Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Developing your Speaking with Katarina Gleisberg

She’s back — yet again! Here are some tips, guidelines and things you can use IMMEDIATELY to start immersing yourself into the English language. Some of this will scare you, but it is necessary to become the effective speaker you want to become.


1) Speak in Daily Interactions
Put yourself out there in natural speaking settings.

2) Conversation Partner
You can find a conversation partner in person OR online.

3) Integrate all 4 Domains of Language Learning: Reading, Writing, Speaking, & Listening
For example, watch TV and videos WITH SUBTITLES in the target language to hear how native speakers speak)

4) Sing Karaoke

It’s amazing how many of the Multiple Intelligences are incorporated into singing a song through karaoke!

5) Listen to a variety of different accents of the target language
Listening to Arsenio’s podcast, in which he interviews English speakers all over the world, is an exceptional way to hear English speakers of MANY accents– WHILE sharing language learning experiences and strategies!

6) Reflect after Conversations 
Make note of what was difficult, the words or phrases used that you could look up to make a similar conversation easier next time.

7) Collect useful phrases on notecards or your phone
Essentially, these are cheat sheets of phrases you’ll want to use at the grocery store, post office, bank, etc.

😎 Record Yourself Speaking
This is a valuable way to notice your speaking habits, including pace, pausing, accenting syllables, and pronunciation strengths and weaknesses.

9) Make Phone Calls
Also, leaving voice messages has the same benefit.

10) Ask native speakers to critique your speech
Most importantly, native speakers can point out pronunciation strengths and weaknesses that language learners may never notice on their own.


YouTube video with Katarina


Speaker 1: (00:00)
Guys, welcome back to Arsenio’s, ESL podcast, and yet again, I have my partner in crime with me and she goes by the name of Katrina Gleisberg, and you know what? She’s out there in Nebraska. If this is your first time tune it and guys, you’re going to be in for a special one. I’ve seen a lot of different things out there in terms of people saying, how can I develop my speaking? I’ve seen so many different things. How can I, you know, develop my listening, et Cetera, et cetera. So what we’re going to do, we’re going to narrow this down specifically to speaking and then we’ll branch out if we have time, if not, of course, Katrina, she comes on on a biweekly basis. Oh, I hate saying that, but she comes on on a two week basis or every other week, whatever you want to call it. And what that be a said. Who Cares about me? Let’s get it to this. Katrina, thank you so much for coming on.

Speaker 2: (00:56)
Okay. I am excited as always to be on your show and feed off of your amazing energy and get to respond to you’re very, very diverse international audience and all these great questions. So thanks so much for having me here.

Speaker 1: (01:13)
Absolutely, absolutely. And speaking of diversity, man, I’m just so grateful and I just want to give a shout out to just about everyone out there. I just never thought, I’m talking Europe, Africa, you name it, but to the littlest countries like Mozambique and we got Egypt just a lot of different places who listen. And you know, over the last 10 episodes there’s always up to nearly 50 countries that listen to this ESL podcast with over 140 cities around the world. So man, and that’s only in the last 10 episodes. So if I put it all together, oh my goodness. Yeah, yeah, for sure. It’s over 102 hundred in each category. But nonetheless, people developing, speaking what Katrina did today was put together, compile a wonderful list of things of how we can improve or how we can help you improve your speaking. So Katrina, let’s dive into this. Of course you have the experience out there in good old grease teaching out there at an international school going into Panama, t shit out there and whatnot when it comes to speak speaking. I want you to break us in.

Speaker 2: (02:24)
Okay. So a couple of these things are little tidbits that we have touched upon in some of our previous podcasts. I’m speaking about mindful communication and speaking about the balance of the language, learning domains, reading, writing, speaking, listening. But yes, we will primarily focus on speaking. So first of all, as we’ve shared before, I think the very obvious tip number one thing when students ask, how can I improve my speaking? Put yourself out there in daily interactions, these speaking opportunities, asking for help at the grocery store, talking to the person, taking your ticket on the bus. Um, just speaking to people in line, small talk, ordering at a restaurant, put yourself out there in these simple situations. Um, are the most important because the, this is what I hear from most students that they want, right? They want to know how to speak in real life situations. So I know it’s the hardest part, but the, it’s one of those things where the only way you get better is to practice, practice, practice.

Speaker 1: (03:40)
Right? And that’s it right there. Not being afraid of being judged. You know what? I have a story real quick, right when you said putting yourself out there, there’s a lady that I used to work at this company a while back. I still work for them, but not at that specific branch. And I told her, I said, you speak English very well. How did you do it? And so this, this notorious place here in Bangkok, right? It’s called calcine road, how sled road, this is where all these backpackers from around the world, they come together and it’s a great way for Thai people to emerge and to create those conversations. So she said she would go up to each and every individual and say, hey, how are you doing? Where are you from? She said, sometimes people will be like, what the hell? And other times people would be like, join us for a drink. You know what I mean? But it’s that rejection that’s needed also for the acceptance. So I love that you said putting yourself out there and just not being afraid of being judged. You know, I actually made an ESL podcast and turns that when you are no longer afraid of what other people might be thinking about you, that’s when you overcome everything you overcome yourself, you know? So that is an excellent appoint. How about your point number two?

