Luke's ENGLISH Podcast - Learn British English wit

Luke's ENGLISH Podcast - Learn British English wit


Luke's English Podcast is an award-winning podcast for learners of English. Listen, learn and have fun while picking up natural British English as it really is spoken.


466. Get this word into your life  

Highlighting and clarifying vocabulary that you heard in episodes 464 and 465, with a focus on phrases and uses of the word get.

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465. How I make episodes of the podcast (Part 2)  

Talking about the technical side of making podcast episodes, including fascinating* insights about my recording equipment and an exciting** anecdote game. Includes upbeat music to absolutely guarantee*** that you will not be bored during the episode!

*insights may not actually be fascinating
**management holds no liability for any lack of excitement experienced
***not actually a legally binding guarantee

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464. How I make episodes of the podcast (Part 1)  

Talking about the creative side of making podcast episodes, including some thoughts on how to come up with ideas and how to speak in front of an audience. Watch out for various phrases with 'get' during the episode.

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463. News, Comments & Questions  

Giving some news, responding to comments & questions, rambling about new shoes and getting lost in the jungle.

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462. British Comedy: Bill Bailey  

In this episode I talk to you about one of my favourite stand up comedians from the UK. We’re going to hear some of his comedy and use it to learn English.

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461. 25 Deceptively Difficult Questions (with Amber, Paul & Sarah)  

An episode about the tricky little questions that we use when socialising. What are the appropriate answers? What are the subtle differences? How do native speakers use these questions? Can you take the test and get all the right responses to my list of deceptively difficult questions? 

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25 Deceptively Difficult Questions - Proper Introduction Transcript!

Hi everyone, This is an episode about social English, the kind of English you use when you’re socialising, particularly the little things you say when you greet someone or at the beginning of a conversation. There are many ways to say “hi” and also lots of ways to say “how are you?” or “what are you doing?” The tricky thing is being able to judge the subtle differences in the questions with the presence of auxiliary verbs or modals which change the meaning slightly from the past, to the present to the future or with slightly different levels of formality. I’d like to do a test in this episode today. I am going to test you, so get ready.

A Test

Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ve prepared a list of 25 questions. I’m going to read them to you in a moment. As I say each question, what I want you to do is to think really quickly and really naturally about the first thing you would normally say when you hear that question. What’s the first answer that comes into your mind? Let’s see if you answer correctly. To find out the proper answers we’re going to listen to me directing those questions at Amber, Paul and Sarah. Then you can listen out for how they answer them and the comments we make afterwards, which should explain these tricky little bits of English. Not only can you learn some essential social English in this episode, you can also hear plenty of humorous conversation between the four of us. Sarah’s baby is also there in the background. I’m sorry if this bothers anyone. I’ve removed some of those noises but a few are still there. I think it sounds fine and adds a bit of atmosphere and after all she is a very cute baby.

So, the test. Let’s get started.

Are you ready? Just give the first answer that comes to mind. Also, you should know that some of the questions are intentionally incorrect. So, if you hear a question which is grammatically wrong or just not used ever, you can say “wrong”. Ok, so, your quick answer to the question, or “wrong” if it’s incorrect. I’ll say the question once quickly, once slowly and once again quickly. Some of these questions may seem extremely simple - the point of this is the pragmatics of social English and how you should give certain stock answers to some questions. They get a bit harder as they go along. Also, you can try to repeat the questions too. They’re going to come pretty quick, so use the pause button if you want. Here we go. You might think these are easy, but that's why this is called 'deceptively' difficult questions. *4 questions are intentionally incorrect. Can you spot them?

What are you doing? How are you doing? How’s it going? How are you going? What’s happening? What’s going on? What’s going down? What’s going up? What’s up? How do you do? How are you? How have you been? How have you been up to? What are you up to? What have you been up to? How long has it been? Can I use your phone? I can’t use your phone, can I? Do you mind if I open the window? You don’t mind if I open the window, do you? What are your plans for later? What are you up to later? Can you tell me where is the best bar in town? Do you know how long is it going to be? Would you be prepared to give me a 5% discount?

