Saturday, 17 August 2013

Learn English with Ricky Gervais (phonetic subtitle) video

Learn English with Ricky Gervais transcription Summary

Here are my comments on the phonetic transcription of "Learn English with Ricky Gervais", which you can find here:
http://www.youdolife.com/2013/08/learn-english-with-ricky-gervais-pt1.html
http://www.youdolife.com/2013/08/English-with-Ricky-Gervais-Part-2.html
http://www.youdolife.com/2013/08/English-with-Ricky-Gervais-Part-3.html

I have marked some features of Ricky's pronunciation and Karl's pronunciation.

For example, like many British English-speakers, they both tend towards a glottal stop ( / ʔ / ) rather than a pronounced / t / in words such as "right":

"Right": / raɪʔ / rather than / raɪt /
"won't": / wəʊnʔ / rather than / wəʊnt /
"what": / wɒʔ / rather than / wɒt /

However, one feature of Ricky's comedy, also used by Karl, is to pronounce the / t / for comic effect and emphasis.

An example in this skit is when Karl asks:

What teabags have you got?
| ˈwɒʔ tiː bæɡz hæv jə ˈɡɒt |

Usually the "got" would be / ɡɒʔ / but by pronouncing the / t / it just makes the whole situation all the more hysterical.

Other details I marked include the difference between Karl's "northern English" vowel-sounds and Ricky's "southern English" vowel-sounds:

"stuff": / stʊf / rather / stʌf /
"none": / nʊn /
"stunk": / stʊŋk /
"up to someone": / ʊp tə ˈsʊmwʊn /

"ask": / æsk / rather than "ask" / ɑːsk /


Time to add the subtitles to the video.

Learn English with Ricky Gervais transcription Part 3

125
00:04:17 - - > 00:04:19
Right, okay, you've ...
| raɪʔ | ˌəʊˈkeɪ | juːv |

126
00:04:19 - - > 00:04:20
!!!! >< !!!!

127
00:04:20 - - > 00:04:21
Okay.
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ |

128
00:04:21 - - > 00:04:22
What would they want to -
| ˈwɒʔ wʊd ˈðeɪ wɒnt tə |

129
00:04:22 - - > 00:04:23
Look, you see that's why
| lʊk | ju ˈsiː ðæts waɪ |

130
00:04:23 - - > 00:04:24
we've got to focus on ...
| wiːv ˈɡɒt tə ˈfəʊkəs ɒn |

131
00:04:24 - - > 00:04:25
are we focusing on Chinese?
| ɑː wiː ˈfəʊkəsɪŋ ɒn tʃaɪˈniːz |

132
00:04:25 - - > 00:04:26
No!
| nəʊ |

133
00:04:26 - - > 00:04:28
Well, we should, because
| wel | wiː ʃʊd | bɪˈkɒz |

134
00:04:28 - - > 00:04:30
different people want different things.
| ˈdɪfrənʔ ˈpiːpl̩ wɒnʔ ˈdɪfrənʔ ˈθɪŋz |

135
00:04:30 - -  > 00:04:31
Right.
| raɪʔ |

136
00:04:31 - - > 00:04:33
So what would Chinese want?
| ˈsəʊ ˈwɒʔ wʊd tʃaɪˈniːz wɒnʔ |

137
00:04:33 - - > 00:04:34
They come to England. (-Right)
| ˈðeɪ kʊm tu ˈɪŋɡlənd | raɪʔ |

138
00:04:34 - - > 00:04:35
What do they want?
| ˈwɒʔ də ˈðeɪ wɒnʔ |

139
00:04:35 - - > 00:04:36
Why are you talking to me
| waɪ ə ju ˈtɔːkɪŋ tə miː |

140
00:04:36 - - > 00:04:38
like I can't understand English?
| ˈlaɪk ˈaɪ kɑːnʔ ˌʌndəˈstænd ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

141
00:04:38 - - > 00:04:39
Because I'm trying to think
| bɪˈkɒz aɪm ˈtraɪɪŋ tə ˈθɪŋk |

142
00:04:39 - - > 00:04:41
how - what - to be clear to them.
| ˈhaʊ | ˈwɒʔ | tə bi klɪə tə ðəm |

143
00:04:41 - - > 00:04:43
!!! >< !!!

