What foreign languages have you studied? How did you learn those languages? Would you like to learn any foreign languages? Do you think it's difficult to learn a new language? Will you learn another language in the future?
  • To resist (verb) - to refuse to accept or be changed by something.
  • To pick something up (phrasal verb) - to learn a new skill or language by practising it rather than being taught it.
  • Fragmented (adj.) - consisting of several separate parts.
  • Late in the day (idiom) - too late to be useful.
  • To keep at something (phrasal verb) - to continue to do or work on something.
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Questions and answers
M: What foreign languages have you studied?

R: Well, we learned French in school. And I've been studying Russian for eight years and Turkish for just a few months now. Oh, I also learned Swedish when I lived there, I nearly forgot about that one.

M: How did you learn those languages?

R: To be honest, my French was more about resisting the teacher and messing around. But there was a lot of book learning, so it wasn't very engaging anyway. For Swedish we had speaking classes, and for Russian, I used Duolingo, and classes and just living in Russia to pick things up. My Turkish is only learned via Duolingo with the occasional fragmented conversation.

M: Would you like to learn any foreign language?

R: Any more? I mean, it's a bit late in the day, but I like the idea of learning Chinese, though there might be limits to how successful that might actually be now.

M: Do you think it's difficult to learn a new language?

R: Oh, absolutely. It's a whole new system of seeing the world and talking about it for you to absorb. And you're never really finished. Despite that, though, it's well worth the effort. You can meet some amazing people and have a lot of fun if you just keep at it.

M: Will you learn another language in the future?

R: Oh, I don't know. I think four is pretty much my limit, really. It's difficult enough speaking to people from different parts of my own country. I might try out Chinese though, now that we've talked about it.
M: So, dear listener, languages. First of all, we learn languages or we study languages. Rory, can we use both of these verbs? Learn a language, study language.

R: Yeah, but I think they mean slightly different things if you think about it, because learning a language is like about using it as a skill, whereas studying the language would be about understanding the mechanics behind it and the grammar rules, this sort of thing. So they're used interchangeably, but in fact, they mean very different things.

M: But usually you say like, I'm studying English, I learned French at school. Yeah?

R: Yes.

M: And Rory told us he learned French in school. Right? So learned, -ed, or you can say learnt. Right? So both options are possible. I learned French in school. And I've been studying Russian for eight years. So a good structure, if you're still learning a language, or you can make it up, imagine that you are studying Chinese now. So how long have you been studying this language? I've been studying Chinese or I've been studying English for 10 years for two years. So make sure you use present perfect continuous in this context. So I've been learning English for 10 years. I've been studying English for 20 years. And, Rory, you learnt Swedish.

R: I did, yeah. Well, I've learned isolated phrases and of course the swear words. But that's about it.

M: Come on, come on. Let's hear it.

R: No, I'm not swearing in Swedish. That's horrible.

M: No, not swear words, but some kind of say hi, my name is Rory in Swedish. Come on.

R: It's easier in Swedish because like hello is hej. And how are you I think is hur mår du. Good luck is Lycka till. I'm not using the pronunciation right at all. Because, like when you listen to actual Swedish people, it's much more musical, more pleasant to listen to than I sound.

M: Sweet. Rory's French was more about resisting the teacher.

R: It was awful. I hated French at school.

M: Resist the teacher like you disagree with the teacher, you resist it, like resist arrest, like the police want to arrest you and you kind of resist the arrest. So resist the teacher. And Rory was messing around. So he went to his French classes and he was, he wasn't doing much, he was just having fun, doing nothing, so he was messing around. So you can say like, oh, my French in school was about messing around. I wasn't learning much. But there was a lot of book learning. So the phrase, there was a lot of book learning. What did you mean by this?

R: It just means that we did a lot of work in textbooks, there was no actual practice of the language in an authentic context or way. But then there were 30 people in the class and we're all teenagers all misbehaving all the time, and then everything else that you have to deal with. So it's no surprise that nobody, well, at least no one in my group learned hardly anything, to be honest with you. So dear listener, if you only used a course book, and you didn't speak much, there wasn't much practice you can say there was a lot of book learning, so I didn't like the classes. Studying language should be engaging. This is the adjective, engaging, when the teacher engages you. When you are active, when you speak actively, like you, it's kind of real life. You engage in real-life conversations. So that was an engaging.
R: Yes.

M: Rory, you did use a phrasal verb for languages.

R: Did I?

M: Yes.

R: Was it pick thing... Well, it was pick up but I said pick things up, right? Yes. And actually, that's something that we talk about a lot in English language teaching as well, for our language acquisition. However, that's far too complex for today.

M: When you pick things up, you learn things, but you just like not learn them by hearts. But it happens. Learning happens.

R: Learning by exposure.

M: Exposure, like when you are exposed to different things.

R: Yeah. Just when you're around it.

M: Yeah. When you are around English, you pick things up. For example, you go to Scotland, you hear people use different Scottish words, and you pick them up. Just naturally, it happens, right? Usually, we pick up swear words, it happens naturally. Can I say that when I was in South America, I picked up some Spanish?

