Learn English in this interview episode where I chat with Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English about the differences between American vs Australian English.
Transcript of Lindsay McMahon Interview-done.mp3
G'day you, mob! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. The number one place to learn Australian English. And today, a little bit of American English. So, today my guest is Lindsay McMahon, who is a co-founder of the podcast All Ears English. She's a podcaster, she's an ESL entrepreneur and she's an online IELTS course director.
So, today, Lindsay and I sit back and have a bit of a yarn. We have a bit of a chat about American culture, Australian culture, how we both became podcasters. We also talk about language learning, we talk about Corona virus, unfortunately, too. You guys are probably sick of that and a whole bunch of other things.
Thanks again so much for coming on the podcast, Lindsay, it was an absolute pleasure. And guys, go and check out the All Ears English podcast. You'll be able to find that on any good podcast application and also at www.allearsenglish.com. So, without any further ado, guys, let's get into this episode. Poke that magpie.
G'day, guys, welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I have Lindsay McMahon from All Ears English. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast, Lindsay.
Yeah. Pete, thanks for having me on the show. I'm happy to be here.
So, as listeners can probably tell, you have an American accent, which part of America are you from?
So, I'm from the north east. So, I grew up in a state called New Hampshire a little bit, two hours north of Boston. Yeah.
And, so how's everything going there at the moment with corona virus? Are you stuck inside? I take it, I know you're probably sick of the topic, but how is it all going?
Yes. I mean, as well as it could, right? I mean, it's shocking. It's just been incredible how fast things changed here in the States. I think we didn't have enough preparation, enough warning. And all of a sudden one day everything was cool, and then all of a sudden it was let's hunker down and shelter in place. It was just amazing how how quickly things flipped.
So, do you feel like the community is coming together or does it feel like one of those things that's divided you? Because in Australia, we had, as you probably know, these bushfires that came through over the summer and that brought the community together. And now we've had Corona virus come through and it feels like everyone's like 'you're on your own'.
Oh, interesting. Ok, so that's strange that people are, well, I could see how people are kind of there is a lot of social isolation happening, but it's on purpose. But I actually feel like other things are happening that are interesting. We're becoming closer through technology, like I've been Facetiming with my family. My nieces called me twice today, right? And we normally just speak like once every three weeks. And, so that's really nice that I'm always getting calls from my family now and my friends and Skype dates and things like that. That never happened before. So, that's kind of cool.
Yeah. Yeah, that's true. I keep wondering what it's going to be like for working from home, because for a long time businesses have been trying to outsource, right? And get more people to work from home or at least they're getting pressure on them to do that. You wonder, once the Corona virus clears up, how many businesses are going to be like, oh we actually survived that ok, people can work from home and we move into that sort of new age.
Yeah, I do think there's going to be a big shift in business. It's hard to see exactly which businesses will make that shift, but I think a lot is going to come out of this. It just depends on how long this goes on, right? This isolation. So, we'll see. Yeah.
And how do you feel as a podcaster? Do you feel like, yes, I pick the right profession to ride through a pandemic like this.
There definitely is a feeling of I kind of always had a feeling something was going to eventually make me feel like this was the right choice, just because the culture was moving online. But yeah, I do feel like, I feel not much has changed in my daily workflow, which is nice, but it is hard to see, I have a good friend who has a restaurant in Boston and shut down completely. It's hard to see that.
Can you do takeaway or it's just completely shut down?
Yeah, he's more situated in the corporate section of Boston, so he relies on catering the corporations and walkthroughs at lunchtime. So, he's shut down for now. So, my heart goes out to people like that, you know?
Yeah. Yeah, that's the brutal side of it, I think. There's a lot of people at the moment, you know, trying to get welfare now, not being able to pay rent. And you're like, far out, and no idea that a virus, a cold virus, could have this kind of effect on the economy, right? It just seems insane.
Yeah, it's insane. It's insane.
So, how did you end up a podcaster? What's your story? Obviously, you know, you went through high school, I assume you went to university. And I'm imagining you got educated in something completely different like I did from podcasting. How did you end up here today as a podcaster?
Yeah. No one gets a degree in podcasting, right? I mean, not now.
Yeah, right? How did I end up as a podcaster? It all kind of, It's one thing after another, right? You never imagine it, but one thing leads to the next.
I studied psychology in my undergraduate and then I after college, I travelled a lot. I lived in Japan for a year and a half. I lived in South America for a year, I studied abroad in Paris. So, I really wanted, I liked the international lifestyle and I love, I taught ESL when I was abroad. I taught English in Japan, and I also had a father that was entrepreneur. My dad was actually an optometrist, a private practice optometrist. So, a big part of his career was business building. And so I always saw that when I was a kid, when I was like seven, he said to me, don't you know, don't work for anyone, be your own boss. That was the whole, that was the teaching.