144
00:04:43 - - > 00:04:45
Milk. Let's do milk.
| mɪlk | lets də mɪlk |

145
00:04:45 - - > 00:04:47
Okay. Let's do milk
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ | lets də mɪlk |

146
00:04:47 - - > 00:04:48
for anyone who isn't English [-speaking!]
|fər ˈeniwʌn huː ˈɪznʔ ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

147
00:04:48 - - > 00:04:49
Okay.
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ |

148
00:04:49 - - > 00:04:51
Hello, Karl.
| həˈləʊ | ˈkɑːl |

149
00:04:51 - - > 00:04:52
Alright?
| ɔːlˈraɪʔ |

150
00:004:52 -- > 00:04:54
Would you like a cup of tea?
| wʊd ju ˈlaɪk ə kʌp əv tiː |

151
00:04:54 - - > 00:04:55
Yep.
| jep |

152
00:04:55 - - > 00:04:57
Yes please ...
| jes pliːz |

153
00:04:57 - - > 00:04:58
Yes please.
| jes pliːz |

154
00:04:58 - - > 00:05:00
Erm ... strong ...
| ɜːm | strɒŋ |

155
00:05:00 - - > 00:05:02
What teabags have you got?
| ˈwɒt tiː bæɡz hæv jə ˈɡɒt |

156
00:05:02 - - > 00:05:04
!!! >< !!!

157
00:05:05 - - > 00:05:08
That is a question I ask!
| ðæʔ ɪz ə ˈkwestʃən ˈaɪ æsk |

158
00:05:08 - - > 00:05:09
Because it all depends
| bɪˈkɒz ɪʔ ɔːl dɪˈpendz |

159
00:05:09 - - > 00:05:10
on the amount of milk.
| ɒn ði əˈmaʊnʔ əv mɪlk |

160
00:05:10 - - > 00:05:12
Do you have Typhoo?
| du ju hæv taɪˈfuː |

161
00:05:12 - - > 00:05:16
!!!!!! >< !!!!!!

162
00:05:20 - - > 00:05:22
Thank you for learning English
| θæŋk ju fə ˈlɜːnɪŋ ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

163
00:05:22 - - > 00:05:23
with Ricky Gervais
| wɪð ˈrɪki dʒərˈveɪz |

164
00:05:23 - - > 00:05:25
and Karl Pilkington
| ənd ˈkɑːl ˈpɪlkɪŋtən |

165
00:05:26 - - > 00:05:27
See ya.
| ˈsiː jə |

166
00:05:28 - - > 00:05:29
See ya!
| ˈsiː jə |

! >< !

Learn English with Ricky Gervais transcription Part 2

66
00:02:31 - - > 00:02:34
Rank! So, you've got a Chinese fella,
| ræŋk | ˈsəʊ | juv ˈɡɒʔ ə tʃaɪˈniːz ˈfelə |

67
00:02:34 - - > 00:02:35
He's coming over here,
| hiz ˈkʌmɪŋ ˈəʊvə hɪə |

68
00:02:35 - - > 00:02:38
and he's learned the word "rank",
| ənd hiːz lɜːnd ðə ˈwɜːd ræŋk |

69
00:02:38 - - > 00:02:40
meaning "You stink!"
| ˈmiːnɪŋ ju stɪŋk |

70
00:02:40 - - > 00:02:42
"Smell".
| smel |

71
00:02:43 - - > 00:02:44
"Stank".
| stæŋk |

72
00:02:44 - - > 00:02:45
"Stunk".
| stʊŋk |

73
00:02:45 - - > 00:02:46
!! >< !!

74
00:02:46 - - > 00:02:47
That stunk.
| ðæʔ stʊŋk |

75
00:02:47 - - > 00:02:48
!! >< !!

76
00:02:48 - - > 00:02:50
Give an example!
| ɡɪv ən ɪɡˈzɑːmpl̩ |

77
00:02:52 - - > 00:02:54
Erm ...
| ɜːm |

78
00:02:55 - - > 00:02:58
You smell! You shit?
| ju smel | ju ʃɪt |

79
00:02:58 - - > 00:02:59
!!!! >< !!!!

