For all you dedicated bloggers ...
G’day and hey up! (Look, I’m bilingual!!!)
This post is entirely dedicated to those of you who are faithfully posting comments – if you keep reading, you’ll find your name somewhere, I guarantee it! And please do keep them coming (I know say this every time, but it’s absolutely fantastic to have a global classroom of such interesting people!). Satya, I’ve read your last two posts with interest, and certainly haven’t forgotten your questions – I promise I’ll get to them in my next post!
Before I start, some quick feedback on the homework; most of you got the answers to my questions right:
1. I wish I HADN’T eaten so much for lunch – I feel really sick now.
2. Owen, I wish you WOULD stop putting your toys in the fridge.
(No, he doesn’t really do this, but only because he can’t open the door!)
3. I wish I HAD a faster internet connection – uploading this post will take ages!
4. I wish I COULD be the BBC teacher blogger again next year.
Well done on having a go at some sentences of your own, too – just make sure you keep an eye out for wish + would; if you’re not complaining about something, it’s better to use could.
As for the difference between have the day off and take the day off – a lot of you got this right and also expressed the difference very clearly, so well done for that too! (I just reread your comments to see if there was one I could pinch, but so many of you got it right it wouldn’t be fair, so I guess I’ll have to do it myself!)
Have the day off – someone has given me the day off (e.g. it’s a public holiday, the office is closed, etc)
Take the day off - I have decided myself that I’ll have the day off (e.g. I’m sick, I don’t feel like going to work, etc).
I also need to apologise that I’m only posting this now – I had intended to get it on the site yesterday, but hope you will all forgive me! (And NO HOMEWORK today otherwise we’ll be here forever!!) I have a couple of really exciting things coming up that I plan to tell you about – tomorrow night I’m going to the Night Noodle Market in the city, and on Sunday I’m doing my favourite Sydney walk, from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, so more on those as they happen.
OK, let’s get down to it – apologies if I misspell anyone’s name (my spell check doesn’t even recognise the word blog, so I don’t hold out much hope!). I hope I’ve replied to all of you – if I’ve missed anyone out, send me a comment and complain, and I’ll rectify it as soon as I can!
Bye for now,
Silwal Kishor from Nepal – Thank you for all your comments, and for the interesting information you’re telling us about your country. I didn’t realise that in Nepal you celebrate birthdays according the lunar calendar (I think the Koreans do as well – does anyone else?). I think you’re right about people seeing Australia as a place of opportunity, as I’ve met a lot more Nepalese people recently through work than when I first arrived here. I’m glad you’re using the blog to brush up your English – especially the phrasal verbs! – that’s great!
Adriana from Brazil – Believe it or not, although the koalas look very soft and fluffy (which they are), they also smell very strongly of eucalyptus, because that’s all they eat, and if you stroke one a couple of times your hands will smell too! Kangaroos can cause a lot of damage to cars – they are quite common on country roads especially around dusk and dawn, when they can be quite hard to see, and because they’re such big animals they can really damage a car if it hits them at high speed. For this reason, many cars in the country are equipped with “roo bars”, which are metal bars fixed to the front of the car to avoid damage if a kangaroo is hit. I’m very impressed that you’ve been reading the Sydney Morning Herald (the website is: if anyone else is interested in having a look). Keep up with the comments!
Ana Paula from Brazil – Good work on all the vocab; I’m really impressed by your dedication! Are you studying for one of the Cambridge exams, or just using the website to practise your English? There’s another really good website with Cambridge practice activities: I’m sure you know of it already, but just in case you don’t, here’s the address: . Please say G’day to your sister from me, and tell her to keep on letting you use the computer!
Naheed from Pakistan – How great that you’re using a grammar book to practise the language points we discuss on the blog – good thinking! Owen isn’t really good with chopsticks – he just wanted them because we had them, but it didn’t take him long to figure out that if you bang them on the table you can make a really loud noise!
Rafique from Pakistan – Well done on all your answers to the homework! Australians do indeed have a horror of the rule book, which is why there is so much slang! Watch this space for more … and keep commenting!
