Learn Australia English in this post where I teach you how to use another 10 Commonly Used Bird Idioms that I either frequently hear or use myself.
1. Like water off a duck’s back
Figurative meaning: To have no apparent effect.
Literal meaning: This expression alludes to the fact that when water falls onto a duck’s back it just rolls off the oil coated feathers.
Example: When you insult me it’s like water off a duck’s back.
2. A night owl
Literal meaning: Owls are nocturnal animals, which sleep during the day and are active late at night when they hunt.
Example: His dad’s a night owl and works late each night.
3. The pecking order
Literal meaning: The expression originated from the 1920s when biologists discovered that chickens maintain a hierarchy with one bird pecking another of lower status. It began to be used to refer to human behaviour in the 1950s.
Example: On a covert mission navy seals will have a definite pecking order.
4. To play chicken
Figurative meaning: To play a dangerous game in order to discover who is the bravest.
Literal meaning: If someone is a ‘chicken’ is means they are a coward. So to play chicken implies that you are testing to see who has less courage and is ‘the chicken’.
Example: Two teenagers got into a car accident on the highway while playing chicken.
Other forms: To play the game of chicken.
5. To ruffle someone’s feathers
Literal meaning: This idiom is based on the idea of a bird whose feathers are not sitting neat and smooth because of fear, irritation or excitement.
Example: When I took my new job I didn’t mean to come in and ruffle anyone’s feathers.
6. To run around like a chicken with its head cut off
Figurative meaning: To run around frantically and aimlessly; to be in a state of chaos.
Literal meaning: The idea in this idiom is to liken someone’s behaviour to what happens to a chicken when it gets decapitated and continues to kick and flap about frantically.
Example: Every time there’s a crisis she runs around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Other forms: To run around like a headless chicken/chook.
7. To be a sitting duck
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes to an unsuspecting duck floating on the water whilst being hunted by a person or predator.
Example: The deer stood in the clearing like a sitting duck while the hunter loaded his rifle.
8. To spread your wings
Figurative meaning: To start to do new and exciting things for the first time in your life.
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes a fledgling bird learning to fly for the first time.
Example: Once he graduated from high school he could spread his wings and move out of his parents’ house.
9. To be an ugly ducking
Figurative meaning: Someone unattractive or unpromising who grows into an attractive or talented person.
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes to the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen where a cygnet hatches with group of ducklings and is despised for its clumsiness until it grows into a beautiful swan.
Example: He always felt like the ugly duckling growing up in his family with three brothers.
10. To watch like a hawk.
Figurative meaning: To watch someone or something carefully or intensely.
Literal meaning: The idea in this idiom is that someone has the keen eyesight of a hawk and is watching something as a hawk would watch its prey whilst hunting.
Example: Ever since she got out of prison the police have been watching her like a hawk.
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By pete — 4 months ago
AE 493 – Expression: Go Pear-Shaped
I was out the front mowing the nature strip and I could see a bit of attention on the other side of the bridge of people looking and taking photos, and I thought, wow, there’s something going on, so (I) went and had a squiz, and then once I saw what I saw, I thought, yeah, this is gutsy.
Honestly, it looked like someone (had) done damage to the bridge since the way it’s got the hole in it. I had no idea who’d done it. I thought, well, someone around here has got talent.
I probably should’ve got permission, but I thought, I’ll just go and have an experiment. It’s only chalk. It’s going to last a couple of days. If it rains, it’ll come straight off. I did it on the Friday, (I) thought, if it’s not washed off by the Sunday, I can go down with some water and hose it off.
Hey, you mob. How’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone or wanting to learn Australian English.
Remember, guys, if you would like the transcript and the MP3s to this podcast, you can get access to all of them, unlimited access, when you go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com, hit ‘sign up’, and for the price of one coffee every single month you will get access to the MP3s and the transcripts to download them and listen to them, consume them, do whatever you want with them, anytime, anywhere.
If you’re a more serious English-language learner and you would like to get more out of every single one of these expression episodes, then I thoroughly recommend enrolling in the Aussie English Classroom, and that is theAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Head over there, sign up, it’s just one dollar for your first month at the moment, guys. So, give that a go. And you will get all the bonus content for these episodes, the videos that go through things like pronunciation, the expressions that are used in these episodes, the more advanced vocabulary, you’ll get speaking challenges, and you can take part in the community and meet other people. We recently had a whole group of people in Melbourne here who were in the Facebook group for the classroom, they all got together and were practising in whilst together in the CBD. Anyway, guys.
With that, let’s go through the movie scene there at the start. Now, I found this on Facebook this week and it blew me away. It blew my mind. It was mind-blowing. I loved it.
So, this was the story of how this mural was painted on a bridge wall in Warrnambool, which is in Victoria close to where I live. Well, three hours away, but relatively close, you know, in the grand scheme of things in Australia. And this guy painted this mural on the wall, another guy found it and saw it, and decided that he would prefer this mural to be permanent instead of just washing away next time it rained as the mural had been done in chalk, which is what the original artist’s plan was, for this to be just temporary.
Anyway, that video will be linked in the transcript. I really recommend going and checking it out. It was an amazing video full of humour, Australian humour, and it was from ABC News. Okay? So, these guys are an amazing resource if you want to practice your Australian English by watching the Australian news. I love ABC News. You can check them out on Facebook and they also have a live stream on YouTube that is 24 hours a day. Just type in ‘ABC News’ into YouTube and you will find that. Anywhere, guys.
