This episode's vocabulary
- To invest (verb) - to put money, effort, time, etc. into something to make a profit or get an advantage.
- To convey (verb) - to express a thought, feeling, or idea so that it is understood by other people.
- Grasp (noun) - understanding.
- Notoriously (adverb) - in a way that is famous for something bad.
- Equitable (adj.) - treating everyone fairly and in the same way.
- Burden (noun) - something difficult or unpleasant that you have to deal with or worry about.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory here is going to describe something that he is interested to learn or improve. He's going to say what it is, how he will learn or improve it, he's going to say why he is interested in it, and explain how he feels about learning about it. Rory, off you go. Tell us. Stuff.
R: Something I've been working on for a while, but I really need to invest a bit more time and effort in is my Russian language or my Russian language ability, I suppose. I know a lot about simple phrases, and a great deal about vocabulary and pronunciation, since it's quite close to that of my own country's languages. However, my understanding of the grammar structures and the meanings they convey in addition to my grasp of listening skills is not really great. So it needs to get better. I've looked into taking classes online, and I want to set aside time for this and do extra practice tasks once my university course is over. Despite this, I still think it's gonna take a while to improve since developing this level of understanding in a language like Russian is notoriously difficult, but I'm willing to give it a try. And it's important for me, since I have many Russian friends, and I want to be able to communicate with them on equal terms, rather than just expect them to speak to me in English all the time. While I'm sure they appreciate the practice, it's hardly equitable, and it's perhaps a little selfish on my part, it's important to treat your friends well and with respect, even if it's just sharing the burden of communication. I think not many English speakers appreciate this, because so many people around the world speak our language. But we should make an effort to speak other people's as well, because it is quite a burden for them. I'm interested to see how far I can get in a short space of time, even with all the intensive work, hopefully, it will be easier than I suspect it is. But if it's not, then at least I'm prepared for that. I'll probably need to stock up on energy drinks as much as patience. And I suspect that anyone who's teaching grammar to me will need to do the same because I take a really long time to get these things into my head. But at least I'm willing to give it a try. Which is more than can be said for most people.
M: Do you think that you're going to do it anytime soon?
R: Well, yeah, my course is finishing in a few weeks. So why not.
M: Thank you, Rory!
M: Oh, look at you and your Russian. Hey!
R: Look at me and the disaster that is my understanding of Russian.
M: So what's your Russian now? Like Elementary? But I think it was elementary or pre-intermediate?
R: It's probably pre-intermediate, but it's still pretty like that's not saying much for us.
M: But it used to be pre-intermediate, but now like you're in Scotland, so you kind of, it, your Russian got a bit rusty? Didn't it?
R: Just a little bit.
M: Yeah. Oh, boy. Russian. Yeah. I have no idea how you guys learn Russian. Because it's like, I don't know. Yeah, English is the easiest language, dear listener. Yeah. So...
R: No, it's not.
M: No, it is the easiest. Come on.
R: I don't think any language is easy.
M: Okay, well, yeah, fair enough. But if we compare English to Russian, or compare English to Japanese or Chinese. So yeah. Or Finnish.
R: Is it not all relative to the language that you speak in the first place?
M: Also. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Your L1 we call it. Your mother tongue or your native language is important. Yeah. Anyway, so the task is "Describe something that you are interested to learn or improve". So you're interested to learn another language, or you're interested to improve your skills, your driving skills, your language skills, your cooking skills. So dear listener, could you now choose what you are interested to learn or improve? So pretty much it could be a different language or language you've been learning. But now maybe you want to learn again. And even if you don't want to learn or...
R: Just lie.
M: Just lie. Yeah, because I think it's really easy to talk about a language here. Or maybe you've been thinking about learning Italian and yeah, you can say, you can lie about oh, yeah, I've always been interested in learning Italian, but you've never done it, right? Or improve your cooking skills, improve your listening skills in English. So yeah, right. And, Rory, you said that something I've been working on for a while, so it's nice to start it off with present perfect continuous.
R: Perfect Continuous, yay!
M: So it's the same like, I've been living in Moscow for all my life, I've been wanting to do this, right. So I've been working on this for a while. For a while, like for some time. And then you say that I really need to invest more time and effort in it. So invest more time, give it more time.
M: Init, init.
R: Init, bruv?
M: And invest more effort in learning Italian, for example, and what other synonyms can we use to say that I want to improve my driving skills, I want to learn, I want to improve it?
R: I want to get better at something.
M: Yeah, I want to get better at cooking, for example.
R: I want to make something better.