Carolina from Argentina – Welcome to the blog! I’m really glad you’re so motivated to reply to all my posts, it’s great to hear from you so regularly! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day last weekend and didn’t have to do any housework at all! I missed out on the UK Mother’s Day (in March) this year because I was here, and I missed out on Aussie Mother’s Day (in May) because I was in the UK! That’s doing well, isn’t it?!
I am totally with you on cockroaches – they are truly disgusting creatures that make my skin crawl to think of them! They’re not so common in the UK, so I really got a shock when I came to Oz, especially because they’re so big! And they fly! Eugh!
Your husband is absolutely right about the rugby- one day soon I’ll do a post on Aussie sport (I’ll have to get Chris to check it before I put it up in case I make any mistakes!). Actually, I’m OK on rugby, it’s cricket that causes problems!
Yvonne from Germany, NRW, Ahaus – Hi! Thanks for all your comments and for being so good about the homework! I will try and write a bit more about Yorkshire and also (of course) about Sydney. I would love to hear a bit about where you come from – I have visited Germany several times (never been to Berlin, though), and am curious to know what NRW stands for, and whereabouts it is. It was interesting to read about how you celebrate your national holiday; there is a similar event in Oz on January 26th, called Australia Day.
What sort of work would you like to do in the UK?
Paulraj from India – Yes, Aussies definitely love their sport! (You’re talking to the wrong person about cricket, though, I just don’t get it!). I’m sure Chris would love to sit down and have a chinwag with you on the topic – he’s a mad fan and is also a member of one of the local teams – they play every Saturday. Owen made his day recently by saying “Do you want to play cricket with me, Daddy?” I’m not sure he knows what cricket is, really, but Chris was pleased to bits!
You ask a good question about Owen’s accent – it’s kind of a mixture of both, but mainly mine because I’m the one who he spends the most time with. I guess when he starts preschool he’ll become a proper little Aussie and all my hard work will be lost!
I really enjoyed your description of the peacocks and tigers – there were some peacocks at the wildlife park (even a white one, which was really beautiful). We are big fans of tigers in our house, and also of elephants (when Owen was younger, he couldn’t say elephant so he used to say “hennant” instead!). I should plan a trip to the zoo, really, so he can see them for himself.
Yes, you are right about my use of the past perfect in my post about the unbirthday party – great to see you picking up on examples from my writing!
And regarding dingoes, I’m actually not sure whether they’re dangerous or not – I suspect they’re fairly unthreatening creatures as long as they’re not provoked. I’ll do some research and see if I can find out (that means I’ll ask Chris!).
Marianna from Slovakia – Dobry den! Well done on the Germany sentence – very good! That’s not the first time someone’s said that to me, actually … wonder why?! Chris studied Ancient Greek as part of his Master’s degree at Durham Uni in England (that’s where we met). He’s also done some Latin and German, and a bit of French (my sister lives in France, so we both madly try and brush up our French whenever we go and see her!). Actually, I can tell you a story about Chris’s Ancient Greek lessons (I’m sure he won’t mind). The lessons used to be held first thing on Monday mornings (always a bad time, in my opinion!!), and the teacher was a rather elderly man who believed in round-the-class translation. I’m sure if you’ve ever had a teacher like that you know what happens – you work out which sentence you will have to translate and then don’t pay attention to anything else! Anyway, Chris used to walk into class, fall asleep, wake up to translate his sentence and then go back to sleep for the rest of the lesson! Occasionally he didn’t wake up, then his mate had to poke him in the ribs and point out which sentence they were up to in the text!
Regarding what you say about wombats, it is hard to see them in the wild, generally – I hadn’t seen one until a couple of years ago when my parents came over for Owen’s naming ceremony. We rented a house in Kangaroo Valley (about 2 hrs south of Sydney) for a few days, and there were heaps of them! They’re nocturnal, so we used to go outside at dusk and keep an eye out for them then.