Like the underlying message I got as a kid and it manifested later in life after having travelled and taught English. And then the third piece was that I love listening to podcasts. So, I thought, oh, let's start a podcast. Why not?
What was that like? Did people think you were crazy? And was the process of learning how to podcast really difficult?
Well, it was 2013, so not a lot of people were doing it. I was working with another English teacher in Boston at the time we started the show together. She ended up leaving after a year, but we figured it out together wasn't easy. We found the one tutorial online that was showing how to get on i-Tunes and the one person that was teaching this and we just did the best we could. We figured it out. So, yeah.
No. I love this. I love being behind the mic. I mean, really, not, no. I don't have any regrets. I'm happy that I've done this. Sometimes working from home can be a little isolating, you know?
Sometimes I wish I had my co-workers. I mean, they're in Oregon and New Jersey and Arizona, I wish they were right here, but it's ok, I can survive.
I feel you, I feel you. It's hard to find people too, like you and I who are doing similar things to getting inspiration from or to even just whinge about your problems. Like I'll talk to my wife or my family about podcasting issues or content creation, and they'll just be like, ok...
Yeah, that's, and I think that's a problem that entrepreneurs in general, whether you're podcasting or whether you're building anything, struggle with. Like talking to your about your business with your partner is tough. It's just hard for people to understand what you're really going through for sure, but it's worth it.
Do you think this is the future too? Do you think that podcasting has reached its limit? Do you think it's going to keep going? Do you think there are more people who are going to end up having their own businesses at home, you know, sharing knowledge about something more specific and turning that into a career?
I think so. I think so, yeah. I mean, it's interesting how the market goes through like consolidation cycles, right? I think that podcasting has become crowded, but there's always space for new ideas and more specific ideas, because it still hasn't penetrated the full mainstream of listenership, right? There are more listeners to come.
So, there could be more shows to come. But I do think that as podcasters, we can't rest on our laurels. Like we can't sit back and just keep podcasting, we're trying to expand into like Amazon, Alexa, trying to get our show on Alexa in different countries, so that we're really following the technology trends and starting to get ahead of how people are going to want to listen and consume and learn after podcasting, right? It's not the last thing. So, yeah.
What do you think language learning is sort of heading then? Do you think it is just slowly being absorbed by new technologies more and more and more? Because it's the most efficient way now is just to use it on your phone or when you're in your dead time.
Yeah, I think it is. I think it's less in the classroom and with the textbook and more like integrated with your daily life, like it's in your car because you have Alexa in your car and maybe it's coming out of a speaker out of your refrigerator because you have, you know, some AI assistant. They're kind of the way that technology is going to bleed into our lives, I think learning can, too, if we can work with those technologies, right?
Yeah. for sure. And what are the, from your listenership, what do you get as feedback in terms of how they use the podcasts? Do they tend to most of them be listening to it when they go to work or do you get a feeling that it's just a mix of all kinds of different situations?
Yeah, I think a lot of our listeners definitely tune in when they go to work. I think that's a big thing on the train, we have a lot of listeners in Japan, so they'll listen on the train 15, 20 minutes in the morning. But they tell us they walk their dog and listen, and while they're doing laundry. That's the cool thing about a podcast. You can listen whenever you want to and you don't have to be 100 percent focussed on that, right? You can be doing something else in parallel, which I actually think is a great way to learn a language. It's that kind of indirect way of learning that you're starting to just internalise the language just by listening in the background, which is, you know, that's a key learning principle.
For sure, it's like the best version of immersion when you're not actually immersed in a in a culture, right?
Yeah, because we don't have to panic if we don't understand everything. You know, that's the key.
So, did you learn any languages whilst you were travelling around or at school?
Yeah, definitely, definitely. So, when I lived in Japan, I studied it. I took the JLBT level four, so which is the beginner, beginner level. But it was like a goal that I had set, right? I wanted to do something with Japanese. So, I studied that.
So, was it the first language you started learning or?
No, I mean, I had learned French in school, but, you know, I studied it in Paris. But these school languages in the US are not the best.
That's the same same story here.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. That was kind of the first real language I took upon myself to learn. And then while I was travelling in South America, I definitely immersed myself in Spanish, I lived within in an all Spanish house in Argentina. And really just took that on as a personal project for sure. What about you, Pete? Have you learned any languages?
Yeah. So, I speak French and Portuguese. My wife's from Brazil and, so we just speak Portuguese and at home, but I was going to say with with Japanese, Jesus, that's jumping in the deep end in terms of how difficult, you know, especially if that was one of your first languages. That's a very, I've heard that's a very difficult language to learn.
Yeah, it's really hard to read. There's so many characters, but it's fine. I don't know, language learning is just fun, right?
It's fun to be able to make that effort and connect with people, even if you're still at that very beginner level. It's just, it's a blast, I think.