That’s it for the intro. A quick apology too if I sound a little congested. I have just moved back to Melbourne or to Geelong, rather, which is about 70 kilometers south of Melbourne, and I’m living at my parents’ place and they have cats, and I’m allergic to cats. It always takes me a few weeks to get acclimated to them, to sort of… for my body to become used to them, and I have to take anti-histamines in the meantime, you know, and I feel like I to sneeze all the time. Anyway.
As usual, let’s get into an Australian joke, and I’ve got a killer for you today. (I) told this one to Kel and she was like, you need to include this in the episode. Alright, here’s the joke.
Why did kangaroos hate rainy days? Why did kangaroos hate rainy days? Because their children play inside.
What do you reckon? Is it a good one?
Why do kangaroos hate rainy days? Because their kids play inside. Get it? Because kangaroos have pouches. Anyway.
Today’s expression, guys. Today’s expression is for things ‘to go pear-shaped’, ‘to go pear-shaped’. This was from Alexander who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom. We all voted on it. Good job, Alex.
So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in this expression ‘to go pear-shaped’.
So, ‘go’. ‘Go’ can mean a lot of different things. You know, usually, it is talking about moving in a direction, right. You’re going forward, you’re going backward, you’re going to a place. But here, if ‘go’ is followed by an adjective here like ‘pear-shaped’, it’s more than it means to turn into something. So, to pass into or to be in a specified state, especially, an undesirable state. Right? So, it’s sort of like to turn bad, to become bad, to go bad. So, you might often hear things like ‘things have gone bad’, ‘things have gone wrong’, ‘things have gone awry’. Those are some collocations you’ll often hear with ‘go’, where it means to sort of change state, to pass into another state.
‘A pear’. ‘A pear’ is a sweet yellowish- or brownish-green edible fruit and it is narrow towards the stalk end above where it attaches to the tree and the wider towards the base. So, you’ll often have likened overweight men to apples and overweight women to pears, right? Because men seem to carry the weight around their stomachs and women around their hips. So, men are shaped like apples, women like pears.
‘Shaped’. The word ‘shaped’ is the external form contours or outline of someone or something, right. I am obviously shaped like a person. If you carved a rock into the shape of a love heart, maybe a heart, okay. It is shaped like a heart.
Now, we can combine words, often nouns and adjectives, into compound adjectives. Right? So, this is where you’ve got multiple words describing something and we put a hyphen between them.
So, in this case ‘pear-shaped’ means ‘in the shape of a pear’, and instead of saying ‘in the shape of a pear’, it’s much quicker to just say ‘pear-shaped’. Okay?
So, let’s define the expression. If something ‘goes pear-shaped’, this means that it goes horribly wrong, it goes awry. So, for things to go bad, for things to go wrong. That is when things ‘go pear-shaped’.
So, I was looking around trying to find the origin of this expression and it seems like there’s no clear-cut origin for it. However, the first citation appears in a book called Air War South Atlantic in 1983, and it seems like it may have been slang from the Royal Air Force. Okay? And the quote from this book was, “There were two bangs very close together. The whole aircraft shook and things went ‘pear-shaped’ very quickly after that.” To say that, obviously, things went wrong, things went disastrous, right.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this expression, ‘to go pear-shaped’, in day-to-day life, in real life. Alright.
Example number one. So, imagine you are planning a weekend trip away with the family. So, you want to go camping somewhere, somewhere nice nearby, maybe in a forest somewhere. So, if it’s nearby me, obviously, you could go to places like the Great Ocean Road or to Willson’s Prom, Wilson’s Promontory. You guys, if you’ve been to Victoria, may have been to these places. So, you put all your camping gear in the car, your tent, the ropes, the pegs, to hold the tent down, your portable gas stove, food supplies, sleeping gear, like mattresses that are inflatable and sleeping bags, and maybe a fishing rod or two. After you pile your kids in the car and you get your wife or your husband to get in the car as well, you jump in and you head off on the road towards this destination where you’re going to go camping. On the drive, the weather is beautiful and this was the whole reason that you wanted to go camping in the first place, you know, you were hoping for really good weather and it turned out to be the case. But then as soon as you get there, the clouds cover the sky, the day becomes overcast and rain starts pouring down, right. It starts raining cats and dogs, it starts pissing down, it’s raining heavily. So, because the weather’s turned so horrible, your plans of a wonderful weekend away camping with the family have gone pear-shaped. They’ve gone horribly wrong, they’ve gone awry, your plans went pear-shaped.
Example number two. Imagine you are a soldier in the army and you have a platoon of men that you obviously are a soldier with. You guys have a mission. You’ve got to go behind enemy lines and you have to capture a certain building. Okay? So, it’s really dark. It’s dark at night when you guys have to leave. There’s no moon. You’re hoping to be able to get there under the cover of darkness, meaning that no one will see you. You can use darkness as a means to hide whilst you infiltrate the enemy territory. So, just as you’re entering the building with all your men, an enemy soldier spots you. He puts a light on you and things go pear-shaped. You have to bail, you have to escape, you have to run away as your platoon receives enemy fire, meaning that the enemy is firing their weapons at the platoon. But fortunately, you make it back alive despite the mission going pear-shaped. Things went pear-shaped.