M: I want to improve my driving skills, right, or I want to learn how to drive. And then you can say that I'm interested in cooking, I'm interested in learning Italian. Yeah. But again, here, you need to choose something again, that's easy for you to talk about. Okay. And you said that I've looked into doing something. So I've looked into taking classes, or I've looked into different courses, or I've looked into driving tests. It means that you've researched something.
R: Yes, but not like deep research.
M: And then you say I want to set aside time for this. So if you want to improve your language skills, okay, I want to learn Italian. And I want to set aside time for this. To have some extra classes or extra practice. Yeah, if you set aside time, what do you do?
R: Well, you make sure that you have the time available, because you've planned it. Or it's in your schedule.
M: Yep. Then you can say that, I think it will take a while to improve. So it will take some time, or it will take a long time to improve it. Again, doesn't matter what you're talking about. And I liked when you said like Russian is notoriously difficult.
R: Well, the grammar is notoriously difficult, and so is the listening because it's also fast.
M: If something is notoriously difficult, like everybody knows that it's supposed to be difficult. And then you can say like it's important for me since I have many Russian friends. So here since it means the same as because.
R: I hope people are taking note of the fact that I'm using since and as instead of because.
M: Yes, please take a note of this. All right? Rory doesn't use because all the time.
R: No. I mean, like in general, if you listen to the other podcasts, then I'm also doing it there as well. And that is the reason why I'm doing it because we need to vary our connectors.
M: Yeah. And also speaking of connectors, you say that, while I'm sure they appreciate the practice, it's hardly blah, blah, blah. So while blah, blah. So it's a contrast sentence to contrast two ideas. And you said something like, it's hardly equitable. Equitable.
R: Yes. So it's like, even, more fair.
M: And then you can say, I'm interested to see how far I can get in a short space of time. So I'm interested to see how far can I go with it. How far I can improve, like driving or cooking or speaking English. And then hopefully, it will be easier than I suspect. That's a good one. So hopefully, it will be easier or much easier than I suspect it is.
R: Well, easier than I suspect I suppose.
M: So when you said that you need to stock up on energy drinks. What did you mean by that? So learning Russian and energy drinks?
R: You just need to like, have lots and lots of energy drinks to keep going basically.
M: What about patients?
R: You need to stock up on patience too
M: Yeah, stock up on patients, you need to kind of collect patience. And also you can say like, okay, I'm going to give it a try. So I'm going to do it. I'm going to improve it. I'm going to give it a try. So that's a nice, natural collocation. Okay, Rory, tell us, how did you organize the answer to make it coherent, logical and for examiner to follow your fast Scottish speech easily?
R: Well, I covered all the basics in the order that they're presented, but I didn't say something I want to learn and improve. It was something I've been working on for a while. And this is just to explain what it is. And then if we talk about how I'll do it. I didn't actually say I will improve it by... No, I just said I looked into blah, blah blah. And I want to dah, dah, dah. Then to introduce being interested in it, you could, well, I think I said, why it's important for me. So like, it's not, I'm interested in this because it's, it's important to me since and then explaining why. And then when we talked about feelings, it's more, I did not actually explicitly say anything about feelings part of maybe patience, just that I'm ready for it to be frustrating, or difficult experience, which is what I think, I think it's going to be difficult, but I think it will be worthwhile. And if you're wanting to know more about how to describe things that are difficult, then we've recorded a podcast episode on difficulties too. And you can check that out in more detail.
M: Thank you! Lovely! So what would be your next choice, if not the Russian language, so what would you talk about?
R: I need to learn how to drive.
M: Oh, really?
R: I thought about talking about learning how to drive. But I think I've already spoken about this before, and I'm useless when it comes to driving. So I should talk about something that I can do to certain level of competency.
M: But why would you, why would you want to learn how to drive?
R: In case I need to escape a zombie outbreak.
R: That's why, that's why everybody learns to drive, right?
M: Okay, so to run away from zombies. All right, cool.
R: Yeah. To drive away from there.
M: To drive away from zombies. Yeah, sorry. Because like, if you don't have any zombies, so then like Scotland is quite small. So why would you drive? You just can walk from one place to the other.
R: I think you underestimate just how small or how large Scotland is.
M: Well, in comparison to Russia, you know, Scotland is just nothing. It's just like a tiny dot.
R: In comparison to any country in the world. Your country is the size of a small planet. Like that's not fair.
M: Oh, boy, why would you need a car in Scotland? Really? You can just walk.
R: You can just stroll down the road and find out where you're supposed to be.
M: Oh, boy.
R: Yes, that's how geography works.
M: On this bright note, thank you very much for listening! And we'll see you in the next episode about learning!
Make sure to subscribe to our social media to see some of the “behind the scenes” stuff:
Our Instagram: bit.ly/instagramswi
Our Telegram: bit.ly/telegramswi