Ta = thanks You’re now going to hear all those questions and how Amber, Paul and Sarah will respond to them. See if you got them right or wrong! I’ll go through them again quickly at the end.

Listen to the whole episode for all the correct answers and explanations. Don't be a ninja! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Cheers! Luke

460 Catching Up With Amber & Paul #6 (feat. Sarah Donnelly)  

Conversation and language analysis with the podpals and guest Sarah. Hear some conversation about being married to a foreign person, bringing up kids to be bilingual, and learn some slang in Australian and Northern Irish English. Vocabulary is explained at the end. 

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Text also reproduced below (including vocabulary lists)


This episode is choc-a-block with natural conversation and language. Yesterday I had Amber and Paul over to the flat, and I also invited Sarah Donnelly, a friend of the podcast. Sarah also brought her baby who she had since she was last on the podcast. There’s no relation by the way between her being on the podcast and having a baby. Purely coincidental. Anyway, the four of us sat around the table yesterday in the blistering heat to record some podcast material and that’s what you’re going to hear. Sometimes you can hear the baby screaming and gurgling in the background but I don’t think it spoils the recording really.

She hasn’t learned to talk yet, but who knows being on the podcast might help a little bit in some way. The conversation is a bit chaotic because there are 4 people, sometimes talking over each other. If you like you can imagine you’re in a business meeting. A business meeting in which no business actually takes place, nobody observes the rules of formality and where the participants just chat with each other. So, not much like a business meeting really, but anyway a meeting of sorts, and this is the kind of thing you might have to deal with in the future if you go to a meeting in English and there are a number of people discussing things and you have to keep up. It’s good practice to listen to this kind of thing to help you prepare for that kind of situation.

This recording was slightly shorter than the usual full-on ramble that we have together. But I’m going to do a bit of language analysis at the end. I’ll pick out a few words and phrases and will clarify them after the conversation has finished. Also there’s another language-related episode coming soon with Amber, Paul and Sarah.

Here now is a discussion between podpals Amber and Paul, also featuring Sarah Donnelly the American with Irish roots who has been on this podcast before, most recently talking about the US Presidential Elections with Sebastian Marx.

Things we all have in common:

We’re all English speaking expats in France We are all with French partners, either married or “paxed” We’re all comedians on the stand up scene too

In this chat we discuss a few things, such as the complexities of being with a foreign partner, bringing up a child in a foreign country to be fully bilingual, getting married and what it feels like for the bride and groom on the big day, Amber’s podcast which was recently released online, Paul’s upcoming gig in Australia, Sarah’s Irish roots and some English slang from New Zealand, Australia and Northern Ireland.


Here are some questions for you to consider as you listen. This can help you to focus on the content.

Are you or have you ever been with a foreign person in a relationship? What are the difficulties of that? What’s the best way to bring up a child to be bilingual? Is it possible to raise a bilingual child when only one of you speaks one of the target languages to the child? Are you married? How did it feel for you on the big day? Did you cry? Have you ever been a guest at a wedding, and did you cry? Have you heard Amber’s podcast, which is called Paname? It’s now available at Can you identify different English accents and dialects from around the world? How about American vs British, or different areas of the UK? How about Ireland and Northern Ireland? What about Australia and New Zealand? Do you know what their English sounds like?

Right. Consider those questions as you listen to this conversation and hold on until later when I’ll explain some of the vocabulary and some cultural stuff too, maybe touching on different accents, wedding vocabulary and more. But now you can listen to Amber, Paul, Sarah and me, melting in my boiling hot apartment.

Vocabulary and other language points - Explained

It's really hot It’s hot as hell It’s boiling It’s sweltering It’s baking It’s blisteringly hot
Being partnered with a French person is hard work. I have one hour’s worth of material on this.
One hour’s worth of something 5 minutes’ worth of something We’ve got 3 days’ worth of food left I’ve got about 10 minutes’ worth of battery left
Bringing Up Children
Bringing up
a baby in a foreign country with a foreign partner - will they speak English?