Speaker 2: (04:57)
Yes. Okay. You were just talking about all your listeners and all these other places and this day and age with the Internet and all of these different platforms, there’s no excuse to be ignorant. I’ve heard that quote before. There’s no excuse to be ignorant when you have the resources. So research the platforms available that can help you learn and to match you with a conversation partner. There are so many platforms of places you can go, English speaking, Facebook groups and um, different websites where they will match you with a conversation buddy. And how Austin is that, that there’s English speakers all over the world with so many different accents. Which brings me to another point of converse with people of many different accents of the target language, right? Because even here, the United States, we have so many different accents and a lot of times we are able to read and comprehend from writing a lot faster then the speaking. Because when people are speaking, we don’t have the printed word in front of us. I know that from my own experience of being in Greece and listening to as people speak, and they might say a word and I, I know that vocabulary word, these are simple words, but sometimes people’s accents or how fast or how much slang they’re using, I don’t realize it’s a word that I already know. So the more accents we can listen to, the better our listening ability is going to be to pick out the words that we already know.

Speaker 1: (06:47)
That’s beautiful. And just, it’s amazing that you said that because I was just talking to you right before this and I told you that, hey, I’m gonna go into these English speaking groups. I want to see what they’re talking about. A lot of it’s ILS preparation, but you know what 90% of the questions are, can I have a buddy to practice speaking with? And it’s just all the time I see a bunch of them. And there are a lot of people out there who are messaging what go, you know, it brings me into the accent part. This is why a couple of months ago I said, you know what, I’m going to launch ESL worldwide conversations because if I could somehow get a virtual class, okay, and this is not through an organization, this is through the Arsenio buck show and have an accent from China, have an accident from a Madagascar, have an accent from Dubai, have an accent from France and have an accent from Uruguay or who do I, you know it all in one group.

Speaker 1: (07:49)
That’s going to enable you not only to pick up the different, various accents, but also just take away all the borders that actually exist out there. All the labels. You know what I mean? And this is why I presented you with the idea, it terms of, you know, um, if I had a bunch of students in South America and North America, I would like, you know, you know, you’d to have that side and then you know, I can deal with this side because of time zones and whatnot. So that’s brilliant. And that’s another way. That’s what people need to do. You need to start getting into these Facebook groups. If you type English, English speaking group or English Grammar, whatever it may be. Okay. But preferably English speaking, you type that in on Facebook. There are a number of groups there. Okay. You’re going to come across some creepers. You’re going to come across in crazies. You’re going to come across a lot of weird votes. But you know what if the weird, hey, there’s a block button on social media. Okay. So, uh, yeah, that was an excellent point. So let’s go on to the next one.

Speaker 2: (08:52)
Okay. So I had mentioned that a lot of times we know the words, but we can’t recognize them in speech because of accents or slang. What helps and I had done this too and other countries watch TV and movies with the subtitles. I love that and follow along because a lot of times you’ll realize, oh, I’ve seen this word before in print, but that’s really how you pronounce it. Or to realize things that native English speakers naturally drop off as part of slang. For example, you and I do this all the time and it’s not proper English but it’s totally normal. You can listen back to our conversations and when we are using verbs that end with ing, we don’t say the ing right. You might say walking instead of walking or talking a talking. Um, I might use the word Ghana instead of going to yes, but because TV and movies or youtube videos, all of these free things online because subtitles can be an option.

Speaker 2: (10:07)
You are going to see in print what these words are that people are speaking. That might seem foreign because I’m going to go to the beach is all blurred together. And l somebody listening to that who is just learning, they may not hear the separations between very fast language when all those words are blurred together. So, um, because this brings me to the next one because it’s seeing the words are so important. Seeing Karaoke, singing karaoke. Okay, this is going to be a one. Yes. Um, first of all, we know in the realm of multiple intelligences, we yet, there’s so many different ways to learn. So you put a visual in there. You also put in music for the Ontario learners. There’s, there’s a reason why it preschool, we learn all of these different nursery rhymes and all these different directions to wash your hands to the tune of a song or whatever it is. It’s because those songs stick. It’s the same thing when we’re an adult, listen to music, but don’t just listen to it, sing along with it. You’re seeing the words, those phrases. And you and I have talked about being anti grammar worksheets a lot. You’re going to pick up grammar of I am. He is whatever it needs. So much more memorable, fun way. Right. And that’s what it comes. Which a, we could treat a mentioned the representational system. Auditory. So there’s a, there are a lot of people there. Sometimes

Speaker 1: (11:54)
we are excellent at [inaudible] we’re a listener. Okay. Sometimes we’re a visual person, sometimes we like to hear a plan. Sometimes we like to see it written. And so with Karaoke you get to see it written, you get to hear the audio. And sometimes with Karaoke you see the video too. So you, you don’t really know. But one of your representational systems are end there and then it enables you to probably, you know, you do your best at that specific moment. Um, along with the subtitles. Subtitles are fantastic. See I’m going to give you guys an example. Netflix. Okay. I just, I just got up on Netflix. Oh my God. Like two months ago. Cause one of my friends, she had it on her phone and then I wanted to watch bird box buy a center Bullock. Eh, cause I’ve seen it all the time. I was like, oh my God, that’s such a good one.

