29 episodes

Australia Plus Learn English is a free service for anyone learning English and is produced by the ABC, Australia's national public broadcaster.

Learn English Radio Australia

    • Education
    • 4.4 • 22 Ratings

Australia Plus Learn English is a free service for anyone learning English and is produced by the ABC, Australia's national public broadcaster.

    Tear and desert

    Tear and desert

    Tear and desert

    ‘Tear’ and ‘desert’ are words that are pronounced differently to indicate their meaning. The noun tear, which is a drop of fluid from the eye, rhymes with the word dear.

    ‘She shed a tear when her cat died.’

    But when we use ‘tear’ as a verb, meaning to rip, it's pronounced 'tear' and that rhymes with the word 'bear'.

    ‘Don't tear the book.’

    The noun ‘desert’ means a barren dry, sandy and often lifeless place.

    ‘It rarely rains in the desert.’

    But when the word ‘desert’ is used as a verb, meaning to run away, it's pronounced 'desert'.

    ‘Don't desert me, stay and help please.’

    When it's spelt with two Ss ‘desert’ is used to describe the part of a meal that is often eaten after the main course. It usually consists of something sweet.

    ‘I don’t think I'll have any dessert thanks, I am already full.’

    Flickr CC: Elisa Banfi

    • 1 min
    Gonna and Gotta

    Gonna and Gotta

    Gonna and Gotta

    In informal English conversation, we often use shorter, versions of common word combinations.

    One of the most common is ‘gonna’ - short for ‘going to’.

    When we say the words ‘going to’ very quickly, they run together and sound like ‘gonna’.

    So ‘Are you going to wash the car today?’ becomes:
    B: ‘Are you gonna wash the car today?’

    And ‘We are going to go home for dinner.’ becomes:
    ‘We’re gonna go home for dinner.’

    We also shorten ‘got to’ so it sounds more like ‘gotta.’
    Here, ‘got to’ means ‘have to’ or ‘must’:

    So ‘I have got to wash the car today,’ becomes:
    ‘I’ve gotta wash the car today.’

    And ‘I have got to go home for dinner,’ becomes:
    ‘I’ve gotta go home for dinner.’

    Flickr CC: Bark

    • 1 min
    Practising contractions

    Practising contractions

    Practising contractions

    Pronouncing contractions can be tricky - let’s practise some:

    ‘I am’ becomes ‘I’m’.

    I’m going to the beach.
    I’m going to come with you.

    ‘You are’ becomes ‘you’re’
    You’re going to the beach today, aren’t you?
    You’re late.

    ‘She is’ becomes ‘she’s’

    ‘She’s coming to the beach with me.’
    ‘She’s running late again.’

    ‘He is’ becomes ‘he’s’

    ‘He’s coming to the party.’
    ‘He’s already here.’

    And ‘it is’ becomes ‘it’s’

    ‘It’s too late to start watching a movie now.’
    ‘It’s too hot to go to the beach today.’

    Flickr CC: Rob Parker

    • 1 min
    Doubt or Question?

    Doubt or Question?

    Doubt or Question?

    Many English learners confuse the nouns ‘doubt’ and ‘question’.

    A ‘question’ is something you ask when you want to find out information.

    ‘Can you answer my question?’

    ‘Does anyone have any questions?’

    The noun ‘doubt’ describes a feeling of not being sure about something.

    ‘I have doubts about my ability to pass the test.’

    ‘I never had any doubt you could do it.’

    So if you have ‘doubts’ it means you feel uncertain.

    If you have ‘a question’, it means you want to ask something in order to find out more information.

    Flickr CC: Noelia

    • 1 min
    How to join a conversation

    How to join a conversation

    How to join a conversation

    If you hear an interesting conversation, it’s a good idea to listen in and make sure it’s appropriate to join.

    If it’s a personal or private conversation, the speakers might not want you to interrupt. You‘ll have to use your own judgement, and take a risk.

    If they seem friendly and open, you can try to find something interesting to add. Don’t try to change the subject or talk too much about yourself.

    Remember to smile, be friendly and ask questions about others.

    You could try one of these phrases for joining in:

    ‘Excuse me, I overheard you talking about…’
    ‘Hi, my name is … ‘
    ‘I heard you talking about…’
    ‘Did I hear you say…?’

    Here are some examples:

    ‘Excuse me, I overheard you talking about travelling to Australia. My sister went there last year. When are you going?’

    ‘Hi my name is Shirley. I heard you talking about Adelaide university. I’m a student there, too. What do you study?’

    ‘Did I hear you say you’re watching the new Game of Thrones series? I’m half way through it, I love that show. Where are you up to?’

    If you find it hard to find a natural way to join the conversation, you can say:

    ‘Excuse me, would you mind if I joined your conversation? I don’t know anyone here yet, and you look interesting to talk to.’

    Of course, not everyone wants new people to join their conversation. If it doesn’t work out, don’t take it personally. Try again next time.

    Flickr CC: Ruth Ellison

    • 1 min
    Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores

    Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores

    Carnivores, herbivores and omnivores

    A ‘carnivore’ is a meat eating animal. It eats other animals.

    ‘The lion is a carnivore, as is the leopard.’

    Carnivorous, an adjective, means ‘meat-eating’.

    ‘The Tasmanian devil is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial.’

    A ‘herbivore’ is an animal that eats only plants.

    ‘Zebras are herbivores.’

    An ‘omnivore’ is an animal that is able to eat both animal and plant life.

    ‘People are omnivores.’

    Flickr CC: Chen Wu

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

MokoXD ,

very useful

Before i start my english language class i have to get used to the australian english so i've been listening this all day long , it's good.

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