80
00:02:59 - - > 00:03:01
Why are you teaching them pidgin English?!!
| waɪ ə ju ˈtiːtʃɪŋ ðəm ˈpɪdʒɪn ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

81
00:03:01 - - > 00:03:02
Because you told me -
| bɪˈkɒz ju təʊld miː |

82
00:03:02 - - > 00:03:04
you said they want to know about "smell".
| ju ˈsed ˈðeɪ wɒnʔ tə nəʊ əˈbaʊʔ smel |

83
00:03:04 -- > 00:03:07
Yeah! Right, but why are you teaching them
| jeə | raɪʔ | bəʔ waɪ ə ju ˈtiːtʃɪŋ ðəm |

84
00:03:07 - - > 00:03:09
without prepositions and proper grammar?
| wɪðˈaʊʔ ˌprepəˈzɪʃn̩z ənd ˈprɒpə ˈɡræmə |

85
00:03:09 - - > 00:03:11
Why are you teaching them to speak like this:
| waɪ ə ju ˈtiːtʃɪŋ ðəm tə spiːk ˈlaɪk ðɪs |

86
00:03:11 - - > 00:03:14
"Mmm, stink: you shit?"
| m | stɪŋk | ju ʃɪt |

87
00:03:14 - - > 00:03:15
Why are you teaching them
| waɪ ə ju ˈtiːtʃɪŋ ðəm |

88
00:03:15 - - > 00:03:16
to speak like that?
| tə spiːk ˈlaɪk ðæʔ |

89
00:03:16 - - > 00:03:18
Just speak proper English!
| dʒʌst spiːk ˈprɒpər ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

90
00:03:18 - - > 00:03:19
Right, okay then ...
| raɪʔ | ˌəʊˈkeɪ ðen |

91
00:03:19 - - > 00:03:21
Always speak proper English!
| ˈɔːlweɪz spiːk ˈprɒpər ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

92
00:03:21 - - > 00:03:23
Okay, tell them.
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ | tel ðəm |

93
00:03:24 - - > 00:03:25
Erm ...
| ɜːm |

94
00:03:25 - - > 00:03:27
So what do they want to know?
| ˈsəʊ ˈwɒʔ də ˈðeɪ wɒnʔ tə nəʊ |

95
00:03:27 - - > 00:03:29
Well, what does smell mean?
| wel | ˈwɒʔ dəz smel miːn |

96
00:03:29 - - > 00:03:31
So we're featuring the word "smell"?
| ˈsəʊ wɪə ˈfiːtʃərɪŋ ðə ˈwɜːd smel |

97
00:03:31 - - > 00:03:32
"Smell."
| smel |

97
00:03:32 - - > 00:03:34
This is about the word "smell".
| ðɪs ɪz əˈbaʊʔ ðə ˈwɜːd smel |

98
00:03:34 - - > 00:03:36
Right, when something smells.
| raɪʔ | wen ˈsʌmθɪŋ smelz |

99
00:03:36 - - > 00:03:37
They know what it means.
| ˈðeɪ nəʊ ˈwɒʔ ɪt miːnz |

100
00:03:37 - - > 00:03:40
When something erm ...
| wen ˈsʌmθɪŋ |  ɜːm |

101
00:03:40 - - > 00:03:41
stinks.
| stɪnks |

102
00:03:41 - - > 00:03:42
Well, no, it doesn't always mean that,
| wel | nəʊ | ɪʔ ˈdʌznt ˈɔːlweɪz miːn ðæʔ |

103
00:03:42 - - > 00:03:43
because it's also a verb ...
| bɪˈkɒz ɪts ˈɔːlsəʊ ə vɜːb |

104
00:03:43 - - > 00:03:44
Well, alright, a nice smell.
| wel | ɔːlˈraɪʔ | ə naɪs smel |

105
00:03:44 - - > 00:03:46
It's also a verb, "to smell".
| ɪts ˈɔːlsəʊ ə vɜːb | tə smel |

106
00:03:47 - - > 00:03:48
It's a verb.
| ɪts ə vɜːb |

107
00:03:48 - - > 00:03:50
Smell is a verb.
| smel ɪz ə vɜːb |

108
00:03:50 - - > 00:03:51
Yes, but what they've got to remember is:
| jes | bəʔ ˈwɒt ˈðeɪv ˈɡɒʔ tə rɪˈmembə ɪz |

109
00:03:51 - - > 00:03:52
if they go up to someone
| ɪf ˈðeɪ ɡəʊ ʊp tə ˈsʊmwʊn |