Example number three. Alright, imagine you are a pregnant woman, right, a woman who is close to giving birth. You’ve got two kids and a husband already, obviously, and this means that, usually, the house is incredibly noisy. There’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of kids running around screaming and you find it very difficult to take a breather, to take a time-out, to have time to yourself to relax. Fortunately, this weekend, your husband’s offered to take the kids to the beach so that you can have a day off, right. You can take time for yourself and watch your favorite chick-flick, kick back, have your favourite nibblies out of the fridge.’Nibblies’ being food, something you like to nibble on, your ‘nibblies’, that’s a good Australian slang term. So, you put some chocolate out of the fridge after the kids have left with your husband, gone to the beach. You sit back, you kick your feet up, you relax, but just as the movie begins, your kids and husband rush back inside, and it turns out, when they got to the beach, there was a shark at the beach. And so, there were sirens going off, the lifesavers were there saying no one can go in the water, you can’t swim, it’s not safe. So, as a result, they all came home and your plans have gone pear-shaped. Your plans have been disrupted, things have gone bad, the situation’s turned horrible, things have gone awry, things have gone pear-shaped.
So, hopefully, by now, guys, you’ll understand and can use the expression ‘to go pear shaped’, it means for things to go bad or for things to go awry, for things to go wrong.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you can practice your pronunciation. By now, I am sure that you guys know the drill. Let’s just get straight into it, guys. Listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
To go pear-
To go pear-shaped x 5
Good job. Now, I’m going to put this into a sentence with ‘to make’ in the past tense, like, I made…, you made…, he made…, she made…, etc., …things go pear-shaped. Okay? I made things go pear-shaped, you made things go pear-shaped. So, listen and repeat after me, guys.
I made things go pear-shaped
You made things go pear-shaped
He made things go pear-shaped
She made things go pear-shaped
We made things go pear-shaped
They made things go pear-shaped
It made things go pear-shaped
Good job, guys. Good job. Remember, if you would like to go through this exercise in more detail with a fine-tooth comb and learn all of the more interesting aspects of pronunciation in English here, join up at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and you will get a pronunciation video for this episode, as well as all the previous episodes, and it will really help you improve your English quickly.
Today’s Aussie fact, guys. Let’s just get straight into it. Today’s Aussie fact I thought I would talk about cane toads, and I’m not sure if I’ve talked about these before or not, but maybe you guys have heard of cane toads in Australia. If you go north, you will definitely see cane toads.
So, I recently saw a news article this week about the genome having been cracked for cane toads, meaning that the genome of the cane toad, the DNA sequences of the entire DNA of the cane toad, has been successfully sequenced now, and it got me thinking about the cane toad, and I thought I would go through a number of different facts about it. Okay? And there’ll be a link in the transcript for this article if you’re interested.
Alright, cane toads. So, cane toads are a type of frog and they were introduced into Australia, they are an invasive species in Australia. They are not natural. They aren’t endemic here.
They’re about four to six inches long when they get to fully-grown size and they can weigh up to about four pounds, so close to two kilos, which is pretty impressive for a frog, and the females actually end up a lot larger than the males, and this may not come as a surprise, because females are, obviously, the animal that produces all the eggs. The males produce the sperm. The females produce the eggs. So, they’re egg producers and layers.
Once fully grown, the females can deposit up to 30,000 eggs in a single night. That’s crazy. And it only takes three days, 36 hours, for these eggs to hatch into tiny tadpoles. This is obviously one of the reasons these guys are such successful invasive species.
So, these tadpoles slowly grow their back and their front legs, usually the back first then the front, and they transform into froglets, young frogs, after only four to eight weeks.
They can live up to 10 or 15 years in the wild and up to 35 years in captivity. That’s four years older than me. Crazy!
Cane toads are highly poisonous, though, they’re very dangerous, and produce a toxin in the glands on the back of their neck so that if anyone picks them up or bites them, attacks them, often this toxin, when pressure is put on this gland, is released, it’s spat out of the frog and it can kill really quickly. So, that’s why there’s such a danger to native animals, especially, animals that hunt them.
So, the cane toad isn’t native to Australia. We established that at the start. And it was ignorantly introduced into Australia in 1935, so 83 years ago, by a man named Reginald Mungomery. So, he brought these over to Australia in a flight from Hawaii where he picked up a 102 of these cane toads, 51 males and 51 females. And this guy was supposedly trying to fix the problem of cane beetles, cane grubs, that were destroying sugar cane crops in northern Australia. So, these insects were eating the crops and he thought, you know, I’ll get some frogs. Obviously, frogs eat insects, and we’ll let them go, and hopefully this will sort out the cane beetle problem.
The problem was that the frogs can’t jump very high, right? So, they became beetles at the top of the cane, the sugar cane, which can be metres high, and the frogs don’t get up that high.
So, these toads were initially released around Cairns and Gordonvale and Innisfail, in Far North Queensland, and shortly after this ‘the march’ of the cane toad began. And this is known as the ‘Invasion Front’ in Australia. I remember this at school always being spoken about. Where the cane toads at now? Which cities or towns are they about to get to?
So, the march of the cane toad moved at about 10 kilometres a year until the 1960s when it significantly began to pick up pace, it began to speed up. By 1945, the cane toads had reached Brisbane, which was 1,600 kilometres south of where they were first released. They started knocking on the doors of people in Byron Bay in New South Wales in 1965. And by 1984, they were stealing the cat food from unsuspecting kitties in the Northern Territory. And in 2009, they finally marched across into Western Australia on the far west of the continent.
So, until today, the cane toad is one of the most catastrophic ecological disasters to have ever happened in Australia, much worse than any other introduced species. Whether it’s rabbits or foxes or donkeys, the cane toad has been devastating.
