AE 477 – Expression: Clear the Air
What is going on, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
Yes, that was me singing at the start. So, I used to be a singer back in the day and I kind of miss it a bit, but I just haven’t had a chance to do it, and today’s expression is obviously ‘to clear the air with someone’, and I was thinking, how can I link this in with Australia? And it made me think, okay, weather in Australia, you know, air, weather, weather in Australia, and then I thought about how I could relate this to pop culture in Australia, and instantly it made me think of the song by Crowded House, a band from Melbourne, Australia, called Four Seasons in one day.
So, I wonder if you guys know this song. “Four seasons in one day”. It’s a good song. It’s a good song, which is about the temperamental weather of Melbourne. So, if you’ve ever been to Melbourne, you’ll know why this song is called ‘Four Seasons in One Day’.
So, I decided to sing that at the start their, guys. (I) had to blow the cobwebs off my vocal chords as it’s been quite a long time since I’ve sung, and it’s… I haven’t actually sung in front of anyone in a very, very long time, although, I guess, I’m kind of singing in front of people, not really. It’s sort of like it’s online and I don’t have to deal with people watching me so it’s fine. But yeah hopefully, it didn’t sound too much like someone killing a cat.
Check out the song ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by a Crowded House online, and its covers as well by other Australian artists like Paul Kelly and Angus Stone. These are all really good artists. If you guys like folk music or soft rock kind of music, I think you’ll really like these artists. So, check them out on YouTube. Anyway, guys.
This is the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. It is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is my online classroom where I upload all of the small courses that I do, I have pronunciation courses in there, I do videos, all sorts of bonus content for anyone serious about learning English. So, if you would like to take your English to the next level and complete today’s expression episode as a mini course, as well as all the previous episodes as many courses, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and you can try it for a dollar for your first month.
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Anyway guys, let’s get into the Aussie joke for today. So, the Aussie joke, again, I wanted to make this related to weather. The Aussie joke is:
What’s a queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? What’s a queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? Are you ready for this? “Reign”, “Reign”.
You might see the spelling to get this. It’s a pun, okay? “Reign”. So, it’s spelled here, R-E-I-G-N. “Reign”, in this case, is a verb and it means: to hold royal office; to rule as a monarch. So, the Queen of England reigns over all of England.
But the joke here, the pun, is with the word “rain”, R-A-I-N, which is the condensed moisture of the atmosphere falling visibly in separate drops. So, any time you walk outside there’s a storm and you get wet from drops falling from the sky, it’s because of rain.
So, what’s a Queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? “Reign”. “Reign”.
Alright, so today’s expression is ‘to clear the air with someone’, ‘to clear the air with someone’. I hope you guys have heard this one before, though, if you haven’t, you’re going to enjoy this episode.
This was suggested by Lima. She’s tried suggesting this quite a few times in the Aussie English Classroom for the last few weeks. Each week students suggest their favourite expression for the week that they would like to be the one for this episode, and then everyone votes on it. Lima’s try a few times and she finally got it, she crushed it, she dominated this week and won by a milestone. Good job, Lima.
So, definitions of the words in the expression ‘to clear the air’ or ‘to clear the air with someone’.
If you clear something, it is that you remove any unwanted items or obstructions from somewhere or something. So, like, if I clear the table, it’s that I move everything off the table so it is clear. If I clear the room of people, it’s that I ask everyone to leave the room so that the room is clear. Okay? It is absent of all these unwanted things.
Now, ‘air’. I’m sure you guys know what ‘air’ is. I just inhaled air. ‘Air’ is the invisible gaseous substance surrounding everyone, right, surrounding the earth. It is a mixture of primarily oxygen and nitrogen. You breathe air. You breathe air. And a hot air balloon is full of hot air. Okay? ‘Air’.
So, let’s define the expression, and it has a few different meanings.
Literally, if you were to clear the air it is that you would remove any stale air in a room, right? So, if my bedroom here had been closed, the door’s closed, the window’s closed for days, and you open the door and walked in, it might smell stale, it doesn’t smell fresh. And so, in order to clear the air, you might open a window to let in fresh air. So, that’s the literal meaning, okay?
Figuratively though, ‘to clear the air with someone’ can mean two things.
Usually, it’s going to mean to diffuse an angry or tense situation by frank discussion. So, you’re going to have a problem with someone, you’ve had an argument with someone, and you’re going to have a frank discussion, so a discussion that’s kind of straight up, you’re not going to beat around the bush, and you want to sort out your problems so that you’re okay afterwards.