110
00:03:52 - - > 00:03:54
and go, "You smell",
| ənd ɡəʊ | ju smel |

111
00:03:54 - - > 00:03:56
it's not always positive!
| ɪts nɒt ˈɔːlweɪz ˈpɒzətɪv |

112
00:03:56 - - > 00:03:57
Right.
| raɪʔ |

113
00:03:57 - - > 00:03:58
You wouldn't - you'd say:
| jə ˈwʊdnʔ | jʊd ˈseɪ |

114
00:03:58 - - > 00:03:59
"You smell nice."
| ju smel naɪs |

115
00:03:59 -- 00:04:00
Right.
| raɪʔ |

116
00:04:00 - - > 00:04:01
But if you say, "You smell",
| bəʔ ɪf ju ˈseɪ | ju smel |

117
00:04:01 - - > 00:04:03
they'll get a smack in the face.
| ˈðeɪl ˈɡeʔ ə smæk ɪn ðə feɪs |

118
00:04:03 - - > 00:04:04
"Smack in the face."
| smæk ɪn ðə feɪs |

119
00:04:05 - - > 00:04:07
"Smack in the face."
| smæk ɪn ðə feɪs |

120
00:04:07 - - > 00:04:09
Karl, what's a "smack in the face"?
| ˈkɑːl | ˈwɒts ə smæk ɪn ðə feɪs |

121
00:04:09 - - > 00:04:11
When someone thumps you!
| wen ˈsʊmwʊn θʊmps jə |

122
00:04:11 - - > 00:04:12
Thump.
| θʊmp |

123
00:04:12 - - > 00:04:14
!!!! >< !!!!

124
00:04:14 - - > 00:04:17
This is the worst English lesson ever!
| ðɪs ɪz ðə wɜːst ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ ˈlesn̩ ˈevə |


Learn English with Ricky Gervais transcription Part 1

As an English teacher in China and a big fan of Ricky Gervais, I was pretty excited to find the "Learn English with Ricky Gervais" pilot show on Ricky's YouTube channel.

Seeing that Ricky had given permission to subtitle the show and post it back to YouTube, I knew what kind of subtitles I wanted to create: English subtitles phonetic transcription.

I know, I'm a nerd. As my brother once said, if there were a degree in "The Office" and Ricky's stand-ups, we'd get full marks. We know the material inside out. For my degree, I did phonetic transcriptions, translations and essays on literature and linguistics. My brother is completing a degree in psychology, so ... teamwork.

Here is Part 1 of the transcription

1
00:00:00  - - > 00:00:05
Hello, and welcome to 'Learn English with Ricky Gervais'.
| heˈləʊ | ənd ˈwelkəm tə lɜːn ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ wɪð ˈrɪki dʒərˈveɪz |

2
00:00:09 - - > 00:00:12
I'm Ricky Gervais.
| aɪm ˈrɪki dʒərˈveɪz |

3
00:00:13 - - > 00:00:15
With me, Karl Pilkington.
| wɪð miː | ˈkɑːl ˈpɪlkɪŋtən |

4
00:00:16 - - > 00:00:17
Alright?
| ɔːlˈraɪʔ |

5
00:00:18 - - > 00:00:20
I won't be speaking your language.
| ˈaɪ wəʊnʔ bi ˈspiːkɪŋ jɔː ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ |

6
00:00:20 - - > 00:00:23
I won't be translating what I say.
| ˈaɪ wəʊnʔ bi trænzˈleɪtɪŋ ˈwɒʔ ˈaɪ ˈseɪ |

7
00:00:23 - - > 00:00:25
I'll just be speaking English, okay?
| aɪl dʒʌst bi ˈspiːkɪŋ ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ | ˌəʊˈkeɪ |

8
00:00:25 - - > 00:00:27
The translation will come up
| ðə trænsˈleɪʃn̩ wl̩ kʌm ʌp |

9
00:00:27 - - > 00:00:29
on the bottom of the screen.
| ɒn ðə ˈbɒʔəm əv ðə skriːn |