Despite this, scientists are still hopeful that they can fight against the cane toad by coming up with unique ways to control cane toad numbers. Although, we’ll never be able to completely eradicate the cane toad, hopefully, studies such as the one I mentioned at the start, where the genome has now been completely sequenced, will allow scientists to identify weaknesses in the DNA of the cane toad or maybe in diseases that affect the cane toad, but don’t affect native animals, and they can use these to exploit the cane toad and control their numbers in the future.
So, my question for you today is one: have you ever seen a cane toad in real life if you’ve been to Australia? And two: have you seen the awesome cane toad documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History? So, I recommend checking out that doco. It is amazing. And it is full of Australian humour and you will learn a lot about… not just Australia and Australian culture, but also about the cane toad too if you check that out.
Anyway, guys, that’s enough for today. I am struggling, I am very congested, and I’m going to have to edit this episode a lot to get rid of all the coughing and repeating of myself. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing week, I hope you’re enjoying yourselves, and I chat to you soon. See you, guys.
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By pete — 4 months ago
AE 491 – Expression: The World Is your Oyster
Oyster farming is quite a manual job. There is planning involved as well, but a lot of the work involves manual labour and jumping into cool water in winter. So, we have seasonal benefits where in summer time it’s quite nice and very enjoyable out on the water, and in the winter time we’re in and out as quick as we can, get a load on board, and then back to the shed.
Alrighty. Let’s get started. No window open today, guys, no window.
Alright, so, g’day, you mob. I hope you’re going well. I hope you’re havinig a good weekend. I hope you’re having an amazing week. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English.
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That’s the intro. That’s enough of that. Welcome to this episode. I hope you like the intro scene there. I’m always trying to add these things in so you get access to other Australian accents and you also get introduced to things like the ABC Australia’s YouTube channel there, which is where that little snippet came from, so that you can find other resources and learn about Australian culture.
So, that was from, as I said, the ABC Australia’s YouTube channel, a little series called My Australia where it was following a Chinese girl called Jingjing as she visited an oyster farm in Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. So, I really recommend checking out that entire video. Go to the ABC YouTube channel. I will leave a link in the transcript so that you can do so, but it’s a great way to watch more of their videos to learn about Australian culture and practice your listening comprehension for the Aussie English fact. Anyway.
Let’s dive into the Aussie joke for today, guys, and it is a shellfish joke, because, obviously, the expression is related to shellfish. So, the joke is:
What did the oyster say to the crab when he took his pearl? What did the oyster side of the crab when he took his pearl?
Don’t be so ‘shellfish’. Don’t be so ‘shellfish’.
Do you get it? The play on words here, the pun here, is with the word ‘selfish’ and ‘shellfish’, right. “Don’t be so selfish” would be the real way of saying that. Don’t steal something, don’t hold on to it, don’t keep it to yourself, don’t be selfish. And the joke here is that oysters are shellfish and we often call crab ‘shellfish’ as well so, don’t be so ‘shellfish’.
Alright, so today’s expression is ‘the world is your oyster’. The world is your oyster. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before. This came from Michal who is from Poland. He is an awesome guy. He’s in our Aussie English Classroom Facebook group and his posting videos all the time when he’s out and about walking around. So, they’re always interesting to watch. If you guys want to be a part of that, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and then asked to join the group, and we post videos each week practicing the expressions from these episodes. Anyway.
Let’s define the words in this expression.
So, ‘the world’. ‘The world’ is the Earth, the planet on which we live, together with its countries and its people. So, it’s not just the physical rock that is the planet, but it’s also every country is a part of this world and every person is a part of this world. Right. The world.
‘Is’, obviously, present tense third person ‘to be’. He is. She is. It is.
‘Your’. ‘Your’ is the possessive pronoun for ‘you’. This is your thing. This is your car. This is your oyster. This is your phone.
And, ‘an oyster’, if you don’t know what ‘an oyster’ is, ‘an oyster’ is any number of bivalve molluscs with rough irregular shells, and they’re usually eaten raw as a delicacy, but they also might be farmed for pearls, the jewellery that you will get out of them. Those small spherical white, kind of iridescent, pieces of jewellery made by shellfish.
So, let’s define the expression ‘the world is your oyster’. ‘The world is your oyster’. If someone says to you that ‘the world is your oyster’, it’s the idea that you are in a position to take all the opportunities that life has to offer. So, you can do anything that you want. You can go anywhere you want. Everything is a possibility for you. ‘The world is your oyster’.
So, this is, I think, the first expression where it’s actually from Shakespeare. So, you guys might know Shakespeare, the famous British writer, playwright, I guess. And he coined this phrase. This phrase is from the Merry Wives of Windsor where Falstaff says, “I will not lend a penny.”, to a guy called Pistol who says, “Why then the world’s mine oyster which I with sword will open.”, and then Falstaff replies, “Not a penny.”.
So, the idea here is, and it’s the English’s kind of screwed up, you know, this isn’t how we would speak, today at least. So, the original implication of this phrase that Pistol is saying, “Why then the world’s mine oyster which I with sword will open.”, it’s referring to using violent means, i.e. using a sword, to steal his fortune, i.e. the pearl, that one finds in an oyster.
So, we inherit this phrase absent, though, of its original violent connotation, to mean that the world is yours or ours to enjoy. Okay? You can get everything out of it.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this expression in real day-to-day sort of situations. Okay.