Speaker 1: (12:45)
But then I saw all these other weird Zombie apocalypse movies. I love Zombie apocalypse because for two hours I could just burn my brain sales and just watch this, you know what I mean? And so, uh, it was just one after another. I was like, Hey, we’re going to come over and watch some Netflix. Yeah. You know what I mean? So, um, and there are the sub titles for her. Why? Because she’s tired. So she’s watching this. She’s like, oh, okay. And she understands everything. She’s listening and she’s reading at the same time. You know, I have another girl who’s from the northern part of Thailand who I’m going to teach this evening as a matter of fact. And I hope that doesn’t get too loud my alarm as a matter of fact, but I think it’s okay. Anyway, so yeah, after that, yeah, just completely went all over the place so she can speak English quite well.

Speaker 1: (13:34)
And I’m like, how do you speak English? She’s like, oh, well, you know what? It’s very, very easy for me. Um, just because I learn a lot of Netflix and she speaks a lot of French too. And I’m like, oh, she’s understanding it. And I’m like, how do you watch Netflix? Well, I read the subtitles and it’s funny because when I go to the next student on the left of her and I say, how do you learn English? She, her speaking capabilities are down. Everything’s just about down. And I say, do you watch Netflix? She was like, no. And now I’m not saying Netflix is the only thing, but you have to enable yourself to listen of visual and read at the same time. You’re getting all three or the three out of the four of the representational systems that actually exist. So good. Very, very good point. Country does. So

Speaker 2: (14:22)
yes. And if you w you know, watch simple movies and we’ve, we’ve discussed this before, but if I am watching a Disney movie and Spanish and I have the subtitles happening, it’s a story I’m already familiar with already. Content that’s made for children is going to have more simple language. So it’s a really, really great starting base. And generally kids not only have this more simple language, would they speak more slowly? So, so, oh a phenomenal, a phenomenal tool that just seems so simple. And this relates to a few others that I have. And um,

Speaker 1: (15:10)
there was a, there was an exhale. I don’t know, we’re getting into some [inaudible]

Speaker 2: (15:13)
he tries, this gets into something that can feel a little scary, but record yourself, record yourself. Essentially. K people love quoting movies, right? People love quoting movies. It’s so fun because you like to hear your friends put things back. But how often do we listen to ourselves recorded? So this next one, the reason why I had a really, really deep breath there is record yourself because this was a fear I had to get over about a year and a half ago before making all these videos is because some people are just so petrified to go back and watch a video or listen to a recording of them. But if you can record yourself and start with something fun, a book that you like, movie quotes, et Cetera, record yourself speaking and then go back and listen. And you will notice things that you can’t notice while you’re in the process of speaking.

Speaker 2: (16:11)
You might notice things such as when I’ve gone back and I’ve listened to episodes of podcasts, you and I have done, I’ve noticed those things such as, oh, we use a lot of, I’m not saying the IMG, I’m using the slang of stopping instead of stopping. Or I noticed that I use the word literally a lot in this particular podcast, but it’s such good feedback. So for someone learning a language, you will notice things such as your pronunciation. Are there particular words where you pause and you draw them out? And so you’ll, you can notice the pattern of, oh, maybe I need to practice these particular vowel sounds. Or it could be, um, an accent where you realize, Ooh, I should be accent accenting a different syllable. [inaudible] all of those things that make you easy to understand. You can notice that better if you listen to recording of yourself. So that, that takes a lot of guts. But it’s so worth it.

Speaker 1: (17:17)
Absolutely. Uh, I remember three years ago, and it’s funny if I go back and listen to this, uh, there is some cringey moments. It’s like, why do I keep saying that word? And it’s funny you said, I say literally a lot. And so one of my friends picked it up and he’s like, hey, or CDO a on your podcast. You say crazy a lot. He’s like, do you go back and listen to your podcast? I’m like, yeah, dad. Yeah, I listen. So yeah. Okay. And instant feedback. So also when I do my English language podcasts, I slowed down my speech and therefore I don’t recycle words. However, what my personal development, I have a tendency of speeding things up for whatever reason and then I stumble over my words and then the reuse scene of specific words happens, you know, just much more often. So that is an excellent technique.

Speaker 1: (18:19)
Um, there was another, oh my God, there was another story in terms of, Oh, like for listeners out there who study English online, and this is why I love these platforms because they enable us to do different things and utilize specific tools such as zoom. I’m able to record this, okay. Not only through audio but through video. So people who study with different teachers through zoom around the world, they could be, they’re able to actually record through audio or video their voice on let’s say, okay, July 23rd, I want to see how much better I’ve gotten September 23rd, two months from now. And they’re able to make a comparison and say, Oh my God, I’ve gotten so much better. So again, this technology, a lot of people say, oh, I like to learn face to face, but to be honest with you, this conversation right here, I’m able to record every it and bit of this to see how, what’s the, see what I’m saying wrong to see if I speed up my speech, what words I say constantly, you know what I mean? And routine over and over and over. So excellent point, Katrina. I love that.