10
00:00:34 - - > 00:00:36
This is my friend,
| ðɪs ɪz maɪ ˈfrend |

11
00:00:36 - - > 00:00:38
Karl Pilkington.
| ˈkɑːl ˈpɪlkɪŋtən |

12
00:00:38 - - > 00:00:40
He is bald.
| hiː ɪz bɔːld |

13
00:00:41 - - > 00:00:43
He is bald.
| hiː ɪz bɔːld |

14
00:00:44 - - > 00:00:47
He has no hair.
| hiː hæz nəʊ heə |

15
00:00:47 - - > 00:00:49
Karl Pilkington has no hair.
| ˈkɑːl ˈpɪlkɪŋtən hæz nəʊ heə |

16
00:00:49 - - > 00:00:51
Yeah, I know they can see I've got no hair.
| jeə | ˈaɪ nəʊ ˈðeɪ kən ˈsiː aɪv ˈɡɒʔ nəʊ heə |

17
00:00:51 - - > 00:00:52
No, I know.
| nəʊ aɪ nəʊ |

18
00:00:52 - - > 00:00:53
Well, what do they need to know that for?
| wel | ˈwɒʔ də ˈðeɪ niːd tə nəʊ ðæʔ fɔː |

19
00:00:53 - - > 00:00:55
If they're learning a language,
| ɪf ˈðeə ˈlɜːnɪŋ ə ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ |

20
00:00:55 - - > 00:00:59
bald isn't - a bald head isn'ʔ thaʔ important.
| bɔːld ˈɪznʔ | ə bɔːld hed ˈɪznt ðæt ɪmˈpɔːtnt |

21
00:00:59 - - > 00:01:01
Teach them how to ask for bread, or milk.
| tiːtʃ ðəm ˈhaʊ tu æsk fə bred | ɔː mɪlk |

22
00:01:02 - - > 00:01:03
Well, we'll get to that,
| wel | wiːl ˈɡeʔ tə ðæʔ |

23
00:01:03 - - > 00:01:06
but this is about, sort of, friendship
| bəʔ ðɪs ɪz əˈbaʊʔ | sɔːʔ əv | ˈfrendʃɪp |

24
00:01:06 - - > 00:01:08
and family, you know?
| ənd ˈfæmli | jə nəʊ |

25
00:01:08 - - > 00:01:10
So ... it's all useful.
| ˈsəʊ | ɪts ɔːl ˈjuːsfəl |

26
00:01:10 - - > 00:01:12
There's so many words, you know?
| ðeəz ˈsəʊ ˈmeni ˈwɜːdz | jə nəʊ |

27
00:01:12 - - > 00:01:13
They might as well start somewhere.
| ˈðeɪ maɪʔ əz wel stɑːʔ ˈsʌmweə |

28
00:01:13 - - > 00:01:15
There's too many words.
| ðeəz tuː ˈmeni ˈwɜːdz |

29
00:01:15 - - > 00:01:18
A lot of words.
| ə lɒt əv ˈwɜːdz |

30
00:01:19 - - > 00:01:20
Lot of words.
| lɒt əv ˈwɜːdz |

31
00:01:20 - - > 00:01:22
!! >< !!

32
00:01:25 - - > 00:01:27
So you say it:
| ˈsəʊ ju ˈseɪ ɪʔ |

33
00:01:27 - - > 00:01:31
Karl Pilkington is bald.
| ˈkɑːl ˈpɪlkɪŋtən ɪz bɔːld |

34
00:01:31 - - > 00:01:34
I really don't know why they need to learn this.
| ˈaɪ ˈrɪəli dəʊnʔ nəʊ waɪ ˈðeɪ niːd tə lɜːn ðɪs |

35
00:01:34 - - > 00:01:36
Teach them how to say "milk".
| tiːtʃ ðəm ˈhaʊ tə ˈseɪ mɪlk |

36
00:01:36 - - > 00:01:37
"I need milk."
| ˈaɪ niːd mɪlk |

37
00:01:37 - - > 00:01:38
"Milk for tea."
| mɪlk fə tiː |

38
00:01:39 - - > 00:01:40
"Coffee."
| ˈkɒfi |

39
00:01:41 - - > 00:01:43
Teach them useful stuff.
| tiːtʃ ðəm ˈjuːsfəl stʊf |

40
00:01:43 - - > 00:01:44
Okay, well, you know, go on:
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ | wel | jə nəʊ | ɡəʊ ɒn |

41
00:01:44 - - > 00:01:46
teach them something, then!
| tiːtʃ ðəm ˈsʌmθɪŋ | ðen |