Wisarut from Thailand – Thai food! Yay! I’d never tried Thai food before I came here, and I love it! I still find it hard to eat really spicy food, though (Chris does – I don’t think he has any sensation in his mouth at all, as he can eat things that would make my mouth explode! You know on cartoons where you see someone eat something spicy and then steam comes out of their ears? That’s me!). Owen is a big fan of chicken satay, and I’m slowly trying to introduce other things as well – what sort of foods did you eat when you were little? Anything you would recommend for a two-year-old?
How’s work going – hope it’s less frustrating now! I’ll tell you a lot more about Oz if you tell us a lot more about Thailand – it’s one of the countries that’s on my list of places to visit (unfortunately it’s a very long list, and I don’t think I’ll ever get round to going everywhere! Oh well!).
Abdul Razaq from Afghanistan – First of all, Happy Birthday to Tawab for yesterday - even though my sense of world time is really bad, I'm pretty sure it's no longer 9th Oct in Afghanistan! Please wish him a happy birthday from Australia, even if you’re not going to celebrate it until the end of the fast! How old is he?
You asked about improving your speaking and writing; I can certainly give you some ideas, but I’d like to see if anyone else has any suggestions? How do you all improve your spoken and written English? Regarding writing, a lot of the students I teach keep a diary so that they can practise writing in English, especially the new grammar and structures that they have learned. There are also some good websites for this (have a look at my comment to Ana Paula for one suggestion). Regarding speaking, I don’t know how much access you have to English materials, but one way would be to listen to a TV or radio program in English and try to repeat some of the words or phrases to practise the pronunciation. If you have any examples of written English, try reading it aloud, slowly and first and then more quickly to get used to how it sounds and links together. (You could even use the posts on the Teacher Blog for this!). Your vocabulary is already very good, so use your knowledge of English words and phrases whenever you’re writing and speaking so you can consolidate this too. Hope that helps – and please keep the comments coming!
Sara from Saudi Arabia – Yes, there are lots of differences between Aussie English and British English (especially regarding slang). I’ll have a think about some examples and post them for you all to have a look at. You’re right, G’Day is a short form of Good Day, and goodonya for working it out! (Now can you guess what goodonya means?!)
Myen from Vietnam – I have indeed tried Vietnamese food (and love it!); see my response to Lam Tran below for more details! Well done on the homework – I’m not keen on Aussie spiders either, believe me! Eugh! Owen loved the kangaroos; you can actually buy food for them and feed them as you walk around, and he loved doing that. I felt a bit sorry for them, though, as there were heaps of people doing the same thing and I think they must have been a bit sick of it after a while! Thank you so much for all your comments – keep them coming!
Adek from Poland – Thanks for all your comments; it’s great that you check in so regularly. I think Pom can be used a bit disparagingly, but I’ve mainly encountered it as a statement of fact. Aussies and Kiwis often tend to refer to people from the UK as “whinging Poms” in reference to the fact that British people complain a lot (I just say that if Oz was more like England we wouldn’t need to complain, and then they shut up!). It’s funny, though, I’d rather be called a Pom than a Brit – isn’t that interesting? I wonder why? (You don’t have to answer that!)
I was OK with Owen getting that close to the kangaroos – at the wildlife park they’re quite used to people touching them, and there are people-free areas where they can go if they’ve had enough. I was watching him pretty closely, though, and would have whisked him away at the first sign of trouble! There was one point where he nearly trod on a sleeping kangaroo’s tail (accidentally), which could potentially have been a bit tricky!!
Rocio from México – Yes, Sydney is a very beautiful city, and there will definitely be more pictures, now I know how to do it!! Well done on the homework – you’re spot on! Thanks for your request about gerunds and infinitives; I think a lot of people find that difficult, so I’ll do a focus on that for everyone next week sometime – keep checking in and commenting, it’s great to hear from you!