Speaker 2: (19:29)
And that was another point that I had is reflect after your conversations, making note of what was difficult and the words or phrases that maybe you heard that you need to look up or maybe things that you wanted to say in the conversation, but you didn’t have the right words for. Um, and then that way those, the phrases, you have this more engaged, intense interest in knowing what it was because you know, you’ll actually use it. But a lot of us don’t reflect and a lot of times if we don’t reflect, then it’s almost like we’re not getting the complete value from our interactions. So if we reflect, and it doesn’t even have to be anything super lengthy and it doesn’t have to be anything judgemental, um, it’s literally about awareness. And of course as a person who’s really into mindfulness, we know that mindfulness is that awareness without the judgment.

Speaker 2: (20:29)
So I might listen to myself and realize I say the word literally really often or I’m not pausing as often as I should. And then that allows me to improve for next time. But in the case of language learning, I know that I’ve used this before, um, simple in Greece. I remember that one. Um, the first few times I went to the grocery store and they were asking me if I wanted to buy extra bags. I didn’t know what they were saying and it was somebody behind me in line who spoke both English and Greek, who was able to say to me, she wants to know if you want to buy a bag. And I was like, ah, okay. So I made note of that when I got home, looked up how the word for bag and I can therefore go back later on and the next time this happens, I know exactly what to say. And it helped me to know that, oh, I shouldn’t know the word for bag or whatever else.

Speaker 1: (21:28)
Right. And so [inaudible] you know, you’d say that I had the same issue out here in Thailand because so words, some fruitful words are very close to being derogatory words. Let me give you an example. Banana. Okay. It says, it said Cru Way, right? And you have to make that our sound or even an l sound, but the R is not necessarily in the Thai language, so you have to be more pronounced. You know? Annunciating the l sound. So me, I didn’t say crew way. I said coy now in the Thai language and for type people who are listening to me, they’re probably freaking out because coined means the male reproductive organ and very slang. So I go into the store and I’m like, excuse me, Koi Koi unih where can I get some coy? I need some Koi around here. So I’m literally say, where can I get some, you know what? And the ladies like, I like that. I like that she’s freaking out. Her eyes are getting big, she’s getting angry. And I’m like, Whoa, I’m asking for where the bananas. And she had negotiated it like very aggressively, no clue, a clue. I’m like, oh, okay, okay Jay, yet I’m telling her to calm down. You know what I mean? And so I’ve had the worst of it, so I can relate to that. So yeah. Um, oh, these are some important aspects. So thank you so much for sharing that, Katrina.

Speaker 2: (22:53)
Yes. Um, that’s a, that’s a great example. I had many of those as both, maybe not as embarrassing as thank you for your vulnerability in sharing that.

Speaker 1: (23:02)
Absolutely. I ain’t got no problem with that. That’s wonderful. You know, that’s all comedy to me because if I share that story with the majority of type people, they’re in there, they’re in tears laughing. So Hey, you know, I’ve said a lot of ridiculous things before, but it also see, but I can also make someone mad because I could inadvertently say that, but mean the other thing. No, no, I meant banana. Oh my God. It means that I’m so sorry. You know what I mean? If I’m a bad boy. Yeah. So yes.

Speaker 2: (23:37)
W W and see what a way to break the ice and start a conversation with people. Love it. Okay. So I only have a couple left cause a lot of the other ones just relate to these other categories. Awesome. He notes on your phone of the phrases that you’ll want to use that jazz asking, you know, in a grocery store, where do I find the blank? Um, I even, because I do learn a lot from writing and I love a color coding. When I was in Greece, I, and I was taking my Greek classes. I would make little flash cards and I have these little index cards and I’d keep them in Ziploc baggies and I’d go through them as I’m on the metro or the train or whatever. And first of all, people would see this and they would start talking to me because people are honored when you show effort and learning their language.

Speaker 2: (24:38)
So I agree. People who just started talking to me of like, oh, this is so great. Where are you from? Where are you learning? Um, what can I help you with? And the process of making these note cards, it was very valuable for me because I, you know, knew that I’m putting the verb and the color blue and I’m putting the adjective in the color red. And I’m constantly repeating these because I know if I’m about, if I’m on the metro and I’m about to go shopping, I’m gonna need to know how to ask these particular questions. So if you don’t want to carry around physical flashcards, I get it. Notes on your phone helps you so that when you do have those extra few minutes and you’re standing there waiting for the metro, you’re doing something great for your brain and you are just so prepared for when people ask you something or you’re in this difficult situation and you’re also prepared for things like my last bullet point, which is another seemingly scary thing, make phone calls.

