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Last updated at 16:31 BST, Friday, 17 June 2011

Two phrases about fatherhood


It's Father's Day in the UK on Sunday. Listen to this week's programme to meet William's dad and to learn a couple of phrases related to fatherhood.

William Kremer and his father

William and his dad in the studio

The script for this programme

William: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I'm William Kremer.

Yang Li: And I'm Yang Li.

William: So this Sunday is Father's Day here in the UK and in many countries around the world.

Yang Li: William, I know you are married but you are not a father yet, right?

William: Yes, that's right.

Yang Li: Well in that case, I don't think you are well qualified to talk about this topic, William!

William: Well, I disagree. All that matters is that we can speak English! So today I thought we could look at a couple of very common phrases relating to fatherhood. Let's listen to this clip of a woman talking to her friend about her son. Try and hear a phrase relating to fatherhood.

Woman: And how's Jonathan?

Woman 2: Good question – I'd like to know the answer! He's ever so quiet and I never know what he's thinking...

Woman: Oh yeah.

Woman 2: Mind you, his dad's exactly the same. Like father, like son.

Yang Li: Like father, like son. So that means that the son is just like the father, is that right?

William: Exactly, yes.

Yang Li: So, William, can you say 'like mother, like daughter'?

William: Well, you could say that but it's not really a phrase in English. 'Like father, like son' is quite a common phrase. And you have to use those exact words, you can't say 'Like his father, like my son' – it has to be 'like father, like son'.

Yang Li: So are you like your father, William?

William: That's a good question. What do you think, Dad?

William's Dad: Oh, that's a difficult question –

Yang Li: Wow, I didn't know – I didn't realise you were here, Mr Kremer! It's very nice to meet you! Very nice to meet you.

William's Dad: Nice to meet you too. I always like to keep an eye on William, make sure he's being a good son. And I think I was a good son to my father, so in that way, I think he is like me.

Li: I think you look quite alike, except that William is much taller than you – he is a giant!

William's Dad: I have to carry a chair with me wherever I go just to keep up with him!

William: Alright, Dad. So, before we finish today, let's have a look at another phrase connected with fatherhood. And this phrase means a long time before you were born. In this clip a woman is talking to her uncle. Try and hear the phrase.

Woman: I didn't know you used to have a motorbike!

Man: Oh yes. I had one for a couple of years... it must have been in the sixties; before you were even a twinkle in your father's eye!

Yang Li: Wow that was quite a long phrase – 'Before you were even a twinkle in your father's eye.'

William: Yeah, or you could say, 'You weren't even a twinkle in your father's eye'. A twinkle is something that shines brightly, like a star. So it's quite a romantic word. Maybe the phrase means: before your father ever looked at your mother in a romantic way; so, long before you were born.

Yang Li: Well, we hope that these English phrases might be useful to you this Sunday. Happy Father's Day!

William: Happy Father's Day!

William's Dad: Oh thanks guys!


Father's Day

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    Learn some phrases related to fatherhood with William and a special guest
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    Try our crossword about fathers

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