AE 506 – Expression: Out of the Blue
A male surfer’s been killed in a shark attack near Wedge Island north of Perth. The attack happened just after 9 O’clock local time. Joining us now for more on the story is Sky News Perth reporter Michael Hopkins. Mike, what do we know at this stage?
Yes, hello. Well, what we know at this stage is that police have confirmed that it was, indeed, a fatal shark attack at Wedge Island, a holiday spot to Perth’s north at 9 O’clock this morning. Now, police are still searching the area with boats and also with quad bikes on the beach in a bid to find the surfer’s remains.
What is up, guys? What is up, you mob? How are you going? This is the first episode where you guys get to hear from ‘married Pete’.
So, how’s it going? Sorry, it’s been a little while with these expression episodes. I hope, as well, that you’ve got to check out the marriage and wedding episode that I published recently on the podcast and on YouTube. So, go and check that out if you haven’t and if you want to hear about all of what happened last weekend with Kel and me getting married. It was an amazing day. Anyway.
So, the video from the start there, guys, the video from the start was from Sky News, which you can check out at SkyNews.com.au. You can also check them out on YouTube and Sky News if you would like to watch stories about Australia and other parts of the world.
So, that was about a shark attack that occurred in Australia, and Australia is relatively well-known for having shark attacks relatively commonly, I guess. It’s up there in the most dangerous places in the world for sharks, but we will talk about that later on in the Aussie Fact as well as about some other animals that are more likely to kill you than sharks, and those animals might surprise you.
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So, today’s expression’s ‘out of the blue’ and that have me thinking about sharks. You might see the connection later on. And so, I thought I’ll try and find a shark joke. Okay. So, here’s the joke.
What did the seal with a broken arm say to the shark? What did a seal with a broken arm say did the shark?
Do not consume if ‘seal’ is broken. It’s so stupid. Do not consume if ‘seal’ is broken.
I wonder if you get that. Alright, let me explain. So, often when you go to the shops, if you buy something that’s in a jar or in some kind of packet, quite often it will say that if the seal of the jar of the seal of the packet is broken, don’t consume the food inside, because it means that air has gotten in and there may be bacteria in there and the food may have gone off, it may have gone bad. Okay. So, you’ll often see, ‘Do not consume if seal is broken’.
So, the joke here is that obviously a seal is also that animal, you know, that lives in the ocean and jumps on the land sometimes to sunbathe than have babies, but they are often hunted by sharks, and so, the seal with a broken arm says to the shark, ‘don’t consume if seal is broken’. Jesus. Anyway, guys.
Today’s expression is ‘out of the blue’ and this came from Fatimah in the Aussie English Classroom. We have the Facebook group. We vote on these expressions. Fatimah suggested this one and she crushed it, she did very well, and it got voted on by everyone. Let’s go through and define the words in ‘out of the blue’.
So, ‘out of something’, right. ‘Out of something’. If you’re out of something, it’s that you’re coming out of something, you’re exiting something, right. It’s sort of the opposite of going into something, ‘out of something’ is leaving something, from being within something. Okay. Pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure you guys know what ‘out of something’ is.
‘The blue’. Now, this might be more confusing. ‘Blue’ is obviously a colour, right. The sky is blue. The ocean is blue. My eyes are blue. What else is blue? I don’t know. Other things are blue. Anyway. In this case, though, it doesn’t refer to the colour, specifically. It’s referring to the sky, which I guess is blue. But ‘the blue’ in this case means the sky.
So, let’s define the expression ‘out of the blue’. I wonder if you guys have heard this. Something happens out of the blue, right. If it’s… just appears out of the blue. What could that mean?
‘Out of the blue’ means out of nowhere, to appear unexpectedly or surprisingly, you know. You’re not expecting that thing to happen or to appear. It is appearing out of the blue. It’s appearing out of nowhere.
So, ‘the blue’ in this case refers to the sky, the blue sky, as we said, and usually, thunderstorms with, you know, thunder and lightning, don’t tend to happen when there’s a clear blue sky. But when it does happen, it’s a surprise that no one expects, it’s unexpected, it’s surprising. And apparently an older version of this expression was ‘a bolt out of the blue’ or ‘a bolt from the blue’, which referred to a completely unexpected and surprising appearance of a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky, right, out of nowhere.
So, we can use this literally, if someone, say, appears in front of you. They appear out of nowhere. You know, it’s shocking, it’s surprising, unexpected. But we can use it to for things that people say or maybe emotions, you know, non-physical things, right. So, if someone suddenly says something or burps or yawns or, you know, does something like that where you could say, oh, that was out of the blue. You know, I got upset and it was out of the blue.
So, let’s go through some examples, guys, to try and show you how I would use this expression in my day-to-day life. Okay.