Well, I wanted to get on to it because I had a feeling that you'd have some experience with Spanish. What is it like in the US? Because you guys have a massive population that speaks Spanish, right?A Hispanic population. Is that considered effectively a second language in the US?
Yeah, I think it may even be moving into like the predominant, I mean, the majority language at some point in the future.
Maybe. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know the numbers, but yes, it is definitely and a lot of people study it in school, first of all, but they don't study it well. So, then they have to go out and learn. But a lot of people my age, like, in their thirties we'll take it upon themselves to, as like a career skill, maybe they work out in the community, they're teachers, they want to communicate with their kids parents, right? In that case, they would try to learn, for sure. I think a lot of people are using apps like Duolingo now to do that on their own. They really are. So, for sure.
Yeah, it's a good springboard, isn't it? To sort of at least get into it. But it is a shame that schools and how they teach languages tends to be a bad beginning for most people. Leaves a bit of a bad taste in their mouth, right?
Well, I think for a lot of our listeners, too, they've had that same experience, right? That's, in my mind, that's what we're trying to do at All Ears English is like combat that work against that. Give them another way to look at learning. It doesn't have to be drudgery. It doesn't have to be panic inducing, right?
Exactly. So, what are your sort of tips and tricks, I guess, for for learning a language? Because, you know, I imagine that you have students come to you and say, I've done seven years at school and I still suck, I can't have a proper conversation. Like, is it may. Am I learning incorrectly? What sort of advice would you say to them when they come to you with those sorts of problems?
Yeah. I mean, I think so for a lot of our listeners, if you're at a level where you can already have a conversation, you have enough vocabulary, then we always tell them to focus on connection, not perfection. That's kind of our trade markets, our thing. That's what we say because it works. If you can sit there and you can, ok, in any given moment, you can decide what to focus on.
If you're focussing on the mistakes you're making, you're getting nervous, you're getting yourself tongue tied and you're paralysed. But if you choose to focus on that person in front of you and end the humanness between you, right? Like what makes you human and what are your common goals and your common fears?
Whatever it is, then that's connection. And that's the whole point of learning a language, right?
Yes. So, that's the first thing, and then I think having a method, one of our things that we say is use real English input, meaning get your material from the real world, whether that's a course that's been built based on native speaker language or whether it's just a real native podcast where you listen to natural conversation. Not scripted textbook English and then having a study plan, right? Making sure that you have strategies to learn from that material and not just like flailing, trying to understand it, you actually have a strategy and a study plan.
Exactly. Exactly. That deliberate learning, right? As opposed to just, you know, Pat Rafter, who is one of our most famous tennis players, didn't just show up to the tennis court and play tennis. You know, I'm practicing. It would be I'm going with the specific goal in mind in terms of what I have to work on to get to the next level.
Yeah, that guy has been around forever, hasn't he? A Pat Rafter. I feel like I used to follow...
Andre Agassi and him, biggest nemesis, right? They they were the one who were always, you know, in the finals.
Yeah. I used to follow a lot of tennis and play a lot of tennis as in the 90s. So, I really remember his name. Yeah. That's so funny. I mean, and so then the last piece for us is, is being able to use it. So, it's like you have the good materials, the natural materials, you have a study plan and strategies. And then you use it, you don't wait to be perfect. You go out into the world and you practice, you dive in. Because we could study forever until we feel like we're perfect, we're never going to get there. You have to go out and start using.
This is a really interesting point, too, because I've got a son at the moment who's 10, almost 10 months old, and you don't see him having paralysis from analysis when he's trying to walk, when he's trying to talk. He just does it and does it badly and then gets better and better and better.
Why do you think it is that adults get to that point where we've obviously gone through the stage of learning a sport, learning a language and just, you know, doing the brute force, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, embracing them, getting better, but when we become adults, we sort of really shy away from that kind of thing because we don't want to be beginners anymore. What do you think it is?
Yeah, I mean, I think it's exactly, that's the tragedy, right? That's what we're trying to undo by creating spaces like for the live events that we've held over the years in Japan and New York, right? We try to create a space where we can forget about that, that self-consciousness. But I guess it's just a natural like as we develop as people, my mom's a child psychologist, so she'd probably say like around age seven or eight, we develop a sense of like self-consciousness. And I think that's where it starts, right? Where we're second guessing ourselves. Am I okay? Right?
People are judging me. Oh, my God.
Yeah. I think it gets worse and worse the older we get. So, like, so what we try to do is how can we take our listeners like focus off of that and focus on something else? Right? So, it's not like we're learning to learn English, we're learning to do something else that's more important than just learning the language, which is connection.
