Ep003: Introductions part 3

G’day guys and welcome to episode number three of Aussie English. I’m still sitting here in Royal Park looking at the CBD, at the city of Melbourne across the road from my House. I thought I would tell you a little bit more about me, your host, Peter Smissen, on Aussie English. So, I’m a 28-year-old guy who lives in Melbourne one of Australia’s largest city. I think currently we have about four million people who live in Melbourne. It’s the end of summer at the moment, so it’s a beautiful day today. I think it’s probably about 20 degrees Celsius, the Sun’s out, it’s just past lunch time. I’m watching some kids and their families play in front of a big mound in the middle of the park. So, it’s a pretty happy cheerful atmosphere today. It’s a nice day to be recording a podcast.

So, more about me. I grew up down the coast. So, down near the ocean away from Melbourne. So, Melbourne is the main city, the capital city of Victoria, which is a state located at the very bottom righthand corner of Australia, just above Tasmania but on the mainland. On the main continent, the main part of the continent of Australia. And I grew up about a hundred kilometres away from here down the coast closer to the actual ocean. So, Melbourne is situated on Port Phillip Bay which is a really really large bay in the middle of Victoria, and it’s about seventy kilometres away from the actual ocean. So, I grew up down there, down the coast, pretty much one of those stereotypical Australian kids who went to the beach all the days of the week. [I] used to surf, used to body-board, used to get sunburn quite a bit. Yeah, [I] loved it. It was…I lived in a town called Ocean Grove, and yeah it was an absolutely beautiful environment. And I went to school in the second biggest city in Victoria called Geelong, and then after that I moved to Melbourne to do my science degree. So I studied science at university for three and a half years, and then I did my masters degree in biology, and then that lead me to my PhD which I’m currently finishing in evolutionary biology. So I won’t go too much into my PhD, my doctorate, because I know that it will probably be relatively boring. But if you’re interested in learning more about that you can always ask, comment, send me a message and I’ll record a podcast going into a little bit more about my PhD thesis and the questions that I’m asking about evolutionary biology.

So yeah, aside from that, during my PhD I sort of fell in love with the main hobbies that I do today, so the main activities that I do in day-to-day life. So I started… when I started my PhD I’d actually come out of a break up with a girl and decided to lose a bit of weight and get fit. So I joined a gym and at that gym after I sort of did weights and started to get fit they offered MMA, which is Mixed Martial Arts as well as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, which is a form of grappling or wrestling where you use submissions or holds to submit your opponent. So you get them to, what we call, “tap”, effectively tap your [own] body and say “I give in. You’ve got me to a point where I could be injured if I don’t, you know, submit”. And so, I do Brazilian Jiu-jitsu quite a bit at the moment. [I] absolutely fell in love with that sport. It’s really really entertaining and intellectual and I find that it’s aside from just using your body physically you have to really really think about what you’re wanting to achieve against your opponent when you guys fight. So, it’s kind of like Judo except that when you throw someone and get them on the ground you continue to fight until one of you submits the other person. And so, there’s actually quite a bit to think about and achieve before you can get to a position where you can submit another person.