Speaker 2: (25:49)
Phone calls can be scary because unlike being in person or a zoom conversation like this, you can’t see the person. You can’t see their gestures, you can’t see their facial features. Now granted, tone has a lot of nonverbal communication in there, but phone calls such as, you know, simply ordering food or making an appointment, they do take a lot of skill and it’s overcoming a fear, but it’s going to make things so much easier. If you can get over that fear of the phone conversation because those visuals are not there. And so that’s, that’s an example of a situation where you’re little notes on your phone or your little index cards of your phrases are going to come in handy. And just on that, I mean, if you’re not able to make phone calls because some people

Speaker 1: (26:44)
are, you know, busy throughout their life send voice notes. Yes. You know, and I’m one of those people who love to send voice notes. For example, today it’s going to be a little bit of a traveling day. So what I would do is instead of writing and talking, forget that I’m more of a, I mean I’m sorry, writing and looking at my phone while walking, I can actually look up and do the speaking and to be honest with you, in 20 seconds, I’m able to say probably three to four to five times the amount through a voice note than I do with writing anyways. So this is going to enable you to practice. Now are they going to be happy with your voice? Who knows? But if they are or regardless if they’re, they are, they’re not. This enables you to practice your accents and things that you have probably learned.

Speaker 1: (27:39)
So if you learned something in a book, a little bit of pronunciation stay. Instead of saying, I’m going to go to work, you could say, Hey, I’m going to go to work. And you can message five people in your little friends list to say, Hey, what’s going on John? Hey, you know what? I’m going to go to work right now. Speak to you later. Don’t say that fast, but it enables you to practice. You know the reduction of going to put it to, I’m going to go. You see what I mean? So a more natural way. So, Oh man, thank you so much Katrina. So that’s it.

Speaker 2: (28:15)
Yes. And if you’re really brave, bonus one, here we go. Here we go. Ask native speakers to critique you. So when you’ve made those recordings or you’ve made those phone calls, ask them, what do you think is the biggest part of my accent? Because I can tell you what in Greece, I thought I was repeating words back just as my Greek culture was telling me that, no, that Greek, that Greek up gamma, like the word for I, I still, I practice it so many times. And again it’s like a gutter, like the word for milk is gala. Well that’s what it looks like to English speakers.

Speaker 1: (29:03)

Speaker 2: (29:04)
Um, slash the, it’s also has like this [inaudible] sound. So that was a sound that I tried and I, I sometimes had friends who would say, try it again, try it again. And they would laugh as I’m trying. Like we were all joking about how that sound is very difficult for me. But maybe like one time out of 20, even after I’d been in Greece, after a year, maybe one time out of 20, they’re like, oh yeah, that’s good, that’s good. Other times they’re just laughing, but at least I was aware of where it, where it’s hard for others to understand me so that I know when I get to a word it has the gamma sound in it. I notice low down or to use gestures or to let them know non verbally that I’m aware that I am not pronouncing this correctly

Speaker 1: (29:56)
right. Oh, they’re beautiful man. That was perfection. That was a half hour of a beauty for all of you out there. As a matter of fact, we’re going to be putting these questions together. Uh, I normally do transcripts, um, and put other things together a for you guys to actually to read and whatnot. So like the Trina asked me just recently, Hey, do you transcribe your episodes in terms of episodes like this and other episodes that are very, very high up because there are a lot of people that listen to specific episodes. Absolutely. Now is it going to be word for word? Now I’m not going to spend like maybe two hours to go through it every little bit, but the topics and the number one, two, three, four, it will be there. So again, you guys will be able to look at the blog and read it through the transcription. Listen to us. Some things might not be, uh, you know, some things that you hear might not be on the transcription, but that’s okay. You’re still getting the best of both worlds, so. Oh, Katrina, thank you so much. Is there anything else that you would like to top it off with?

Speaker 2: (31:08)
Um, okay. The last few podcasts we’ve ended with like something totally random.

Speaker 1: (31:13)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m excited. I, I’m like, yeah, yeah,

Speaker 2: (31:20)
I see about what, you know, why do I have a random toy that you see in the background or whatever? Um, because I am in the process of moving and I’m, um, I’m getting, I’m getting rid of stuff and I have these, these ginormous Rubbermaid bins that my parents have given me when they moved a stuff that I didn’t even know they saved, I found another toy that kind of goes along with the curious George and the monkeys and all the other toys we’ve looked at prop me joy, so much joy when I found it. What the hell is that? Is that a Yeti? Is that a Yeti? It looks like a Yeti. It’s like, it’s so covered. You can’t see his face. The for has gone a little out of control since the early nineties. It’s a toy dog in case you cannot tell. Um, and it is, it was a delight. It was a delight for me. This was the early, it has a leash and there’s a button. Okay. So this was in the early days of remote controlled things. And so literally the remote only did stop and go. That’s all it did. It didn’t even change direction. So if I’m walking this little motorized dog on the sidewalk and it would start to veer towards the grass, I would literally have to pick it up and change directions. Um, but Gogo, my walking top was kind of a big deal for little six year olds like me in the early nineties.

Speaker 1: (32:48)
You saved all of that and you know what, just looking at something like that from the early nineties, I just go back to what I used to watch and what I used to play with in the, in the early nineties. You know what I made so habit, those types of toys. And that’s a Yeti that is a Yeti.

