Listen to the podcast:
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Me – My story – DanSensei English Podcast
Listening is a great way to improve your listening skills and your English in general because it will help you naturally pick up new language and grammar in context. It is a very important skill to develop and listening to podcasts is a great way to do that.
That’s one of the main reasons I started this podcast. I want to give English learners a chance to listen to a podcast that is designed for them and that is interesting and fun. No one wants to listen to a podcast about grammar, right?
In this episode, I talk about my story and how I got to where I am now. I also answers some questions from listeners as well as give some details about the podcast moving forward. The podcast has a lot of interesting stuff in it, but here are the highlights.
The podcast is changing:
I have had a podcast on this channel for a while, but it is going to change from today.
The focus is moving away from teaching English through a podcast to a more conversational style podcast where you can listen to English that is more natural than my scripted videos. You can pick up new words naturally because you will hear them used correctly in context which is really important.
Native Speakers Don’t Know Their Own Language.
One thing that surprises students is that before I became an English teacher, I didn’t really know much about English.
I remember when I started learning teaching, I remember the lecturer said “What is the subject in this sentence” and I was like “What?!? What do you mean?” and that is one of the most basic grammatical things in English that I did not understand at all.
As a language learner, you learn how the language works but as native speakers, we just speak and don’t really think about how it works. This is probably true for you with your own language too.
When we learn our native language, we don’t really worry too much about why things work the way they do, we just accept it and learn how to use it. This is a big point I want you to pay attention too.
Don’t spend too much time worrying about why something works the way it does and just think about how you can use this to communicate.
Textbook English Vs Native English:
When you start learning a new language, it is very natural to grab a textbook or join a class and learn in a very controlled way. This is how most people start learning a new language.
However, this will end up causing you a problem when you encounter native speakers.
If you ever go to England, you will realise that the English in your textbook and the English that they use is not the same English.
Of course it isn’t. Textbooks are like the foundations of a house. They will give you the very basics that you need to get started using a language. However, native speakers are much more advanced that that.
We love to use slang, idioms, phrasal verbs and we speak quickly and use all sorts of techniques that will confuse language learners. Luckily for you, this is the stuff I want to help you with.
Before I moved to Japan, I studied a little using textbooks and I took a few lessons but when I got to Japan, I realised that I basically knew nothing. I couldn’t communicate at all and I had to start learning from scratch. This meant that I missed out on a lot of opportunities because I couldn’t speak the language.
In order to avoid these problems, you need to spend time communicating with native speakers. There are lots of ways to do this that we will talk about in a future episode.
What is my most used British word?
A listener asked me this question and it is not an easy answer.
But after thinking about it for a while, I think I use the word “proper” a lot. Maybe you know what this word means in standard English, but in British English, the meaning is slightly different.
In British English, The word proper, we use all the time and it basically means very.
- It is proper hot today
- That is proper expensive
- He proper does my head in. I can’t be doing with him!
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I want to learn a British Accent!
This is another thing that someone said in the live stream that I hear all the time. People often ask me, how can I speak with a British accent and speak British English.
What is British English? There are so many different accents. There are like 40 different accents!
There are loads of different accents in the UK and they are all different so when people ask me this question, they are confused by my answer.
The truth is that, you need to choose one accent and focus on it. Most people think of RP when they think of British English, but this is very different to people in Yorkshire where I grew up. You need to pick an accent you want to learn and listen to it a lot. This will help you get used to hearing the sounds, pronunciation and stress which is common in that accent.
I would say though, there is no need to speak with an accent that is not your own. You don’t need to sound British to be able to communicate in English and your natural accent is not something that you need to fix or change. As long as people can understand what you are saying, then your natural accent is the best one!
What is my natural accent like?
I am from Yorkshire, which is in the North of England. We usually speak in a Yorkshire dialect with a pretty thick accent.
When I came to Japan, I still had a thick Yorkshire accent and my students couldn’t understand me, so I had to develop a teacher voice that was easier to understand.
That is why the accent I use in my videos is not the same as my normal accent. If I spoke in my natural dialect, even other people from England might find it difficult to understand. Most teachers have to do this to some degree. We change our voice and the words we use to make it easier for learners to understand.
However, sometimes students want to hear the real deal and I usually blow their mind.
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