It's so important to reinforce that, right, too, because I think, especially with me in Portuguese, the moment I just let go and start focussing on mistakes and got out of my own head and stopped worrying about being perfect and worried much more about connecting and communicating, my skills suddenly really improved quickly and it felt much more effortless because it wasn't me grinding and feeling bad. I would just talk and communicate and I didn't care anymore. Like, that helped build confidence too, right?
Did you learn that in Brazil or was that...?
I've never been, I've never been to Brazil. So, I learned on with Duolingo to begin with. I was doing Jiu Jitsu and I had met a lot of Brazilians and that was the sort of motivation to begin. And then I met my wife on online though the podcast.
Yeah. We just like, can we do a language exchange? And we ended up moving into a house with other Brazilians. And I just said, no more English, no more English. I just, I need to push because her whole family doesn't speak English, so.
Perfect, yeah, you had a reason.
Exactly, exactly. And that's so important too, right? Working out why you're doing this and understanding, you know, the reason for which you're learning English or Portuguese or whatever language it is.
Yeah. I love what you say, like letting go, right? Understanding your why and letting go. Those are such key points right there. Yeah.
So, I got you in today, obviously to talk a bit more about American English. Is there just one American English?
Oh, my Gosh. No. No, I don't think there is, right? It's such a big country. And you'd probably say there isn't one Australian English either.
I think you guys crap on us, to be honest, in terms of your diversity and your culture and just the structure, the accents, the dialects, we don't have anywhere near the same kind of complexity that you guys have in the US. It's effectively broad two general accents all over the place, but you guys have, what? Something like 20, 30 different dialects or different accents.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's why I said it's a huge country. That's why maybe part of why we're having a hard time getting it together right now during the Corona virus, because we are such a big country and we have so many different ways of life and ideas about how things should happen. But that's a side point. So, yeah, it's fascinating. I mean, that's why a couple years ago I actually took a road trip around the US and we made a course, actually, we created a course based on these interviews.
And our listeners get a chance to hear like Southern English, right? From the deep South and California and New York City is right... So, there is a lot of variety. So, there isn't one American English for sure.
How have these accents manifested themselves? Is it similar to Great Britain, where you had towns, locations of people that just didn't move very much and that was what maintain these these dialects and accents? Is that the same in the US where you've obviously had immigration from Britain hundreds of years ago, but then after that, they've sort of stayed in their towns and that's how these accents and dialects have developed?
I do think that is there is something to that. If you, have you seen the movie Good Will Hunting?
A long time ago, but yeah.
Ok, I just rewatched it actually on Saturday, because we were home and, you know, you can't go out, so it's on TV.
Is Matt Damon, right?
Yeah. And you can hear the, so let's just take Boston as an example, you can hear the Southie, the point is habit, right? He is from Southie, which is a neighbourhood in South Boston. It's a very, it's a working-class neighbourhood. And you could tell he was a kid who was a janitor at M.I.T., he was an orphan. And, so it's a certain, it's a certain neighbourhood. And I do feel like there may be less movement, like there maybe families that end up staying in that town and having kids in that part of Boston, whereas he would cross the river and go over to Cambridge, where you have people from all over the US and all over the world coming to attend Harvard.
And you don't hear that Southie accent across the river in Cambridge. There is no real accent for Cambridge. So, just looking at that as an example, I do think there's something to like not moving as much. Keeping your family rooted in one part of the country, one part of a city that would create, because it's a drastic difference between the standard American English and the Southie accent.
It's insane, right? Because my parents are into family history and they have been looking at ours in Great Britain and it's only been 100 hundred years or two that we've actually had the capacity to move tens of kilometres, let alone thousands of kilometres, right? Most of my family throughout my history probably only went within walking distance of a town, you know?
Things have changed so much. Things have changed so much since we've gotten air travel and, I don't know, we'll see what happens in the future. Will these accents start to die out? And will there be a more general across the board standard American accent or stand with?
That's what I wanted to ask. Have you noticed any of that happening in your lifetime since connectivity now is just off the planet? Right? With social media, you and I contacting one another thousands of kilometres away, is the accent disappearing, is culture becoming more homogenised in the US?
Maybe. Maybe in certain parts like where I live now is a good example, Denver. Denver is a place that a lot of people want to move to as transplants. We use the term transplant? I'm a transplant. Meaning I have moved.
How did you end up in Denver, though? That's Texas, right?
No. It's not Texas. No, no, no. Denver is not Texas at all. Please, c'mon. That is so insulting. No, Texas is great. I like Texas too.
It's not. No, it's Colorado. So, Denver is in Colorado and it's in the west and the Rocky Mountain West, I ended up here a friend of mine and I, we moved here from Boston. So, we met there, moved here together, and yeah, my point is it's a city of transplants. There are people that want to live here because there are great breweries, there are great mountains to climb, if you like, hiking or skiing, it's a great place to be. But there's not much of an accent here. I haven't really heard any accent. So, in places where there's a lot of movement in and out, the accent is going to get watered down. It's just a standard American accent here.