Speaker 2: (33:06)
No, it’s, it’s, it has been in a bin. Oh, I forgot. I even had it. And it’s had other stuff on it used to have like a brush and I used to maintain it so that the hair was kind of chained and you could actually see it was a face and you could see,

Speaker 1: (33:21)
see that it was a dog, not just the big first thing. Yeah. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. And so the thing is for people who are like, what is a Yeti? A yeti is kind of like a snowman. Big Foot, right? Is that what that is? Like a snowy bigfoot?

Speaker 2: (33:37)
Yes. A bomb Annabelle Snowman. Um, some people think they’re real. Most of us think of them as these fictional, funny characters a joke about.

Speaker 1: (33:50)
Right, right, right. There’s so much, there’s so much conspiracies behind, you know, big foot and stuff like that and oh, they only exist in America. It’s a lot of funny, really, really funny stories and what not. But again, hey, if you seed something, I can’t take that away from you and say, Hey, no, you need to see that. It’s Kinda like the teachers who, um, who told me, you know, because of course we live in America. We lived in a home that I saw and heard a lot of different things and the, this British guy was like, you can not see anything. No, no. I’m like, you don’t even know where I’m from. You don’t even know who I am. Shut up. How is someone going to tell me what I didn’t see? Although I saw, Oh God. So anyways, for all the big footers and Yeti folks out there, man, I’m not taking away anything you guys. Okay. Uh, but so till I see it, I’m going to have to just say, I’m going to have to debunk it. Okay. So,

Speaker 2: (34:43)
well, I meant that I really love when you do a British accent, it’s always because it’s always someone who you’re mimicking who’s like very snooty and condescending.

Speaker 1: (34:54)
Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right. You know what I mean? The like, Gosh, the Pos British, you know, no offense to any of my folks in England. It’s only offense to the folks from England out here in Thailand because they’re the ones that always stick. They are magnificently bright, so they are perfect. Say with the Americans, say whatever you want. Who comes here? Oh my God, good times then. I have so much fun here. Anyways, Katrina, thank you so much for sharing the little Yeti and thank you so much for sharing all those wonderful, wonderful tips for everyone there. Bad. I’m going to be putting this into, well again, transcription list out the different, the number ones all the way, the bullet points which Katrina made so diligently for us. Thank you so much for that and guys where we got so much come in and you know what we need.

Speaker 1: (35:55)
We need your questions. Okay, so for everyone out there who’s listening, if you guys have any questions in regards to learning anything in general, we would love to do a Q and a podcast. Okay. Now, this one is more of developing speaking, but if you guys would like us to touch up and answer your questions and have your questions featured on the next one, please make sure you share away. And again, Katrina, thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you so much again for having me. It’s always a delight. Absolutely. And guys, with that being said, thank you for tuning in to another ESL podcast. I am your crazy host as usual. It’s time to Boogie Woogie you guys stay tuned for more. I’m your host as always over and out.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – TOEFL Idioms VIII

We’re back with some more TOEFL idioms! Last episode was fire and had lots of plays, so I’m back with some more!

Drop out – stop going to school / a class / a club.

In general, the rate at which US high school students has reached 43 percent in the past decade.

Every other – every second one.

Liz is expected to undergo physical therapy sessions every other week.

Feel up to – be able to, be capable of.

Having spent the entire day editing my paper, I don’t feel up to discussing it right down.

Figure out – (1) understand, achieve understanding by reasoning.

Historians dedicate themselves to figuring sequence of events that led to a particular outcome.

(2) calculate, solve.

The income tax laws have become so complicated that it takes an accountant to figure out all the intricacies.

Fill out – write/complete a form/a questionnaire.

Please read the instructions before you begin filling out the application form.

Find fault with – criticise, be dissatisfied with.

It is almost always easier to find fault with something than to improve it.

Find out – (1) learn, discover.

Physicists and astronomers have been attempting to find out how earth was created.

(2) inquire, ask.

I’ve tried to find out why Vicky has been so depressed lately, but she refuses to talk about it.

For the time being – temporarily, for the present period of time.

For the time being, because of a series of budget cuts, the library has to postpone the acquisition of new journals.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special Segment – TOEFL Idioms Part VII

We’re back again with TOEFL idioms! Excited about this because now I’ve been teaching a lot of TOEFL iTP, so it’s time to start catering to my TOEFLers, too. Get ready!

Today’s Idioms

Come back – (1) return.

Dr Bradford may not be able to come back to the office before  his surgery this afternoon.

(2) remember, recall.

Even events that people consider long forgotten can come back to them in the right circumstances.

(3) return to popularity.

Have you noticed that platform shoes are coming back for the fall?

Come to / come down to – (1) grow to, gradually achieve enough familiarity to do something.

While some linguists disdain statistics as a mere manipulation of members, others may come to appreciate it as a powerful means to prove one’s point.

(2) amount to.

The more we learn about human behaviour; the more it comes down to heredity being a predominant factor.

Cut down on – reduce, decrease, lessen.

Cutting down on high calorie foods may lead to a substantial weight loss over an extended period of time.

Do over – do again.