Lam Tran from Vietnam – I loved your descriptions of Women’s Day and Teacher’s day; sounds like I should plan to visit Vietnam between October and November so I can be involved in both! (That would be great, actually, because then I could spend my birthday there too!) Yes, I have tried Vietnamese food, and I love it! I’m really lucky where I live because not only is the Vietnamese restaurant in Dulwich Hill fantastic, but also there is a large Vietnamese population in Marrickville (the next suburb down from Dulwich Hill) with lots of really good restaurants. I especially love the fresh prawn rolls (I think they’re called goi cuon, is that right?), but I’d love to hear any recommendations for things to try! Keep the comments coming!
Zainab from Iran – You’re absolutely right about the difference between have the day off and take the day off – well done!!
Paco from Spain – Thanks for your comments, and well done on the homework – top marks! Glad you liked the photos; watch this space and there will be more!
Sara from Bahrain – What a good idea to turn Mother’s Day into Family Day; that covers everyone! Please keep on reading and commenting; it would be good to hear from you again.
Milan from Viet Nam – It was great to hear how you spend Father’s Day. I like the idea of karaoke, but I don’t think I could convince Chris! (Maybe I could do a surprise unbirthday karaoke next year!) I think you’re onto something with an unbirthday party for either you or your mum so you don’t have two parties in the same month – let me know if you do it and how it works out!
Hyoshil from Lincoln – Thank you so much for your reassurance about Thomas the Tank Engine – it’s nice to know there is light at the end of the tunnel (also nice to know that my boy is not the only one with a train obsession!). Did you enjoy your time in Oz? And what do you think of Lincoln? Lincoln is not too far from where I’m from – I was born and grew up in Doncaster.
P – I have no idea why Aussies speak so quickly, but you’re right, they do! Your question about written styles is a good one – written English is pretty much the same in Oz and the UK; it seems to be the US that’s different. Spoken English, though, as I guess you’ve worked out, is a totally different story!
Manas from India – Well done with the “wish” homework; perfect! Glad you liked the photos – more coming soon, hopefully!
Antonio from Belgium – Thanks for the comments! Please keep reading the posts and letting me know what you think!
Pary from Iran – How’s your boy doing? Sounds like he keeps you on your toes as much as mine does! I’d love to hear more about the different celebrations you have in Iran, as there doesn’t seem to be nearly as many in Oz. I especially like the sound of Teacher’s Day!!
Josie from The Netherlands – Lovely to hear so much about you! What’s it like having a six-year-old? (I can’t imagine that at the moment, although I’m sure it will happen to me sooner than I expect!) Tiago is a lovely name – I wonder what the English version is? Does anyone have any ideas? Please pluck up the courage to write again – we’d love to hear from you!!
Filippo from Italy – Ciao! Yes, Chris eventually recovered from Australia’s loss to Italy (I didn’t care, I was supporting England – pointlessly, as it turned out!!). Actually, your comment made me think a bit about the World Cup – as I’m sure you know, there’s a large Italian population in Australia (especially in Sydney and Melbourne), and in fact one of our closest friends is an Italian-Australian; there was a real case of divided loyalties when Oz made it through into the cup. In our case, our friend was supporting Oz, until they were knocked out, but he took a lot of stick for it from people who thought he should have been supporting Italy. Interesting stuff!
The concert in Rome sounds fantastic – have you ever been?
Anna Yin from Toronto – That’s a very tricky question – thank you! (It’s always nice to get tricky questions!). I’m going to throw it at a few of my colleagues for their suggestions, and I’ll get back to you – hope that’s OK!
Sunday from Beijing,China – Well done on your first comment! Great stuff! I’m glad you’re learning so much from the site, and I’m looking forward to reading more comments in the future.
Reza from Belgium – Thank you for your feedback; the reason I don’t include a definition for the new words is I’d like you to try to guess them from the context (that’s a really good skill to have when dealing with vocab). I also try and reuse the new words in my other posts, if I can, so you can see other ways they are used. What I plan to do is post a list of definitions every two weeks, so you can check up on any that you weren’t sure of. Hope that helps!
Tiasha, Sri Lanka – I’m glad to meet you too! Thank you very much for your comments; keep reading and writing to us!