So, example number one. Imagine that you are a student in your final year of school. So, you’re in high school in Australia, you are in year 12, you’ve just completed all your exams, you’ve passed your exams with flying colours, so you’ve done incredibly well in these exams. When you get your marks back, your Enter Score, which is what we used to refer to as the final score you got at the end of high school so that you could enter into university, when you get your marks back, your Enter Score is as high as it could possibly be. So, you’ve done as good as you could have possibly done. And it will allow you to enter any university in Australia, do any kind of course that you would like, whether it’s medicine, science, arts, economics, law, engineering, you have your pick of the litter and you can choose anything you desire. So, as a result, when your parents find this out, they might be as proud as punch, incredibly proud, and they might say, “Well done! The world is now your oyster.”. You can choose anything you want. You can go anywhere you want. The world is your oyster.
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Number two. Imagine now you are that same student, okay, and you have entered university and you are studying science. But imagine you’re from a non-English-speaking country, right. You’re Brazil, from China, from India, from Nepal, from somewhere in Africa, you know, Zimbabwe maybe. And besides studying science, you’re also working your butt off, you’re working incredibly hard, to learn to speak English at a fluent and proficient level. So, you’re a very studious and diligent person who’s always studying science all day at university only to get home in the afternoon and start studying English. And the reason you’re studying English is because you want to have as many options as possible for your future career. Right? You want to be a world-renowned scientist one day and unfortunately for non-English speakers it requires that you learn English, right, so that you can take part in the English-speaking world of science. So, you know if you work hard and finish a science degree and you have the ability to speak English fluently and at a very proficient level, the world will be your oyster. You’ll be able to travel anywhere, you’ll be able to work overseas in any country, English-speaking or not, because you can use English there, and you’ll be able to apply to any jobs and positions in countries where English fluency is a prerequisite. The world is going to be your oyster.
Example number three. Imagine that you are a racecar driver, a real hoon, a real rev head, you know, you’ve always grown up loving cars and driving fast, and it’s led you down the road to be a racecar driver. So as a kid you battle your way up. Maybe you were driving go karts and then suddenly you got into more powerful cars like V8 cars on the Bathurst circuit, but your ultimate goal has been to get good enough, to get enough experience under your belt, to get enough street cred, to get enough street credentials or credibility, in order to race in Formula One, in the F1. So, you have one final race where if you win this race you’re going to be able to then race in Formula One. You end up winning it by a milestone, by a landslide, you absolutely dominate, and you fulfil your dreams and can now race in the Formula One. So, the world is now your oyster. You can do anything you want to do. The world’s your oyster. Alright.
So, I hope you understand the expression now, guys, ‘the world’s your oyster’. It means that you are in a position to take every opportunity that life has to offer. You can do anything. Go anywhere. Every possibility in the world is yours.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we will jump into the Aussie English fact where I’m going to talk about oysters and some of the economics of oysters in Australia and some interesting biological facts as well. So, the listen repeat exercise first. Listen and repeat after me, guys. If you want to practice your Australian accent, then pay attention to the details of how I pronounce these things, and if you are just interested in your English accent, whether it’s British, American, Singaporean, could be from anywhere else, you don’t want an Aussie English accent, then just use your normal accent. Okay, guys? Let’s go.
The world is
The world is your
The world is your oyster x 5
Good job. So, now I say it using the phrases, “I said the world was my oyster”. “You said the world was your oyster”. Okay? So, it’s sort of like reported speech, but we’re going to use it in the simple past tense. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me and practice conjugating the verb ‘to say’ and ‘to be’ in the past tense. Let’s go.
I said the world was my oyster.
You said the world was your oyster.
He said the world was his oyster.
She said the world was her oyster.
We said the world was our oyster business.
They said the world was their oyster.
It said the world was its oyster.
Good job, guys. If you want access to the video that will be breaking down today’s pronunciation exercise and going into more depth about connected speech, pronunciation, intonation, all of that kind of stuff, make sure you jump into the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Sign up. Remember, it’s just one dollar for the first month, guys. You will have 30 days to give it a try before you have to pay the full fee. You’ve got nothing to lose. Give it a go and start upgrading your English. Anyway.
Australian fact. The Aussie English fact for today. We’re going to talk all about oysters and I’m going to be a little ‘shellfish’ and talk all by myself for five minutes, okay, about what I want to talk about. I’m being ‘shellfish’. Get it? Alright.
So, facts about oysters and the oyster farming industry in Australia.
So, oysters are a type of mollusk, as we said at the start there, guys, and it is a fancy way of saying a snail, right? A snail. Except these mollusks are from a group known as ‘bivalves’, which means ‘two shells’. So, any time you find things like… I don’t know. What are they? Clams and scallops, I guess. It’s hard for me to think of different kinds of mollusks. Those are all bivalves where you’ve got two sides to their shell.
So, oysters can range in size from a few centimetres to a foot across, so 30 centimetres across, and they can live for many decades, sometimes up to 40 years, right? That’s older than me. Mind-blowing.
Oysters live in marine and brackish water habitats, so the ocean, estuaries, rock pools, that sort of stuff, salty water, but not in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes, etc.
There are three species commonly eaten in Australia. So, oysters are a common food here in Australia. The Sydney Rock Oyster, the Pacific Oyster, and the Flat Oyster. The Pacific Oyster is commonly eaten worldwide, however, the Sydney Rock Oyster is an endemic Australian species, it’s only found here in Australia, and has an annual production of 70 million oysters. That’s like three oysters for every person in Australia, and that rakes in about $35 million every year. Pretty pennies. That’s a lot of money.