His essay was so poorly written that he had to do it over.

Do with

(1) profit/benefit from, use to advantage.

I am cold and hungry; I could do with a cup of hot soup.

(2) be familiar with, associate with, work with.

How should I know where the computer manual? I don’t have anything to do with it.

Do without – manage without having.

The structure of American cities is such that urban dwellers cannot do without private transportation.

Drop by / in – visit informally, for a short period of time.

Whenever you are in town, please feel free to drop by anytime.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 74 – Pronunciation Skill – Syllable Stress & Meaning

Welcome back, people! It’s time to go over syllable stress and meaning! In some English words, the meaning of the word or its part of speech changes depending on which syllable is stressed.

Much of the produce you see in the supermarket today was originally from the Americas. PROduce (fruits and vegetables) = noun.

Instead of silk, China produces and exports clothing, electronics, and more (proDUCE) (i.e., make) = verb.

Now, listen to the sentences in the audio (in the podcast). Underline the stressed syllables in the words in bold.

  1. European countries imported silk from China.
  2. Chinese silk was still a key European import.
  3. Thanks to increased trade, there has been a decrease in the unemployment rate.
  4. In 2050, the world’s population will actually start to decrease.
  5. The city’s population is still increasing.
  6. She earns $500 a week in the city. That’s a huge increase from her job in the village.
  7. Economists project that the trade deficit will continue to increase this year.
  8. The transportation project is going to improve the lives of thousands.
  9. He signed a contract to work in the London office for two years.
  10. The economy has stopped growing and may now be contracting.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 72 – Grammar – Noun Clauses: Embedded Questions

Welcome back, people! It’s time to learn how to use embedded questions to ask for information and to express what you do or do not know, how to interrupt politely, and how syllable stress affects a word’s meaning. You are then going to use these skills to describe a global city.

We can use embedded questions to ask a question more politely or indirectly, or to talk about what someone knows or remembers.

  • Embedded questions begin with expressions such as Can you tell me….?
  • Do you know?, and I was wondering….
  • Do you know where these things are from originally? (Where are they from originally?
  • They use sentence word order.
  • I was wondering why so many people move to cities (why do so many people move to cities?)
  • In embedded questions with be, the verb changes position.
  • In yes/no embedded questions, we use if or whether in place of a question word.
  • Peter wants to know whether there is one main cause of urbanization. (is there one main cause of urbanization?)

Write embedded questions. Use the questions and the expressions in parentheses.

  1. Where were you born?
  2. Did you grow up in the countryside?
  3. What’s your favorite kind of foreign food?
  4. Are you interested in living in another city or country?
  5. Are you going to move anywhere in the next year?
  6. Have you ever tried food from an unusual place?
  • Can you tell me….
  • I was wondering……
  • I’d like to know….
  • Can you tell me…
  • Do you know…..
  • Can you tell me…..


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 58 – Developing Writing + Vocabulary – A For & Against Essay

We’re back into ESSAY writing! However, make sure you’re tuning into my Patreon so you can see me break down an essay. In this podcast, I will go over the writing bank and vocabulary.

On my patreon you will see an essay and me breaking down the paragraph, so make sure you’re tuned in over there!

Writing Banks

Useful expression in for-and-against essays

  1. First and foremost
  2. secondly
  3. lastly
  • moreover
  • furthermore,
  • what is more
  • in addition
  • not only…..but also
  • a further advantage of
  1. On the one hand
  2. on the other hand
  3. in contrast
  4. in spite of (+ noun/)
  5. Despite the fact
  • However/nevertheless
  • Conversely
  • by the contrast
  1. Therefore
  2. and so
  3. as a result
  4. as a consequence
  5. consequently
  • In my opinion
  • personally, I believe that
  • My own view is that
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • it is said that
  1. In conclusion
  2. Last but not east
  3. All in all
  4. To summarize

Vocabulary – Causes, reasons, and results

Choose the correct alternative.

  1. The news has given rise/risen to a fierce debate.
  2. People are afraid of some scientific research since/as they don’t know what effects it might have.
  3. There is always a risk of accidental infection which could on its way/in turn, lead to a general pandemic.
  4. We still cannot know the full repercussions/all the negative consequences of artificially creating viruses.
  5. The second/side effects of some vaccines are still unknown.
  6. We must be careful because playing with nature could have disastrous/catastrophic results.
  7. The research could bring about/lead to changes in the way governments prepare.
  8. The news about the experiment sparked off/stemmed from a lot of criticism.
  9. I believe the research will prompt the government change/to change the law.
  10. Some experiments are risky due to/owing to the lack of proper precautions.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 54 – Developing Vocabulary – Compound Nouns & Adjectives (Science)

Welcome back to compound nouns and adjectives, everyone! This is related to science, so check out these compounds, match the definitions and complete the rest of the tasks below.

  1. Outlook
  2. Drawback
  3. Outcome
  4. Feedback
  5. Outset
  6. Outbreak
  7. Cutback
  8. Crackdown

a. beginning, start

b. result

c. reduction in something (the amount of money spent)

d. strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity.

e. sudden start of war, disease, violence, etc

f. disadvantage

g. idea of what a situation will be like in the future/your general attitude to things

h. comments about how well or badly someone is doing something, intended to help them to do it better.