But the other meaning could be to remove any doubt from a situation, okay. So, if you’re unsure about a certain situation, clearing the air would be removing that doubt and making things clear, right? You would understand that situation better.
Alright, so let’s go through some examples, guys, some real-world examples of how I would use the expression to clear the air with someone or to just clear the air.
Alright, so example number one. Imagine you’re at work and there is a huge meeting with every single employee from every nook and cranny in the company. They have to show up, they have to attend this meeting. It’s been called by the CEO. Okay? And maybe it’s because there’s some new product that is about to be released to the masses, it’s about to be released to the public, you know, imagine it’s a new iPhone or a new iMac at Apple or something, and the CEO has called this meeting because there has been a lot of confusion about maybe the date of when this product is going to be released. So, he obviously wants to clear that problem up, he wants to remove all kinds of doubt and make sure that everyone understands the situation and the release date, and has a clear idea of what is going to happen. He calls this meeting so that he can clear the air. He wants to clear the air with everyone in the company so that they have a solid understanding about the upcoming product release, so that there is no doubt, no confusion. So, after the meeting, the air’s been cleared and things can move on smoothly. Clear the air.
Example number two. So, imagine you’ve had some kind of fight or disagreement with someone close to you, so a sibling, a parent. Maybe you fought over something like money, which can get pretty personal and can lead to big fights in families, right. So, maybe it’s inheritance from a family member who’s passed away, and you don’t know who is going to get it. One of you has gotten more money than the other one, and you’ve had a bit of a fight, and one of you has held a grudge against the other one for a while. So, if you decide to finally talk to the other person about your problems, to air your grievances, as in, make those grievances, those problems, those disagreements, known publicly with that person, and you want to resolve these issues, you’re clearing the air with that person. You’re clearing the air with your sibling, with your parent, you’re diffusing an angry or tense situation by chatting with them frankly about the problem. You’re clearing the air with your sibling or your parent. To clear the air.
Example Number three, okay. Now, imagine that you are a teenage girl at high school, okay? So, you’re a teenage girl at high school and you’ve got a lot of really close mates, but one of them is your best mate, and you and your best mate at school, one of your girlfriends, you guys have a crush on the same guy, on the same fellow in your class. So, you both are romantically interested, you have a crush on this boy. Okay? So, both of you want to ask him out on a date and when one of you goes to finally do it, it’s only you who has the courage to do it. The other one’s too chicken and chickens out and doesn’t have the courage to ask him out. So, you ask him out, Bob’s your uncle he says yes, and you end up grabbing a coffee at a local cafe. When your friend finds out about this and has a bit of a hissy fit, she gets angry, she gets upset, she rages at you, she gives you the silent treatment for a week or so. Okay? So, she gives you the silent treatment, she treats you with silence, meaning that she doesn’t talk to you, she refuses to reply to your messages, she doesn’t talk to you at school, online, wherever it is, she gives you the silent treatment. So, once you decide enough is enough and you get sick of the silent treatment from her and fighting with your friend, you diffuse the situation by having a frank discussion with her and clearing the air. You know, maybe you dump this boy and you say, it’s not worth it. I’d prefer to be with my friend and have that friendship sorted out again. So, once you’ve resolved things, you guys kiss and make up, and you become friends again, and your mate is really glad that you cleared the air, because no one likes drama, right? To clear the air with someone.
So, I hope now guys you understand the expression to clear the air with someone. Remember, literally, this could be opening the windows or doors in a room to let in fresh air when the air in the room is stale. But figuratively and more commonly, it’s going to be used to mean to diffuse an angry or tense situation by frank discussion with someone or to remove doubt from a situation. Okay?
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation, whether you want to sound like an Aussie, or whether you just want to work on your English pronunciation as it is, we’ll do that.
And then afterwards, I want to take you through the Aussie Fact for the day, where we’ll have a bit of a chat about climate and weather in Australia.
Alright, so listen and repeat exercise, guys. Listen and repeat after me and try and mimic my accent.
To clear the
To clear the air
To clear the air with
To clear the air with someone
I want to clear the air with her.
You want to clear the air with her.
She wants to clear the air with her.
He wants to clear the air with her.
We want to clear the air with her.
They want to clear the air with her.
It wants to clear the air with her.