That's crazy. Do you notice different uses of words in different places, different slang, or does it tend to be the same stuff all over the place?
I think, I mean, there is some general slang that goes across the entire country and I have a couple of things to share today, but there are also very specific words that I'm sure you could get out of Southie, right? Or out of Brooklyn, I don't know, San Francisco or something. Yeah, it just depends.
Before we get into those, one of the things that I find the most interesting is black culture versus white culture and how there are words, accents and slang that are almost used based on race, as opposed to where you're from, right? It's really interesting because my wife being from Brazil, she's like, we don't have that in Brazil. You know, we had 10 times the number of slaves were in Brazil. They have a huge black population, but there's no, there's no differentiation like that.
In terms of slang that they use within the community or?
Across race, yeah, like that, at least as far as I know. They don't have the same kind of, you know, you listen to a Joe Rogan podcast and quite often you can hear if one of the guests is black before you've even heard his name or her name or seen him because they have a different accent quite often, right? It's so interesting to see how that sort of stuff in language happens.
It's fascinating. I think like language is endlessly fascinating. It's great. It's great.
So, what are some of these words that you wanted to share with us today? Get into that.
I mean, I think it's just interesting the idea of words being in style and being trendy. And sometimes brands might make a mistake and use a word that was cool 10 years ago and they label something as that, and then it's no longer cool. You know what I mean? It loses its coolness So, well, one is the word 'super'. So, we're still, this is very much in style, and I don't know if in Australia you guys are using this the way we are right now.
It's a funny situation where I don't know if you guys are aware of it, but I think you guys are kind of like the family that's inside the house eating well. And the rest of the world is the person outside in the cold looking through the window at the Americans.
Oh my God, that's awful.
In terms of this sort of stuff. So, I think, you guys don't know how much we watch you guys, like maybe a better analogy would be the animal in the tank, right? You know, especially if you're Trump, he's inside of a tank.
That's terrifying right now, based on our leadership, you should not, please don't watch us. Don't pay attention to what's happening right now.
The average Australian probably knows more about American politics than Australian politics.
About American than Australian, interesting.
Yeah. 100%. So, all we talk about, all that's on the news quite often is American politics. So, that's why we know so much of your language and we start using it. So, things like 'super cool', 'super fun', 'super awesome'. We would never say it, I don't think, maybe the younger generation might if they picked it up, but we know because we watch so many of your movies and TV shows.
Ok. That's interesting. I'm just curious, why is it? Do you think it's because of the movies, because of Hollywood, that people do look at the US in such a close way? Or why is it? I've always kind of wondered that.
You guys, you guys are the most powerful country in the world, right? The, you know, the freedom, it's America, everyone's just looks up to guys. I mean, who knows what's going to happen in the near future with obviously Russia and China and other countries coming up. But yeah, I think, and you're just a powerhouse of content creation in terms of movies, music, TV shows. So, I grew up watching Friends, watching Seinfeld, all of those TV shows that, you know, based in California, in New York. And so you just learn so much about the country and it just becomes ingrained. You don't even think about it, but I can tell you where Texas is, where California is, probably their capitals, but you would ask, what's the capital of Australia? Most Americans would say, oh, Sydney.
That's awesome. I love it. Well, it's true. Yeah. I mean, it's kind of nice, though, that we grew up watching the same things, Friends, and that could bring us together across cultures. I like that. Seinfeld is hilarious, by the way.
It's good stuff.
It's amazing, and it's funny because even foreigners, right? People learning, people speaking different languages love Seinfeld, love Friends, love all those TV shows. And, so at least they get that connection.
Yeah, that is a connection.
Yeah. So tell us some more about these words. How would you use 'super' as an intensifier?
Yeah. So, we were saying things like 'oh, man. It is super hot in here' or 'it's super cold. I'm super excited about the party this week' and we are just these days and, I've noticed this in the last two to three years, we're putting it in front of everything. That was super delicious. There's not any one chunkier. It's not any one, you know, word. It's everything. We use it for everything.
Do you just say 'super' as well? If someone were to say to you, 'I saw this movie, oh super', would you ever have say that?
No, never. That's the point. Never, never, never, never. We used to. So, that sounds very 1980s to me. We use that 'super' or 'swell', right? In the 70s it was 'that's swell'. Now, I don't know how old you are, but you know, I was born in 81.
Ok, so, you're an 80s baby, like mid 80s, late 80s baby. In the 70s, people would say 'that's swell', right? But in the 80s, 'that's super'. We wouldn't say that anymore.
It's so funny how those words and slang terms and expressions kind of get out because your parents were using them. And so you hear it and you're like that's so like...that's lame, we would say 'daggy' in Australia, which is like embarrassing, you know, 'tacky', 'tacky', I think you guys would say.