Sylvia from Leeds, Yorkshire UK – Now I’m the one who’s excited (let me explain!). I lived in Leeds for 3 years when I was at University there, and loved it! So your comment brought all sorts of memories flooding back, especially about the cold and dark! But how lovely it will be when they switch on the Christmas illuminations (do they still do that?). How’s the teacher training going?
David from from China and living in Germany – Here’s a bit of trivia for you - do you know another symbol of Australia? (It’s on the coat of arms.) It’s the emu, and the reason these two animals are on the coat of arms (instead of wombats, for example!) is that neither of them can walk/move backwards. As for the difference between dingoes and wolves, there my knowledge fails me (except that they’re both part of the dog family). If I ever do find out, though, you’ll be the first to know!
Chandra from India - I will indeed keep saying more and more about Australia (until my knowledge runs out, and then Chris will be doing the blogging!)
Daria from Russia – I’m so glad we’ve inspired you to pluck up your courage and start some active learning – that’s fantastic! Keep the comments coming!
Pilar from Spain – Glad you liked the photos; Aussie animals are pretty special, aren’t they! Does your dog really bite the furniture? Maybe you could put his toys in the fridge as a punishment ;-)
Leila from Finland – G’day possum! Are you sure you’re not an Aussie Sheila yourself? (For those who wanted some slang, Sheila means “woman”, although it’s not so common any more, so my Aussie husband informs me! The equivalent for a man is “bloke” – doesn’t seem quite even to me!). Great to have you back on the blog!
Suchitra from Nepal – Yes, Sydney is a great place to live, although I never thought I’d end up here! You’re absolutely right about the diversity of cultures here, and I totally agree that it’s good to experience so many things – I went to a lovely Nepalese restaurant a couple of weeks ago with a friend, and really enjoyed it! So did my friend, and she’s lived in Sydney for years and never tried Nepalese food (I guess that’s the downside to such a variety – it takes ages to try everything!) I’m glad you enjoyed the Aussie animals – so did we!
Sky from China – G’day! I like kangaroos too (but I like wombats even more!). You’re absolutely right about one man’s meat being another man’s poison, but you have to remember that kangaroos are very common in Oz, and are often farmed for meat and skins etc. Personally, I am a bit squeamish about eating kangaroo (as I am about duck, rabbit and other fluffy animals!), although I have done it once, in a Thai restaurant!! It was actually quite nice – it was served in a curry with peanuts and potatoes (I think it’s called Massaman curry, is that right, Wisarut?), but I don’t think I really need to eat it again (the kangaroo, not the curry! I believe the traditional way to eat it is wtih beef, which suits me much better!). Hope you do come back again, it would be nice to hear more from you!
Tanuja from India – Thanks for your comments! Keep checking in, and we’d love to hear from you again!
Phuong Nga from Vietnam – Glad you like the blogs! Keep checking in and seeing what’s happening (and what homework I can come up with!)
Fatemeh from Afghanistan – Welcome! It’s always nice to meet someone new! Keep reading the blog (and adding comments). You did a good job with the first homework, so try the others and see how you do.
Anna from Warsaw, Poland – I certainly can tell you about traditional Australian food (food being my favourite topic!). I think maybe other people might be interested in this too, so I’ll do a post on it soon (maybe with some recipes?)
Hualan from Melbourne – Yes, I know exactly which holiday you are talking about! Everyone else, you’ll have to wait until November (aren’t I mean?!) to find out all about it! And well done on knowing all the animals!
And just a little bit of vocab - if you've managed to read until the end of this enormous post, congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back!
to keep an eye out for sth (expr)
to brush up (phr vb)
to make your skin crawl (expr)
a chinwag (n, informal)
to be pleased to bits (expr)
to provoke sb (v)
goodonya (Aus. slang)
to be onto sth (expr)
there's light at the end of the tunnel (expr)
to pluck up (one's) courage (expr)
to bring (a memory or experience) flooding back (expr)
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