So, oyster farming is one of, if not the, oldest and most valuable aquaculture industries in Australia, and it has been contributing to the economy for over 140 years.
Besides being part of the food industry, though, oysters are also a big part of the jewellery industry, or more specifically, the pearling industry. The pearling industry has also been around for over 100 years since the late 1800s when pearlers is first established themselves in Broome, which is on the north western coast of Western Australia in the Kimberley region.
So, by the year 1910, Broome was the largest pearling centre in the world benefiting from newly introduced diving suits as well as its fertile waters and the booming international pearl button market of the time.
The pearls extracted from Western Australian oysters are some of the largest and most lustrous found in the world, and in recent years a single Australian pearl fetched a price of $1.5 million dollars when it was sold. That’s ridiculous. That’s like a house or two. Jesus!
Aside from the pearls, the shells of oysters known as ‘Mother of Pearl’ as well as their meat is also highly valued and traded around the world.
It’s nice to hear how humans can exploit oysters and make money by feeding them to people or beautifying the rich with their shells and pearls, but what about the environment? What do oysters do for the environment?
So, oyster shells provide important habitat and substrate for other marine-dwelling organisms as their shells are uneven and when they grow they tend to grow together on rocks, and they provide numerous nooks and crannies for other animals such as worms and snails, sea squirts, sponges, small crabs, and fishes, all to hide amongst these shells and they can more easily evade predators thanks to these friendly oyster neighbours.
Oysters are also filter feeders, that is that they feed by filtering the water of things including microscopic plankton, suspended particles in the water, and even bacteria. And they can filter four to five litres per hour, which on a daily basis is the equivalent of 50 x 2-litre Coke bottles. Wow! That’s a lot. 100 litres a day! As a result, they keep water’s incredibly pristine clean, and other organisms like seagrasses and seaweeds and coral can, thus, more easily absorb light and grow healthily, you know, to keep these sorts of environments really, really healthy.
The last cool fact about oysters is that they can change their gender, they can change their sex. All oysters start out as males and they spawn, that is, they release sperm into the water in their early life. However, at around two to three years of age, they’ve grown to a big enough size and they have developed sufficient energy stores that they can now produce eggs and release eggs when they spawn, you know, as females, because, obviously, it requires a lot more energy to create one egg than it does to create one sperm.
So, let me know, guys, have you ever eaten an oyster? And are you the proud owner of some real pearls?
Fun fact about me, I do not own any pearls, unfortunately, and I have never eaten an oyster. I’ve seen them many times, but to be honest they kind of freaked me out, and I am yet to ever eat one.
So, with that guys, I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you got a lot out of it. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you next time.
All the best, guys.
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By pete — 9 months ago
Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression RIGHT ON THE MONEY like a native English speaker and with everyday english examples.
AE 429 – Expression: Right on the Money
You may have seen some videos doing the rounds online. The new British £5 banknote and the new Australian $5 note being used as the needle for a record player.
It’s pretty cool. They actually play music. Oh! That’s so cool!
G’day you mob! How’s it going?
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I’m your host Pete and this is the Aussie English Podcast. So, if it’s your first time listening, thanks for joining us, and if you have been listening for a while now, big thanks for coming back.
So, this is the Aussie English Podcast, guys, and the main aim of this podcast is to teach Australian English, whether you want to sound like an Australian when you speak English or whether you just want to understand how we speak, the different kinds of slang that we use, the expressions we use, and the various accents, this is the podcast for you guys, so welcome.
So, that intro scene there, guys, that was a really nifty little video that I found on a YouTube channel called BrainCraft where an Australian named Vanessa Hill talks about things such as science, psychology, neuroscience, and more.
So, I stumbled upon that when I came up with the Australian fact for today’s episode, which is going to be talking about Australian banknotes, the Australian money. And yes, our notes are pretty epic. They’re pretty cool. I’m sure that if you’ve lived in Australia you’ve seen them, and if you’re overseas and haven’t been here yet you may have still seen these online on TV somewhere, and our notes are so epic that they can play music on a record, but we’ll get to that in the end, guys.
So, a few quick announcements. I’ve been working my butt off, I’ve been working my arse off, trying to put together some new vlog videos for you guys up on the YouTube channel. Those will be linked in the transcript, and you can also obviously go to Aussie English on YouTube and just search for the word ‘vlog’, V-L-O-G.
So, these are where I go around Australia, I go around with friends, I see people, and I do daily life kind of stuff, and I’m giving you access to everyday kind of English. The way that I interact with strangers, when I order coffee, when I order food, how I speak to my friends. So, this is all in an effort to show you the real English spoken by a native speaker.
And also recently, my girlfriend was kind enough to buy me a GoPro, and I’ve been strapping this GoPro to my chest and walking around places like malls and shopping centres and just shops when I buy things, and again, I’m going to create videos that show you how I interact with people when I purchase things, when I ask for directions, when I ask where something is in a supermarket. So, make sure that you go over to Aussie English on YouTube, check out those most recent videos, and please leave a comment, let me know what you think, and also, if you have any suggestions for things you would like me to vlog about, make sure that you mention those in the comment.
Obviously, some more quick announcements, guys. The Aussie English Podcast is completely funded by you guys through your donations via my Patreon page, where you can sign up to donate as little as a dollar a month. You can donate more if you would like, but this is what helps me do what I do. And also, obviously, The Aussie English Classroom. So, you can sign up there to get all the bonus content, the videos, the quizzes, the MP3s, accent training staff, everything extra is in the Aussie English Classroom, the website online. And because I’m so proud of this product and I want it to help you as much as possible, the first 30 days are just one dollar. So, make use of that deal, guys. When you sign up you pay just a single dollar for your first 30 days before you have to pay the monthly fee, and you can thoroughly test out the Aussie English Classroom.
