I feel like, I don’t know, with technology and the way that the world is, I guess, going it is easier in a sense.
Not “easier”, but it’s… you know, we have the resources and… We’re in a better position to do it than ever before.
Yeah exactly and you know… I love that. I think that’s really important.
I would love to learn an Aboriginal language.
Yeah me too actually. That would be sweet. I thought of that… I don’t know how I’d go about it.
Well and that’s the difficult, right?
Again, even though it’s… we could do it, there’s just nowhere that, you know you can’t just go to somewhere like Germany where there’s 40 million people who speak that language.
It would be very very very localised and there would be a small minority of people who potentially speak it as a second language let alone a first one, so…
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just cause I… (have to go).
No, all good.
Thank you for interviewing me.
No, thank you.
So, thanks for listening to this interview episode guys.
I hope you enjoyed it.
If you want to check out more about what Laura’s doing then head over to www.multilingualsofmelbourne.com.
She also has a facebook page.
It’s just www.facebook.com/multilingualsofmelbourne.
I’ll attach the links below.
And yeah, it’s an awesome blog where you get to read all about different people learning languages, in Australia, in Melbourne.
So go and check it out, and say, “G’day from Pete”.
Multi-linguals Of Melbourne
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