Task 2

Match 1-8 and a-h. Are the words compound nouns or compound adjectives? Are they written as one word, one word with a hyphen, or two words?

  1. Genetically
  2. set
  3. high
  4. life
  5. world
  6. break
  7. off
  8. worth

a time

b wide

c through

d while

e modified

f back

g risk

h spring

More activities on my patreon!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 53 – Developing Writing (Writing Version)

Welcome back, people! This is a follow-up from last week’s developing speaking (although it was labeled writing). In this podcast/blog, I’m going to breakdown a film review (Gateway B2+) and ask you some questions. Moreover, it’ll be time for you to write a film review!

Ryan Coogler‘s masterful superhero drama is unlike any other, featuring outstanding acting, breathtaking art direction, fascinating royal intrigue, memorable action sequences, and surprising depth. It’s that depth — of character, of storyline, of relevancy — that makes Black Panther shine, as Boseman’s T’Challa takes the mantle of king with enormous uncertainty about whether to share Wakanda’s resources with the world. With the exception of his second-in-command W’Kabi (Kaluuya), T’Challa surrounds himself with an inner circle of influential women: Okoye, Nakia, his mother (Bassett), and his genius younger sister, scientist/tech inventor Shuri (Letitia Wright). Each of them contributes much to the story, with Gurira’s spear-wielding Okoye the movie’s clear scene-stealer, Wright the clever comic relief, and Nyong’o offering a wee bit of romance. Even the central villain, as played by frequent Coogler collaborator Jordan, is well-rounded and humanized, with the actor doing great work opposite the equally nuanced Boseman.
There’s so much to appreciate in Black Panther, from its pulsing score, which features a soundtrack overseen by award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, to the mesmerizing cinematography courtesy of DP Rachel Morrison, gorgeous tribal costumes, and vibrant production design. There’s not as much laugh-aloud banter as viewers may have come to expect from Marvel movies, but the beats of humor that are here, usually thanks to plucky Shuri or mountain-tribe leader M’Baku (Winston Duke), are extra funny. Ultimately the film’s success comes down to the thoughtful, compelling storytelling from director Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole, as interpreted by a terrific cast of actors. This isn’t just another highly entertaining but formulaic superhero story; it’s also poignant and powerful and earns its place toward the top of Marvel’s films. (Be sure to watch all the way through the credits for a couple of extra tidbits!)

Sandy Angulo Chen

Would this be a movie you would like to see? Why or why not?


Write a review, have a definite idea about what you want to tell people about the thing that you are reviewing. Clarify your opinions by giving examples to justify them.

Review Format

  1. General information about the film — title, genre, director, star, date it came out
  2. The basic plot
  3. What you liked/didn’t like about the film, with examples and justifications
  4. Your recommendation.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 47 – Pronunciation – Structure Words After Focus Words

It is especially important to de-emphasize structure words that follow a focus word. If a listener hears a pitch jump on a structure word after a focus word, the important focus word might get lost.

Listen to my podcast down below and underline the last content word in each thought group.

  1. A:Guess what? Dave is moving to Barbados. — B: I know, I’m going to miss him.
  2. A: Why did you take the bus? — B: Because I missed the last train.
  3. A: Look! There’s a dog here! — B: There aren’t supposed to be dogs on the street, right?
  4. A: Have you heard from Anupan? — B: No, I haven’t been able to reach her.
  5. A: Let’s meet her in front of the bank. — B: Great. I’ll be there around 4pm.
  6. A: What’s wrong with the food? — B: There’s a bug in it!
  7. A: I’m going to need the key later. — B: Ok, I’ll put it in the mailbox.
  8. A: Where was her passport? — B: It was in her hand!
  9. A: How was your holiday? — B: I enjoyed Singapore SOOO much!
  10. A: I don’t have any money on me. — B: I don’t either. How will be catch a taxi?

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 45 – Vocabulary Development – Comparing & Contrasting

Categorize the words in the box into the chart down below.

by the same token, despite, usually, in spite of, 
in the same way, on the contrary, similarly, whereas
Word and phrases that compareWords and phrases that contrast

2. Choose the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences.

  1. I’m a very left-brained person. My brother, in the same way/on the contrary, is more right brained.
  2. Despite/ Whereas everything we know about the brain, there is still a lot to discover.
  3. I know I can’t always trust my gut feelings. In spite of this/ By the same token, they play a big part in my decision-making.
  4. Love and empathy are considered positive emotions. Equally/Despite this, gratitude and joy enhance a person’s life.
  5. Empathy motivates people to help others. On the contrary / By the same token, guilt strengthens commitments in others.
  6. Anger makes it harder for people to change what they are already doing, similarly / whereas fear makes them give up too easily.
  7. A fearful person is less likely to take risks. Similarly / On the contrary happy people are not risk takers.
  8. I sometimes jump into situations without considering all my options. In the same way / In spite of this, I sometimes find it hard to slow down and make intellectual decisions.