Great job, guys. Remember, if you would like to work on the pronunciation and connected speech in this exercise, as well as all the previous exercises, sign up at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, become a member, one month for a dollar, and you’ll get access to a video for today’s episode taking you through step by step all the key components of pronunciation, intonation, and connected speech in this episode, and all others, in order to improve your pronunciation. Because quite often when it comes to speaking English, you don’t necessarily have to have the most perfect pronunciation in the world to sound a lot more natural. Quite often, it’s related more to the intonation and to the connected speech, and to the emphasis that you put on certain words and where you place that emphasis.
Okay, so for example here, instead of saying ‘I want to clear the air with her’, you’ll notice that I’m saying ‘wanna’ instead of ‘want to’, and then at the end instead of saying ‘with her’, and really pronouncing that H, when I speak quickly that H disappears. That’s called H deletion. ‘With ‘er’, ‘with ‘er’. I want to clear the air with her. Okay?
So, we’ll go over those sorts of things in the Aussie English Classroom in these kinds of pronunciation videos and they will really help you level up your English. So, check it out. Anyway.
The Aussie English Fact for the day, guys. So, obviously, because the expression was about ‘air’, and then the introduction part of this episode was about Four Seasons in One Day and weather in Melbourne, in Australia, I thought that we could have a bit of a chat about climate and weather in Australia. Okay? The climate and the weather of Australia. So, let’s just get into it.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere, obviously. And so, the seasons in Australia are actually the opposite of the seasons in Europe and North America. So, when you guys… ‘you guys’, anyone who is in the northern hemisphere, when you guys in the northern hemisphere have summer, it’s winter in Australia, in the southern hemisphere. And when you have winter, it’s summer down here. Okay?
There are two main climatic zones in Australia. These are the Tropical Zone, which is north of the Tropic of Capricorn. So, it’s pretty much the top half of Australia. And then, we have the Temperate Zone, which is in the south of Australia, in the southern area of Australia, south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
So, the Tropical Zone covers a little less than the Temperate Zone, about 40% of Australia, and it has two seasons primarily, summer and winter. And summer is the wet season when there is a lot of rain in the north of Australia, and winter is the dry season when there isn’t very much rain in.
The Temperate Zone on the other hand has four seasons. Spring to summer, which is from October to March. These are the warmer and hotter seasons usually everywhere in Australia. Tropical in the north and warm to hot with mild nights in the south. This is the classic tourist season for the Northern Hemisphere visitors to Australia as well, because they want to escape winter and winter temperatures. So, they tend to come to Australia to get salt-soaked and it get sunburnt.
The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in Australia was 50.7 degrees Celsius, and this was at Oodnadatta, which is a town in South Australia, and it was on the second of January in 1960. So, almost 60 years ago, quite a while.
And a little anecdote here, I remember in 2009 we had a really, really severe heat wave in Victoria and there were some places in Victoria that had 12 consecutive days of temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius, and the maximum temperature was 48.8 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, almost 400 people died, 374 people died, and 2,000 people were treated for heat-related effects. That was a really intense heat wave. I remember, I just couldn’t escape all these days in a row above 40 degrees.
Now, autumn to winter is between April to September in Australia, and these are the cooler months in Australia. In the northern and central parts of Australia, you’re going to have warm days and cool nights, but in the southern parts of Australia, you’re going to have cooler days with the occasional bit of rain, that’s rain, R-A-I-N, but still loads of sun.
Snow in Australia is completely confined to the mountainous regions of south eastern Australia, and this is the Great Dividing Range. So, you’re going to have this in south eastern New South Wales, north eastern Victoria, and in some places in Tasmania.
Temperatures in Australia can drop quite low during winter, at least quite low for us, and they can get to as low as -8 Celsius, which is the lowest ever recorded temperature in Yongala, which is also in South Australia. And this was recorded on the 20th of July in 1976. But as an anecdote, that sort of surprised me, because that was the coldest day ever, and Canberra this year had a few days of -7 degrees Celsius, at least, in the evening, not during the day, at night, right?
Anyway, no matter what kind of climate or whether you prefer, you’ll find somewhere in Australia that suits you, whether it’s hot summers and cold winters in places like Melbourne, Hobart, and Perth in the south of Australia, or hot summers with milder winters in places like Sydney and Brisbane, or really hot and humid climate pretty much all year round in places like Darwin, Cairns, and Townsville.
Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy today’s episode I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll chat to you soon. I’m about to head off to Batemans Bay for the weekend with my folks and Kel. So, it should be a good one. See you guys later.