Anyway, that was a big intro, guys, but let’s get into today’s Aussie English joke. Okay, so this one as well is related to money. So, see if you get it. Okay? Here we go.
Why don’t cows have any money? So, why don’t cows, you know, those animals that go ‘Mooooo’, on farmland. Why don’t cows have any money? Because farmers milk them dry. A bit of a dad joke, but it’s a good one. Because farmers milk them dry.
So, I like this for several reasons. It obviously is talking about money, and then its talking about cows and farmers, but also, it uses the really cool expression ‘to milk someone dry’. And in this case, if you’re milked dry by someone or something, it’s that they have taken a resource from you. So, they’ve taken money from you and you have nothing left. So, it’s a joke. Why don’t cows have any money? Because they get milked dry. So, quite literally the farmers take milk from them, and then figuratively, they’re taking their money, right? Because they’re getting milked dry.
Anyway, today’s expression is ‘on the money’ and this was suggested by Emma. It was a great suggestion in the Aussie English Classroom private Facebook group where we all hang out, all the students in the Aussie English Classroom are always in their posting videos, and we choose the expressions for each week’s episode in there.
So, ‘on the money’ or ‘right on the money’. You can use either of these. I wonder if you guys know what this expression is, or have you heard it before? ‘Right on the money’ or ‘on the money’.
It’s a bit of a simple one, but we’ll define that after we define the words in the expression, okay?
So, ‘right’. ‘Right’, can mean a few things, right? I can use it like that to clarify whether or not you think I’m correct, whether or not you agree with me, right? You can use it to mean the opposite of left, you know if I turn to the left, while I’m driving, that’s the opposite of turning to the right. But we can also use it when something is exact, something is accurate, something is precise, okay? So, if I say that you are exactly right, you are correct, you are exact, okay?
‘On’. ‘On’ is a very common preposition that I am sure that you know. It means to be above a surface and touching it, resting on that surface. Okay? ‘On’. Right on something, exactly above and touching the surface of something.
And the last word, ‘money’. Again, I’m sure you know this one, guys. Coins, banknotes, things that are used as a medium of exchange. So, in order to exchange goods, you often use money, as opposed to just trading.
Expression Definition & Origin:
Alright, so the expression ‘on the money’, or ‘right on the money’, it just means that you are exactly correct, that you are accurate. So, if you’re right on the money, you are exactly correct, you are exactly accurate. You’re right.
So, I looked into the origin of this and there were a few different ones, but the one that I like the most that I thought that sounds about right was a story from a guy called Brad Friesen. So, he said he was a kid working as a surveyor’s assistant it was explained to him that when the earliest surveyors do their work they install what are called ‘benchmarks’, a 1-inch by 1-inch steel rod hammered into the ground at a known location and elevation. Over time, the top of these rods tarnishes as it rusts and it becomes hard to see in the viewfinder of a surveyor’s transit. So, putting a shiny coin on the top would render them more visible when the transit was setting level precisely above it. So, you’d be right on the money when you set that transit to be focusing on the coin.
So, there you go. That could be the origin, who knows, but it was an interesting explanation.
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So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on the money’ or ‘to be right on the money’.
Alright so, example number one. You could imagine that you are a teacher in a classroom full of high school students. You’re teaching something like biology, maybe physics, chemistry, could even be English, and you ask a question to the classroom. So, maybe your writing on the board, you ask a question, you turn around, and you’re like, “Who knows the answer to this question?”. The students put their hands up. You pick one of these students, and he or she answers exactly correctly. They answer with 100 percent accuracy. They’re 100 percent correct. They are right on the money, and their answer is right on the money as well.
So, example number two. Maybe you like to gamble on animals. So, you like betting, so horse racing or dog racing. We have the greyhounds racing in Australia, where they use greyhound dogs that chase, like, a fake rabbit around a track. So, if you get a hot tip, like a really good tip, about an animal that you really should bet on, a mate of you maybe he tells you, “Oh, man, you definitely have to put money on this horse or on that dog”, and you do, and he ends up being correct and you win a lot of money based on his tip. You might go back to him and say, “Dude, that hot tip, that suggestion, was right on the money! I put money on it, I won, and I made a heap of money, because your suggestion was on the money.”.
Example number three, guys. Okay. So, now imagine that you are the CEO of a company, big or small, whether it’s Facebook or Google, or maybe some kind of small company that’s from your local area, you’re the one who makes all the decisions. So, maybe you’ve got to make a decision this week about hiring a new employee, or maybe opening a new store or branch of your business somewhere, or maybe even moving into a new area of business. If you make that decision and it pays off, meaning that it was successful, it was the right decision, it was a great idea, everyone in that company might tell you, “Dude, that was right on the money!”. Although, they probably wouldn’t say “Dude” to the CEO. They’d probably say Mr or Mrs or whoever, but probably a little bit more politely than ‘dude’, but they would say, “That decision was right on the money. It was a perfect choice. It was on the money!”.