So, example number one. Imagine that you are going to the beach with your mates. You’re about to hit the beach. You want to go for a surf or a body board or a body surf or maybe just a cheeky dip in the ocean at your favourite beach, your favourite Australian beach, maybe Bondi Beach or Bell’s Beach down here where Rip Curl Pro is often held each year, the surfing competition. So, you all dive into it. You pile out of the car when you get to the beach. You put your wettie is on, or maybe you’re wearing board shorts, you put your boardies on, your grab your boards and you dive into the water to catch a first wave. The waves are about six foot. It’s incredibly clean, you know, it’s not choppy, it’s not… the water’s not rough, there’s an offshore wind as well making the waves perfect, and you and your mates are carving it up each time you catch one of these incoming waves. When all of a sudden, out of the blue, one of your mates spots a large fin pop above the surface of the water a few metres away. Now, you all panic, you all frantically start swimming to shore and fear the worst. You think, oh no, it’s going to be a shark and it’s going to ruin our awesome day. But it turns out to be a lone dolphin who wants to join your ranks to catch a wave or two itself. So, it just appeared out of the blue, unexpectedly, out of nowhere.
Example number two. You’re at home on a weekend and you plan on binge watching your favorite TV show, right. I was doing this recently watching The Walking Dead. So, you’ve got to drink out of the fridge, you know, your favorite beer, your favorite soft drink, you’ve got some chips or your favorite snack, and you’ve kicked back on the couch and you’ve put the first episode on. So, you get through most of the show, but the tension starts to build, the show starts to climax, there’s a bit of suspense, something big is about to happen in the show when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the power goes off, the TV screen goes black. You might scream out, no! I wanted to see what was going to happen. You’ll lose it, you get upset, because you can’t see what was about to happen on the show, because out of the blue, unexpectedly, surprisingly, out of nowhere, the power went out.
Example number three. You’re at home one day cleaning the house after your kids have been playing and they’ve made a bit of a mess of the place, right. They’d been mucking around with finger-paint or food or something. They’ve made a mess. So, you’re busy cleaning away, when all of a sudden, the doorbell goes or someone knocks on the door. So, you go and open it up and it turns out that it’s a long-lost friend who you haven’t seen since you were at school, you know, maybe 20 years ago. So, you might say, Wow! How did you know I was here? That’s so out of the blue. Where did you come from? I haven’t seen you in yonks. I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years. I haven’t seen you in ages. But what an awesome surprise. It’s great to see you even if it is randomly and out of the blue.
So, hopefully guys you understand the expression now ‘out of the blue’. It is for something to appear physically or figuratively out of nowhere, unexpectedly, surprisingly.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise where you guys can practice your pronunciation. You can work on your Australian accent if that is something that you are trying to master at the moment. Listen and repeat after me. Or work on the accent that you are currently targeting, you know, British, US, whatever it is, and say these words with that accent. Let’s go.
Out of the
Out of the blue x 5
It’s pretty interesting, actually. There’s quite a bit of pronunciation and connected speech modifying there when I say those words by themselves or when I say them together, right. Out, out of, out of the, out of the blue. That’s interesting.
Anyway, we’ll go over that more in the Aussie English Classroom pronunciation video for this episode, guys. Remember to sign up to that if you are interested in improving your English and improving your pronunciation. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Oh! And I almost forgot, we’ll go through a sentence and now we will conjugate through, ‘I appeared out of the blue’, ‘you appeared out of the blue’. Okay, so listen and repeat after me.
I appeared out of the blue
You appeared out of the blue
He appeared out of the blue
She appeared out of the blue
We appeared out of the blue
They appeared out of the blue
It appeared out of the blue
Man, there’s a lot of t-flaps going on there. ‘It appeared out of the blue’.
Alright. Aussie English Fact for the day, guys. So, sharks. I wanted to talk about shark attacks as they tend to occur out of the blue, right, and they’re a common occurrence in Australia, at least the media would have you believe this. It tends to always be one on the on the TV every week or two, you hear about a shark attack. And then I want to talk about shark culling, okay? And this is a hot topic that pollies, politicians, are always yacking about on the telly as well.
Alright, so unsurprisingly shark attacks have been happening in Australia since the first humans arrived here nearly 50,000 or 60,000 years ago when they first surrendered to the enticing ocean waters that surrounded the continent. The earliest shark attack that was fatal that’s on record occurred in the early years of British colonisation in Port Jackson where an Aboriginal woman was swimming and she was, quote, “bitten in two” by a shark.