Anyway. So I absolutely fell in love with that sport, and have been doing that now for probably about three years, and yeah, on a similar note to that… So, jiu-jitsu I kind of find it’s like a language. It’s like learning a language except you’re not only having to learn to… you’re learning to speak it, but the speaking is the physical aspect of it. You’re having to learn to move and how to breathe and how to do all of the different positions and everything. So it really feels like a language in that sense but it’s for your body. And so after about a year of doing jiu-jitsu I decided to start relearning French because I had actually suddenly found myself with a lot of friends at jiu-jitsu who were from France and spoke French obviously. And I thought, “well I did six years of French at high school”, but I was, you know, pretty much useless at French even after six years of studying it at high school. And I’d met all of these people, all of these Europeans and people from Asia and even the odd person from Africa and other parts of the world who spoke English as a second language and had learn it… Even some of them had arrived, had come to the gym and started training there and their English was really poor but within only a few months, you know, two months, three months, six months, they were speaking English at an amazing level, and it really encouraged me to reassess what I was doing with French. So originally I thought “well I’m never gonna [going to] learn French unless I go to France and actually immerse myself in the culture and the language. It’s just too hard, you know, I speak English and I barely do that”. My English is… I mean it’s good but you have that modest aspect of saying “yeah well I can barely speak English so why would I learn another language”. Anyway, so seeing my friends learning English I was like “well surely if I apply myself for one year and I try and do a little bit of French every day and try and talk a little bit every day with some of the people at the gym I’ll be able to get to fluency, you know, basic fluency. It’s a year, it’s three hundred and sixty-five days. I can do this! I just have to persist and make sure I do a little bit every day. And so, I just went at it, I went crazy. I was studying… I was doing my PhD and training Jiu-jitsu and then when I got home every night I would use Duolingo, I would find people online on sites like GoSpeaky and apps like HelloTalk and chat as much as possible just constantly using the language, making mistakes, I didn’t care. I just wanted to be understand, I want to have fun, and before you knew it I was fluent in French. I mean, that’s not to say I speak it perfectly, far from it, I make errors probably every second sentence, but at the same time I’m at that point now where I can get really get my ideas across and I can read books without much trouble, I can watch TV without subtitles. And so I was really really impressed that you could achieve that sort of language acquisition, so that learning a language on your own in another country that doesn’t speak that language natively. And so I thought why don’t I learn another one the next year, you know? Why don’t I learn one language a year for five years and see how we go? And that’s what got me started on Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese. So I started learning Brazilian Portuguese at the start of this year, and obviously I chose that because of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the fact that a large number of the people I train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with are from Brazil and therefore speak Portuguese. So, the hard part I guess was once I started learning Portuguese as well as trying to maintain French I also had quite a few friends who were interested, obviously, in learning English from me. So practicing in exchange for conversation time in French and in Portuguese with them they wanted to learn Australian English and to have me explain Australian terms and pronunciation. So the hard time for me was finding time to be able to do all of these things, and so, I thought after a little while, I thought… and I wanted to be…I wanted to… I realised I loved learning languages and I wanted this to potentially become a career or some kind of… you know, generate income so that I could live day to day and do this, and learn languages and share my language of Australian English with people.

So that’s what got me decided on making this podcast. I thought there must be resources out there for people learning Australian English, and then I had a look and there was close to none, you know? I mean you could probably search and find videos and music and stuff on YouTube but no one has actually sat down and put in the effort to create specific Australian resources, which I thought was a bit of a shame because so many people are traveling to Australia, and it has such a beautiful history, culture and language that weneeda [need to] create something to share with other people and give as a resource for them to use to better understand what the hell we’re talking about when they come here. Whether it’s traveling, living, working or if they just have an interest in general. So that was one of the main reasons that I wanted to start this podcast. And also is one of the reasons that I plan to make two other podcasts at the moment where I translate everything into Portuguese and into French, or translate Portuguese and French into English. So, that is more because I want to be able to practice my Portuguese and French. And in order to create episodes with dialogues, and with… translating all of these expressions I have to actively go and research it, translate it, have it corrected, practice it. And so there’s that aspect of it forces me to be constantly, every day, practicing French and Portuguese whilst also being able to create a resource that French and Portuguese speakers can use to learn Australian English. So the Aussie English podcast I plan to just have in just straight Australian English not translated into any other language. It’s just “fair dinkum” “true blue” Australian English that you’re gonna [going to] be learning. And obviously therefore anyone from any other country or background who is learning English as a second language isn’t gonna [going to] have French or Portugese on it. It’s just for them. It’s also at a more advanced level because I’m not translating anything and because I’m recording these episodes on the fly, as I go, I’m improvising, I’m probably going to be using quite a bit of more advanced vocabulary and so yeah. This podcast, Aussie English, is more aimed at people with a good solid base in English who are probably intermediate to advanced and [who] are wanting to practice understanding more fluent conversation. Whereas the other podcasts at the moment I’m planning to call Aussie Inglês the Portuguese podcast and Aussie Anglais for the French podcast and I guess we’ll see how they go. I’m looking forward to getting some better recording equipment that’s coming, and recording some of these dialogues. I’ve written and had corrected ten of them now. So that’ll be the first ten that I get started and upload and release and see how you guys… what you think and how I can improve them. And yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. So, anyway, this podcast episode has probably gone a bit long. So I might cut it… I might stop it now, and see you in the next one. All the best!

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    1. Hi Pete! While I’m doing the recent episodes, I’ve started from the very beginning as well, to cover all the Aussie English content … And just to say, so vintage good vibes listening to these first episodes. Love it! Cheers!