Interestingly, sorry to interrupt you. We would say 'as', we would put 'as, at the end, so if you were to say 'this was super fun', Australians would say 'this is fun as'.
Oh, interesting, I've never heard that. Oh, wow.
It's as if you were saying it was as fun as something very fun.
But there's nothing else.
Yeah, there's nothing else. You just say 'it's hot as today, man, it's hot as'. 'It's cold as'.
Or 'that's fun as'.
That's cool, I want to steal some of these.
I've always wondered like how these language trends get started. I'd like to kind of steal one of yours and just start saying it and see what happens.
Selfie, you already did it.
We did, we did. At what point do you hit that inflection point, that tipping point where everyone starts to use it? Right?
Well, it's funny how, even though you guys use 'super' like crazy, if I would start using that, people would look at me as if I was very strange because I'm doing it with an Australian accent. If I had an American accent, it's like you get permission. The same as if you came here and like, 'g'day, mate'.
I say that on a daily basis, but if you do it, everyone's like, are you making fun of me?
I love that. I love that. So, that's fascinating when we take a word that was used in one way before and is used in a different way. Like now as an intensifier. So, good stuff. Yeah.
Do you say 'more' a lot as well? I noticed that Americans tend to use, instead of saying 'bigger', they'll say 'more big', or instead of saying 'smellier', they'll say 'more smelly'. I noticed them splitting those things where l'll think but we've got a single word for that. You just put the IER on the end of it.
Yeah. I mean, I guess if they're, we've talked about that, I mean, in terms of grammar, right? If there are more than, you know, I think too constantly, like, obviously is 'more interesting, you would never say 'interestinger'.
Right. The longer words, but that's grammatical, so you're asking more in a slangy way if we're just kind of...
Well, I hear people say like 'more small. Oh yeah. It's more small'. And I'd be like why isn't it just smaller?
No, I mean, maybe some people, I won't speak for everyone in the US, I don't know, some people might be doing that. People are doing weird things with language, right? But that's cool, I mean, I think language can be creative. I think what a lot of our listeners have learned growing up is like it's there's one way, right? There's a right way and a wrong way. Well, what we like to teach is be little creative with their language. Take some liberty, try something new, challenge people, don't just follow the rules all the time, you know?
Exactly. You might create something new and it might take of.
Yeah, why not? I'm going to start saying 'interesting as' or 'cool as', 'hot as' today.
Let me know how they respond. I want to know if they go 'are you saying arse or are you saying as?' , like 'interesting as'. So, what's the next word? Keep going.
So, this word 'epic', I think is interesting. Also used as kind of an adjective originally when it came into style. I feel like it came into style 15 or 20 years ago or maybe 15 years ago, right? It's 'epic' or just 'that is epic', 'epic trip', 'an epic journey'. And I think a lot of... for example, my friend works for Vale and they have a pass called the 'Epic Pass'. So, the point is they took that word when it was cool, turn into the name of a product. And now I'm like... It's kind of, I'm not so sure about it anymore, right? You know, you get ingrained with a product name when the words kind of already gone out of style.
It's funny that you wonder how much that does make it go out of style. Too many people's not using it.
It's no longer really special. Exactly. And then you're like, this is, the man who's taking control of my word.
Right, right. And then almost instantaneously makes it uncool. I think that's what it is when it becomes commercialised. Yeah.
And we use that, soo I think, too, this is the funny thing. So, we do take certain things that you guys say, things like oh 'fail' or 'epic fail'.
Epic fail. Yeah, yeah.
And we totally like, it's funny because Australians probably think, oh, that's just English, but it's like, no, we've taken that from Americans, who first created that.
Interesting. So, that's a good one. That's a good example. And then my last example was just something that people are saying a lot now is 'low key'.
I just want like a low key evening. Let's just stay in, hang out, cook dinner. I think a lot of people in their thirties when they talk about the lifestyle they want, like, I don't really want to go to nightclubs anymore. I wanted to in my 20s, right? Tokyo, you want to go out dancing, I just want a low key evening with friends, wine, cooking dinner together. So, this is a good vocabulary word for your listeners if they want to communicate their lifestyle and how they want to connect with people, spend time.
Everything's definitely low key at the moment with coronavirus, right?
Almost too low key. I just wonder how we're going to feel, if we're still here, like holed up, hunkered..., do you guys use the term 'hunkered down'?
100%. Yeah, and again, we would've gotten this from you.
Really? OK. I wasn't sure where it came from.
One of the best ones that I've heard that I use sometimes, but again, this is sort of as a joke, 'giterdone' (get her done).
Get her done! That's great. I love that.
Can you explain how you would use that? Because, and is it 'get her done', right? Get her done. And you have to it with a southern accent. 'Get her down, Skeeter!'