R: Yes.

M: Or when I was in South America, I picked up some swear words, bad words. Oh, when I was in Russia, I picked up some Russian idioms. So kind of...

R: You also pick up a lot of swear words just listening to everyday Russian conversation. It's everywhere.

M: Yeah. Also, dear listener, if, for example, in school, you learnt French but now you remember only two or three words in French. You can say that, oh, I used to learn French, but it got a bit rusty.

R: Oh, never said that. But I should have.

M: My French got a bit rusty. Rory, what about your languages? Your languages... Rory languages.

R: Oh, well, my French is like so rusty. It's like corroded and fall into pieces now, I don't know much.

M: Yeah. So you see, so Rory learned French but now he doesn't remember much. So French got a bit rusty. And if Rory wants to study French, again, Rory can say I want to freshen... Fresh it up or freshen it up?

R: Freshen it up.

M: Freshen it up. So kind of to renew my French to begin studying it again. So I want to freshen it up. It's a bit late in the day. Do you mean that you're old?

R: Well, sort of. It's that and there's just so many other things going on though that I don't really think I've got the time for it. If I was younger and had more time than I might, but you know, if I'm already keeping up with Russian and doing a little bit of Turkish, then it's difficult to take on another language in addition to everything else that I do.
M: So keep up with Russian, you see? Another phrasal verb. To keep up with my French, so to keep studying French.

R: There's another one as well. To keep at something. Is that a phrasal verb? It should be.

M: For example.

R: It's like to continue doing something or to keep trying something keep working on something.

M: So give us an example with your French or with your Swedish.

R: Well, Swedish is difficult language. But if you keep at it, then it becomes easier.

M: Yeah. If the question is would you like to learn another language? Or would you like to learn a foreign language in the future? You can say, well, it's a bit late in the day. So maybe kind of it's too late for that. Or you can use the second conditional. If I was younger, I would. But now...

R: But now it's a bit late in the day.

M: Yeah, it's a bit late in the day. When you study a language you absorb things. What do you usually absorb? Like you pick things up and you kind of... Absorb, like SpongeBob, you know?

R: Yeah, it's just like the process of taking everything in. I mean, if you think about it, what do you need to do in order to use a language successfully? You've got to be able to listen to what people are saying, and then understand it, and then think about the context of what they're saying, of what they're saying things in. And then you need to think about what you're going to say. And then you need to pronounce it properly.

M: Yeah.

R: So there's a lot.

M: You take things in, you pick them up, you absorb things, yeah? Despite the fact that there are some difficulties, it's well worth the effort. That's a very nice phrase, meaning that, well, it's worth it.

R: You can use that for anything. Exercise is difficult, but it's well worth the effort.

M: Yeah, it's well worth the effort. Don't change the phrase. Kind of or you can say, like, it's worth the effort, or it's well worth the effort. It's useful to do this. It's good for you. It will give you fruits. If you are learning two languages you can say, yeah, I'm learning two languages and that's pretty much my limit. Or yeah, I'm studying five languages. I think that's my limit.
R: Unless you're Maria and you believe there are no limits because you have unlimited amounts of time to work with.

M: Yeah. No limits, no limits. Or you can say I speak my mother tongue. So my native language and that's my limit. And a little bit of English, because I'm talking to you, dear examiner, in English, so obviously, I speak two languages. Another phrasal verb is try out. So I might try out Chinese or I might try out Mongolian. I might try out Italian or Spanish.

R: You can speak Italian. Can't you?

M: A little bit. Yeah, yeah, yeah. When I was in Sicily... Well, before I went to Sicily, I studied Italian I think for half a year. Yeah. I love Italian. Very nice. So, Rory, are you ready for a joke.

R: Do you know, it's been almost two months since we have recorded. I believe I am now prepared for a joke.

M: Okay. Like an intellectual joke. So, dear listener, brace yourself, okay? Which dinosaur knows a lot about synonyms? A

R: I wasn't ready.

M: Thesaurus, dear listener. You know like names of different dinosaurs? A dinosaur, you know, like an animal. Rory, give us some names of dinosaurs.

R: Oh, I know lots of names of Dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus. Well, they're not really in English, are they? Because they're Latin.

M: Yeah. And in English, there is a word, thesaurus. Thesaurus is a type of a dictionary in which words with similar meanings are arranged in groups. So a thesaurus is a book with synonyms, but thesaurus sounds like a name for a dinosaur. So which dinosaur knows a lot about synonyms? A thesaurus. Right, dear listener, how are you doing?

R: How are the listeners doing? How am I doing?

M: Dear listener, we have our premium episodes for you. The links are in the description. Will you promise to check them out? Do check them out. They're super useful. And today we've given you a lot of phrasal verbs which are supernatural and if you want a band nine or an eight or a seven, you should use phrasal verbs to boost your vocabulary score. Rory, where's the link for our phrasal verb course?

R: Oh, it's

M: Check out our super phrasal verbs course. The link is in the description. Bye!

R: Bye!

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