Bring up a baby
Raise a child
Be raised in / to Grow up Do you have experience of bringing up a baby to be bilingual? Let us know. If just one parent speaks English, and the rest of the time it’s French with school, friends and everything else - will the kid be bilingual?
Condone/Condemn I don’t condone the hitting of a child (stupid thing to say actually - but that’s what happens when you joke - sometimes you go over the line a bit - obvs I didn’t mean it)
Condone / condemn
Paul's Wedding
An out of body experience
We were so stressed out
To cry
To be in tears
To well up
To choke up
Neither of us cried
I thought everybody would be in tears
I welled up a bit
I was choking up
Walk down the aisle
The altar
Her parents aren’t with her any more. They passed away.
Paul’s dad gave her away. “It was so sweet that it was your dad that was giving her away.”
I’m left-handed
I can’t grip it like I like to grip it. (innuendo)
He’s jumped ahead. (he’s gone to the innuendo before we realised it)
Some ninjas came out of the woodwork. (to come out of the woodwork) to appear after having been hidden or not active for a long time: After you've been in a relationship for a while all sorts of little secrets start to come out of the woodwork. Mildly disapproving. From Cambridge Dictionary Online.
They feel like they’re going to do mistakes. Make mistakes.
Aussie slang  
G’day mate, how are you going?
Arvo: afternoon
Barbie: barbeque
Fair Dinkum
Fuckin’ oath!
Sweet as
Strewth! (Cliche)
Kiwi slang The slang is pretty similar to Aussie or UK slang, but the accent is different. For years I couldn’t differentiate it from Aussie, but the more you hear the more you realise how different it is. Watch Flight of the Conchords to hear lots of it. Episode in the pipeline.

459. Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon  

Rambling on about so-called "facts" I found on the internet, while sitting in direct sunshine wishing I had beer.

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458. The Rick Thompson Report: Post-Election 2017  

Talking to my Dad about the results of the UK's general election on 8 June 2017.

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457. Conclusions about Language Learning from the David Crystal Interview (Part 2)  

A follow-up to episode 455 consolidating the insights of Professor David Crystal including various pearls of wisdom about language learning.

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456. Conclusions about Language Learning from the David Crystal Interview (Part 1)  

Discussing and clarifying what David Crystal said in episode 454. Conclusions about language learning and linguistics.


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455. David Crystal Interview (Part 2) Questions from Listeners  

Talking to the world's top writer and lecturer on the English language, Professor David Crystal. In this episode, David answers questions from listeners.

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A Message from Amber  

Hi everyone, this is just a quick 3min episode with a message from Amber about her podcast. Details below.

Amber's podcast is now on iTunes and on her website

Check it out!


454. David Crystal Interview (Part 1) Professor of Linguistics  

Talking about language with one of the world's top linguists, Professor David Crystal.

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453. The 36 Questions that Lead to Love (with Amber & Paul)  

Listen to Amber, Paul and me answering questions designed by psychologists to help couples or friends become closer and more intimate.

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452. A Conversation About Language (with Amber & Paul)  

Discussing language with Amber & Paul, including issues such as errors made by native speakers, language change, whether language standards are declining, the effects of technology on language and how to cut an avocado without injuring yourself.

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451. Film Club: Alien Covenant  

Another film club episode, this time about the Alien franchise and a review of the new film "Alien: Covenant". The film is in the cinemas now and you could watch the other films at home (with or without subtitles) for some more English listening practice.

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450. Comments & Questions  

In this episode I’m going to go through some questions from the comment section and give a bit of news. There will be some grammar, some vocab, some reactions to recent episodes and some bits relating to how you can continue to push your English with this podcast.

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449. Film Club: Touching the Void (Part 2)  

Part 2 of this Film Club episode looking at the award-winning documentary "Touching the Void" which tells the story of a mountain climbing expedition which goes wrong. Listen to this episode and then watch the film on Netflix or DVD for that extra bit of English input.

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448. Film Club: Touching the Void (Part 1)  

A film club episode about the award-winning documentary film "Touching the Void" about a mountain climbing expedition which goes wrong. It's an amazing true story and there are lots of things to learn from it, including lessons about motivation and attitude towards any challenge. The film is available on Netflix and DVD. Check it out and use this episode to help you understand it all.

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