Between the years of 1958 and 2018, there have been 536 shark attacks in Australia, and we are number two on the list of shark attacks in the world. 73 of these shark attacks proved to be fatal to the victims. Australia comes in at number two with the US at number one with more than double the number of shark attacks at 1104. But despite this, there are actually twice as many deaths in Australia as there are in the US who recorded only 35 fatalities in the same period of time. Interesting. It seems that, statistically speaking, in Australia you have the highest chance of being attacked and killed by a shark than anywhere else in the world.
If you’re interested in taking your chances at the most dangerous beach in Australia, then I suggest heading off to Coffin Bay in South Australia whose name seems appropriate, although, there may not be enough of you left to warrant using a coffin.
Although, shark attacks often receive a lot of air time on national and state news, you’re far more likely to be killed by a bunch of other less-suspecting and cute and cuddly animals Down Under.
In 2011, Australia’s National Coronial Information System, or NCIS, released its first report into the trends and patterns surrounding animal-related deaths in Australia where they evaluated the first decade of this century from the years 2000 to 2010. The report discovered that horses, including ponies and donkeys, were Australia’s most deadly animal causing 77 deaths in a 10-year period. So, 7.7 deaths a year.
Next on the list of cute and cuddly but more likely to kill you than a shark were cows, including bulls and cattle, which accounted for 33 deaths, 16 of which, interestingly enough, were during motor vehicle accidents. So, to any cows listening, get off the bloody road!
Number three on the list was man’s best friend, dogs, who killed 27 people from attacks most of which were children under the age of four and the elderly.
And the final unsuspecting death bringer to humans on this list before sharks is the iconic and much beloved Australian kangaroo, which accounted for 18 deaths, albeit, indirectly, through motor vehicle accidents. So, again, Skippy, get off the road!
Place five and six was a tie with bees and sharks both accounting for 16 deaths in a 10-year period. So, 1.6 deaths per year. So, there you go.
Next time you’re second guessing taking a dip at Bondi Beach for fear of being devoured by the tooth-filled gnashing jaws of a shark, remember, that you’re much more likely to die from animals like horses, cows, kangaroos, dogs, and even bees than you are sharks.
So, why do sharks attack humans? Are they hunting us like the movie Jaws famously depicts? The answer is definitely no. Feeding is not the reason that sharks attack humans. In fact, humans don’t provide enough high-fat meat for sharks, which need a lot of energy to power their large muscular bodies. Sharks are just inquisitive animals and have no hands to explore the world around them and these unknown objects that they might stumble across bobbing around in the ocean. Therefore, they’re left with a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth to satiate their curiosity and explore any objects they may come across. Unfortunately, for us though, one simple exploratory nip from a large shark is usually a grievous and life-threatening injury to any human when coming from a great white, a tiger, or a bull shark, the three sharks that are the most common culprits for human fatalities.
Unfortunately, beach-loving Australians are insistent on partaking in one of their favorite pastimes, their favourite hobbies, enjoying the beaches and oceans around the country. And shark attacks often cause hysteria in the media and are quickly commandeered by politicians looking to gain favour and win votes by stirring up fear and promising easy solutions.
This is where the contentious issue of shark nets and drum lines come into play in Australia. Shark nets are often placed in the water to prevent sharks entering certain beaches, but they are criticised by environmentalists and conservationists alike who claim that these nets are extremely destructive to marine life and often harm or even kill sharks, which are an important part of a healthy marine ecosystem.
Drum lines are unmanned aquatic traps used to lure, capture, and kill large sharks using baited hooks connected to floating drums that indiscriminately kill any shark curious enough to take a bite of the bait. They’re often deployed in locations after an attack in the hopes of catching the perpetrating shark that attacked a human or at least reducing the numbers of big sharks in the area. However, like shark nets, drum lines have been heavily criticised as being ineffective, cruel, unethical, non-scientific, and environmentally destructive. One analogy I saw was if a tradie murdered one person and then disappeared, would killing five other Australian tradies at random make Australia safer?
So, finishing up, every time you decide to take a dip in the ocean you’re obviously at risk of a shark attack. True. But you’re much more likely to die from things like kangaroos and horses in car accidents than you are from a shark. So, just be safe, be smart, and if you want to bring your risk to 0%, stay out of the water. Simple as that.
Anyway, guys thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure when you guys join me and listen to these episodes. I know that they’re helping a lot of people. You get back to me, you send me emails, you send me comments on Instagram, on Facebook, and it means a lot to me, guys, and I’ll want to give you a big, big, big thank you from both me and Kel to everyone who gave us their well-wishes and congratulations after the wedding. That really meant a lot to both of us. So, thank you so much, guys, and we were so happy to be able to share that experience with you as well on Instagram and on YouTube.
So, that’s it for this week guys. I hope you enjoy the episode. I hope to see you in the Aussie English Classroom and I will chat to you very soon. See you, guys.