That's a good one. That's a good add. The way I understand that term is just get it done, like complete something, accomplished something, but I like that term. It's kind of, it kind of goes back to the value. I guess this is kind of an American cultural value of the task list. If you've had a successful day, you've completed your task list, gotten things done, you've... action like a kind of a bias towards action. I think that is definitely a cultural value we have.
Yeah, true, it is so funny how we take all those things from you guys, though. Do yo you ever feel like, I mean, how do you see your role as Americans in terms of your influence on the rest of the world? That was one of the things I wanted to ask you. Do you appreciate the amount of cultural export that you guys, you know, send across the world? Or does it become just this thing that, you know, foreigners come to America and they'll say, oh, I've been watching Friends since I was a kid? And you be like, what?
Yeah, I really like the idea, I love challenging stereotypes. I think there are a lot of stereotypes that people might have about Americans, like thinking we eat Big Macs every night, you know?
I was expecting you to be massively overweight, you know. Lindsay, what happened?
Well, I haven't gotten there yet. Luckily, I actually have lost weight over the last 20 years or so. Yeah.
As opposed to the normal trend.
As opposed to the normal.
No, we don't, it's fun to challenge stereotypes and in any direction, right? It's really, I love doing that. So, but I also feel like Americans have so much to learn from the rest of the world, obviously, right? I mean, we need to travel more. We need to learn languages, we can't just stay in our country and rest on our laurels, right?
It's very weird, though, because I think all of the Americans that I've ever met in person in Australia, not in America, are all left leaning Democratic voters. Trump haters, like it's so funny how if you were to go to America, depending on where you went, you'd probably get a different view of the country. Whereas if you never went to America and you only met the ones that came to you, again, you would get a completely different view of...
What American is. What are some of the stereotypes that you guys get? Good or bad.
Like, from people coming to the US from abroad?
Yeah, yeah. Just assumptions about what you guys are like. The overweight person who eats too many burgers and doesn't know where Canada is, right? Is a massive stereotype.
Exactly, exactly. I think, you know, not just this independent minded way, and I think a lot of people are pretty independent minded in the US. I mean, all stereotypes are based on some kind of truth, right? But I do think, now more and more, people are trying to get to know their neighbours and create community in their neighbourhood or, we need community as human beings, right?
We're losing it, right?
We're losing it. Yeah. I think, I hope that right now the political situation we're in is temporary and this is a blip on the radar, that we're going to move past. I mean, I'm pushing for Joe Biden, right? In 2020. So, I'm just praying that Trump will be gone and the way that we've presented ourselves to the world, trust me, I lose sleep over this, and I think the average American does lose sleep over it.
So do we, dude, so do we.
Yeah, it's like when you think he hasn't done, when you think he's at his max of craziness, he does something else crazier.
It's that joke, right? How do you know when Trump's lying? His lips are moving.
His lips are moving.
You know, I remember that day, the night that Obama got elected, I was in tears. Everyone was in tears. He was, I mean, not everyone agreed with his politics, but I think the way he represented the country made us proud.
He just looked like the kind of guy that you could talk to, and he would be a friend. He would seem like a good guy, he would throw himself in front of a bus to save a child, whatever. Whereas Trump, he wouldn't even blink, right? I feel like he just would not even give you the time of day. He doesn't care about anyone but himself.
Yeah, it's unbelievable. So, I hate to go to like kind of just venting on politics, but that is a big part of what we're going through right now as Americans in terms of the way the world sees us and the stereotypes, and I want to push back, but then we've elected this person that is our worst stereotypes across the board, right? He represents the worst in us. I mean, I'm sorry to say that, luckily we have freedom of speech, and I can't say that.
We'll see about next year.
How much has he changed language in America, too? Because he had, you know, they have these slogans when they're obviously going to be elected, and he had what, 'make America great again'. That seemed to suddenly just shoot into the Zeitgeist, right? And suddenly become something that people were using all over the place. Australia will use it as a joke, you know, 'make Australia great again' and everyone suddenly gets it. There's these cultural references of references of references.
Yeah, that's interesting.
It's crazy, isn't it?
Yeah, I don't know if that originally was, I think there was another president that had that for, I think it might have been Reagan who actually had that phrase, I have to look that up, we're watching some documentaries on past presidents a few weekends ago, and I remember hearing one of the presidents in the 70s or 80s was using that phrase, you could look it up. But anyways, yeah, I mean, it's gotten into our language.
But Trump's voting base is a very specific group. They watch one news channel, that's Fox News, to be totally honest. And Fox News is a machine designed to help Trump get reelected, it's like a propaganda machine. I mean, we see through this, we know exactly what's going on, but it's really hard to get through to people. And that's why I think it's important, but there are certain issues that I think we need to try to understand, right? So, gun control is a good example of issues where I think we could find a middle ground if we could talk about this, but we don't talk anymore. We live in our silos.