42
00:01:46 - - > 00:01:47
Who am I talking to?
| huː əm ˈaɪ ˈtɔːkɪŋ tuː |

43
00:01:48 - - > 00:01:49
People around the world.
| ˈpiːpl̩ əˈraʊnd ðə wɜːld |

44
00:01:49 - - > 00:01:51
They can't speak English yet.
| ˈðeɪ kɑːnʔ spiːk ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ jet |

45
00:01:52 - - > 00:01:53
So what do they, what's ...
| ˈsəʊ ˈwɒʔ də ˈðeɪ | ˈwɒts |

46
00:01:53 - - > 00:01:54
Chinese ...
| tʃaɪˈniːz |

47
00:01:54 - - > 00:01:56
Well, it doesn't, no, okay. What?
| wel | ɪʔ ˈdʌznʔ | nəʊ | ˌəʊˈkeɪ | ˈwɒʔ |

48
00:01:56 - - > 00:01:57
I've been to China,
| aɪv biːn tə ˈtʃaɪnə |

49
00:01:57 - - > 00:01:58
and none of them know English.
| ənd nʊn əv ðəm nəʊ ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

50
00:01:59 - - > 00:02:00
Right.
| raɪʔ |

51
00:02:00 - - > 00:02:02
So they need to learn English.
| ˈsəʊ ˈðeɪ niːd tə lɜːn ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ |

52
00:02:02 - - > 00:02:03
Okay.
| ˌəʊˈkeɪ |

53
00:02:03 - - > 00:02:06
So, erm, what would they want to know?
| ˈsəʊ | ɜːm | ˈwɒʔ wʊd ˈðeɪ wɒnt tə nəʊ |

54
00:02:07 - - > 00:02:09
You see, they don't need to know about milk,
| jə ˈsiː | ˈðeɪ dəʊnʔ niːd tə nəʊ əˈbaʊʔ mɪlk |

55
00:02:09 - - > 00:02:10
because they don't like milk.
| bɪˈkɒz ˈðeɪ dəʊnʔ ˈlaɪk mɪlk |

56
00:02:10 - - > 00:02:13
They think English people smell of milk.
| ˈðeɪ ˈθɪŋk ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ ˈpiːpl̩ smel əv mɪlk |

57
00:02:13 - - > 00:02:15
They smell of milk.
| ˈðeɪ smel əv mɪlk |

58
00:02:15 - - > 00:02:17
!!! >< !!!

59
00:02:18 - - > 00:02:19
Smell ...
| smel |

60
00:02:19 - - > 00:02:21
What does "smell" mean, Karl?
| ˈwɒt dəz smel miːn | ˈkɑːl |

61
00:02:22 - - > 00:02:24
Smell ...
| smel |

62
00:02:24 - - > 00:02:25
Erm ... stink!
| ɜːm | stɪŋk |

63
00:02:25 - - > 00:02:28
fookin' 'ell, you smell! !!! >< !!!
| ˈfʊkɪn el | ju smel |

64
00:02:28 - - > 00:02:29
Rank.
| ræŋk |

65
00:02:29 - - > 00:02:31
!! >< !! Rank!?! !! >< !!
| ræŋk |

Friday, 16 August 2013

Why do famous people interact online with fans? Pt1

There are so many online services and platforms now, it's difficult to imagine life without it. One aspect of the internet as a medium is that it's a window to the rest of the world. Indeed, television was thought of in this way, but who needs television now we have the internet? Okay, I know a couple of billion people will disagree with me on that one but if it's a choice between waiting for something that might be vaguely interesting on TV and going directly to things I'm most interested online, I think I'll choose online thanks. Cheers. See you later TV.

The big difference of course in this respect is the interaction factor. The fact that we can interact instantly with others is a novelty that will probably take a long time to wear off. We can write an article or make a video and instantly it can be viewed by the rest of the world.

So-called internet-celebrities have found international recognition and financial success in a very short space of time, and long-established celebrities are able to connect with fans and reach new audiences.

And yet recently I found a phenomenon that didn't "compute" in my little brain (in Chinese, the common word for 'computer' is 电脑, 'electric brain'!). The question I couldn't answer was: why are rich, successful, erudite people interacting directly with the masses online? I'm thinking of Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais specifically.