Alright, guys, good job. So, we’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise. This is your chance to practice your Aussie English pronunciation. If you’re practicing any other accent too, that is fine. I know there are plenty of listeners from other countries around the world whether it’s England, Canada, or America, and they don’t necessarily want an Australian accent. All I would recommend is using your normal accent and still saying these sentences, and the good thing about this expression is that it is used everywhere, guys, all around the world. Okay. So, listen and repeat after me and practice your pronunciation. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
Right on the
Right on the money x 5
I was right on the money
You were right on the money
He was right on the money
She was right on the money
We were right on the money
They were right on the money
It was right on the money
Good job, guys. Remember, if you would like access to the video and the exercises and everything else that will more thoroughly go through the connected speech in these exercises, make sure that you enroll in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, it’s just one buck, one dollar, for the first month. You can get in there and you can learn to speak better Australian English, and English in general, through the use of these pronunciation materials.
Okay, anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact for today, guys, and then we’ll finish up.
So, today I wanted to talk to you all about Australian money, but more specifically, I guess, Australian banknotes. So, we’ll leave the coins for another day.
So, Australian banknotes are often touted as the world’s best banknotes. They are definitely very pretty. Now I wonder if you guys have seen these before. So, I was watching a video by a YouTube channel called StandUpMaths, this is definitely one worth checking out and I will link it in the transcript, and he was talking about how cool the maths is behind these notes. So, these notes are based on a log scale where the width doesn’t increase with value, but the length increases in a linear fashion with value, and according to the Australian Mint, even the thickness increases as well based on the value of the note. So, I thought that was very cool and it is something that is very unique to money in the world. I think only Australia does it. But if you want to learn more about the maths behind this, check out the video at StandUpMaths’ YouTube channel.
So, the notes that we have in Australia come in five sizes or five values. We have the five-dollar note, the ten-dollar note, the twenty-dollar note, the fifty-dollar note, and the hundred-dollar note, and they get larger or thicker, longer or thicker, as they increase in value.
So, these are brightly coloured and look like Monopoly money, as many people say, and the colours are pink for the five-dollar note, blue for the ten-dollar note, red or orange for the twenty-dollar note, yellow for the fifty-dollar note, and green for the hundred-dollar note.
And some cool stuff for you guys that I thought I would mention is that I’ve heard slang terms from time to time regarding the twenty, fifty, and hundred-dollar notes. So, I wonder if you can guess, if I said I wanted ‘a lobster’. What colour’s are lobster, specially, when it’s cooked? It’s orange. So, I’d be talking about the twenty-dollar note. I’ve got a couple of lobsters in my wallet.
If I said I wanted ‘a pineapple’, what colour’s a pineapple? It’s yellow. So, I’d be talking about a fifty-dollar note.
And then, I have also heard ‘a green tree frog’. Can I have a green tree frog? Oh man, he’s got a few green tree frogs in his wallet. And that would be talking about the green hundred-dollar note.
Now these aren’t necessarily things that all Australians use, but I thought it was a cool anecdote to mention as I’ve heard friends use those slang terms or, I guess, euphemisms in the past to talk about these.
So, why is Australian money so unique aside from the colour and the size? Another thing, another aspect, of money, the Australian banknote and why it’s so unique, is that it is made of polymers. And these are completely waterproof notes. They’re tear resistant notes. So, you can put them in water. They won’t get wet. And if you’re tried tearing them, they’re not going to tear. So, that’s pretty unique as well. So, they’re incredibly durable and they don’t really wear out unlike money from say, America.
So, Australia got its own currency separate from that of Britain in 1966, and after a nationwide competition to name our notes, we settled on the decimal dollar instead of the UK pound. Other submissions included names such as Austral, Boomer, Kwid, and Ming.
So, these were paper notes until 1988, when the Reserve Bank of Australia and the CSIRO, sort of a science company in Australia, teamed up to create the polymer banknote. So, I didn’t realise it was that long ago in 1988. Since then, the polymer bank note technology has been improving and has culminated in the series of beautiful polymer Australian banknotes that we have today that I hope you guys have seen. And if you haven’t, make sure that you give it a quick google after this. They’re beautiful.
So, there’s plenty of cool anti-counterfeiting science and features behind these banknotes, which you can check out via the videos I’ll link in the transcript, guys. Check out BrainCraft’s video, the one that the intro was from at the start of this episode, if you want to know more about the anti-counterfeiting science and if you want to see this banknote being used to play music.
So, that was the other thing about our banknotes. So, because they’re so resistant to wear and tear the edges of these notes stay incredibly rigid and sharp, and you can actually hold the note down onto the top of a record, as it’s spinning on a record player, and it will play the music. It’ll vibrate and you can hear the music. That’s pretty epic.
So, our unique polymer bank note technology has been licensed to at least 24 other countries all around the world from Canada to Romania and even Mexico.
So, who’s on the banknotes of Australia? I might go more into depth with this in another episode, ’cause there’s quite a few people. There’s two people on every single note, on the obverse side, the front side, and on the reverse side, except for the five-dollar note, which only has the British Queen Elizabeth II on it.
So, I’ll go through these another time, but specifically, but why do we have Queen Elizabeth on our notes still of where Australia and not Britain? Well, we’re still part of the Commonwealth of Nations, or what was previously known as the British Commonwealth. So, we were obviously a colony of Britain. So, besides Britain and many other countries, too, have the Queen’s face on their currency, including places like Canada, New Zealand, Mauritius, Fiji, and even Jamaica.
Anyway, that’s it. I hope you enjoy today’s episode, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode on cash, on dough, on moolah, on money, and don’t forget to download the free MP3 and the free transcript for this episode that you can study anywhere anytime via the link below.
I’ll chat to you soon, guys. Have a good one.
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