I was chatting to my dad the other day about this, and a again, we can finish up soon, but I would love to hear it from the horse's mouth, right? From an American. What's with you guys and guns? Is it the fact that you had a war with England and then a civil war in your own country as well, where it was obviously, you know, you had your Declaration of Independence?
Because it seems like it's the Second Amendment, right? That allows you the right to bear arms, but it was an amendment, why can't you change it today? So, can you talk a bit about the culture with guns and why they're so important to the average American, or at least a large population of Americans, whether it's the average or not.
Yeah, I think that, honestly, what it goes back to, it's hard, it may not be as much about guns themselves, it may be more about the idea of government oversight and the government reaching in and telling me what I can't have, what I can't do. That's the big hot-button issue with a lot of Americans, especially older, the older generation. I think this country was founded on the idea of I can establish my own life, the government shouldn't be stepping in and telling me what I can and can't do, like, lower taxes, that kind of thing. And, so I think that's really what it's about, actually. Less about the actual guns themselves.
It's just that's where they've decided to plant the flag and be like, this is where I'm going to fight over, you know, this is my hill. This is what I'm going to die on. It's going to be this issue.
Well, that's my guess. And then in a practical sense, what's actually happening, right, is the reality of the lobbying in Washington. I mean, because no one wants assault, I don't think anyone thinks that assault weapons should be in normal people's hands, right? Like no one believes that even, you know, except for the strongest, strongest, most staunch gun allies, I think most people believe that assault weapons should be banned.
But there gets to be so much lobbying money in Washington and these politicians are already bought off before they're even elected. That's the sad part. Why can't we get after Sandy Hook? Why can't we pass smart gun control measures? It's because of the lobbying industry.
Well, it's so sad, right? Because Sandy Hook was whether twenty four children were shot to death, right? In a primary school, and Obama broke down, I remember seeing that on TV. And he was trying so hard to just change anything and just gotten nowhere.
Just got nowhere. It's the biggest issue, you can't touch that issue if you're a politician. You just can't even go near it, unfortunately.
So, finishing on a positive note. What makes you proud to be American?
Oh, man, I am proud of the fact that all comes back to All Ears English, right? I'm proud that we could build All Ears English, and I have a huge dreams for All Ears English, right? What? Where are we going to go? Big virtual high five there. You know how we're going to take over the world? How people are going to learn English in a way that focuses on connection? In a positive way that we can do this. And I think the economy, the fact that entrepreneurship is encouraged still, thank goodness, in the US, that's helped me.
My dad was an entrepreneur, like I said, a small business owner. From the age of seven I was getting messages, do your own thing, start something, create a, to quote Seth Godin, this is a Seth Godin quote, "The dent in the universe." Make a ruckus. Do something big, right? And I think that, I do owe that partly to the culture in the US. So, that's what I'm proud of. Proudest of, yeah.
And yeah, you're doing an amazing job with All Ears English. You guys are massive. Where can people find out more about your podcast? And who should be listening to your podcast?
Yeah. You guys can find us over All Ears English, so just go, if you're listening inside the podcast, just search for All Ears English where we publish four days a week and you can subscribe right there. Who should listen to us? It would be students who are at that intermediate to advance level, right? If you don't want to be speaking classroom or textbook English, you feel like you finally want to connect with the language, not just recite vocabulary and rote pronunciation. That's who should listen to us. Those are our listeners.
Definitely. You guys are doing an amazing job and I really like your podcasts because so many podcasts seem to be focussed on the beginners, and they forget about the people who get past that stage, to the intermediate to very advanced. And you guys are creating content about all sorts of different topics, you know, all the time to really force listeners to just take that next step, get out of their comfort zone and level out.
Exactly. We're having a blast doing it. So.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Lindsay, for joining me today. Guys, make sure to check out her podcast, All Ears English, because we did a podcast just beforehand on Australian slang and I had her guess some of the meanings.
Yeah. Thanks for having me on the show today, Pete. This has been a blast.
My pleasure. There's another one for you, 'a blast'.
That's a timeless one, a timeless one.
Exactly, thanks, Lindsay.
Alright, thanks. Take care. Bye.
Alright, guys. That's it for today. Once again, thank you so much, Lindsay, for coming on the podcast. It was a pleasure chatting to you guys. Don't forget to go and check out my episode on Lindsay's podcast, All Ears English, where we chat a little bit about Australian slang, and I kind of test her on whether or not she understands these slang words in English and what they would mean in American English. It's a great episode, go check that out, guys. And until next time, I wish you all the best. See ya!
Here's what you get when you sign up!
- Read while you listen using the Premium Podcast player.
- Understand every word in every episode.
- Download all PDF transcripts and MP3s for 600+ episodes.
- Get access to bonus member-only episodes.