They seem to be tweeting every day, posting links, articles, photos, videos, blogging on their own sites, blogging on Tumblr, promoting their work, and commenting on current events. As a fan, I'm not complaining, I'm just thinking: "Why are they sitting at their computer staring at a screen when they could be relaxing on a beach somewhere?"

If I were as rich and famous as they are, I would be spending time in the most peaceful, beautiful resorts on the planet. I'd be staying in great hotels with mountain scenery, visiting cultural and historical sights, and generally enjoying my leisure time.  I would not be sitting at my computer typing tweets.

At first I thought it must be their publicity team acting on their behalf. It makes sense for artists to have an online presence. I just imagined that this would be managed by their "personal assistant" while they worked on their creative projects.

However, it seems that these tweets and messages are coming directly from Mr Fry, Mr Gervais and other living legends! Their writing style is inimitable, and besides that they post photos that only they could have taken. (Did we really need to see Mr Gervais' bathtime photos? Probably not, but they're hilarious and he looks 99.9% the same as my dad. Some people actually think they are twins who were separated at birth. I digress ...)

In the end, we see that their online life is all part of pursuing what they find quite interesting (QI!) and sharing it with the world. They observe the world in an original and unique way, and that's what makes them special. That's why we love their books, films, TV work, radio work and live performances. Now we get to see Youtube videos Ricky Gervais has made such as "Learn Guitar with David Brent" and "Learn English with Ricky Gervais (and Karl Pilkington)". Ricky Gervais has even invited his fans to subtitle the Learn English video and post it back to Youtube. I'm working on a subtitled version which I will post soon.

Let's be grateful then that as fans we can be connected in this way to these artists whose work we love so much.

If you have a rich "offline life" then online activity can definitely complement it. Let's just cap the time we spend online, as time really flies when you're in the online zone!

You can find me on all these platforms:

http://www.youdolife.com/
http://www.youtube.com/youdolife
https://twitter.com/youdolife
https://www.facebook.com/youdoLife
http://pinterest.com/youdolife/
http://youdolifeblog.tumblr.com/
https://www.quora.com/James-Baker-41

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Funniest uses of the word "maybe" by native-speakers of Chinese

Me: And what did you do last week?
Student: Maybe I went to Shanghai.
Me: Maybe? Maybe you went to Shanghai, maybe you didn't go to Shanghai?
Student: ...
Me: Okay, so you went to Shanghai. [cue lesson on adverbs of certainty]

------------------------------------

Student: Maybe Cherry won't come to class today. [See my article Funniest 'English names" chosen by Chinese speakers
Me: Oh, why is that?
Student: She's in hospital. She ate some bad food. [Let's not go into details, but extracting the oil from leftover food to save money on cooking oil is just wrong. Yet this practice is widespread in small restaurants in the city where I live and in other cities in China. You can see the blue bins of leftover food being picked up, and it's some person's job to extract the oil and presumably heat it, cool it and bottle it. People get stomach problems all the time from eating food cooked in this "gutter oil" ("地沟油" Dìgōu yóu)See my article Shocking but true phenomena (not only) in China]
Me: Sorry to hear that. If she's in hospital now ... then I think we can say she definitely won't be coming. Maybe we can say she's definitely not coming ...
----------------------------

Me: What would you eat if you were the leader of China for one day?
Student: Maybe some fruit. [See the full dialogue in my article Funniest Responses to Simple Questions

Funniest 'English Names' chosen by Chinese-speakers

Welcome to the bizarre world of 'English names' chosen by Chinese speakers.

Category 1: Concrete nouns
Leaf
Rock
Lock
Bell

Category 2: Abstract nouns
Memory
Silence

Category 3: Adjectives
Pretty
Happy

Category 4: German, Swedish and Russian names
Adolph!!!
Sven
Serge

Category 5: Just amusing
Bert
Walter
Kobe
LeBron!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Funniest responses to simple questions (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Me: What's your favourite fruit?
Student: No.
Me: You don't like fruit?
Student: Yes.
--------------------------------
Me: Imagine you can be the Paramount Leader of China for one day. What would you do?
Student: No.
Me: You wouldn't want to be the leader?
Student: Yes.
--------------------------------
Me: ... Imagine you have to be the Paramount Leader of China for one day. What would you do?
Student: Sleep.
Me: And after you wake up?
Student: Eat.
Me: What would you eat?
Student: Maybe some fruit.