Study English conversation skills with one of YouTube's most popular English as a Second (or third!) Language teachers, Rachel of Rachel's English. Most beneficial for intermediate to advanced students, Rachel's specialty is the nuance and musicality of spoken English. Learn about English stress, sounds, and melodies, in addition to American slang, idioms, phrasal verbs, vocabulary, common phrases, culture, and more! Each episode is a CONVERSATION, so join the conversation now and learn how to communicate naturally in English.
To submit a question for consideration on the podcast, email help@RachelsEnglish.com and put 'podcast question' in the subject.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Today we discuss the kinds of resolutions we make, and discuss tips on how to keep them. Learn what a SMART goal is, and learn the idioms and interesting vocabulary words we use when speaking: ‘to be on to something’, ‘flip on its head’, ‘just in the nick of time’, ‘down to the wire’, ‘went by the wayside’, and more!
Today we talk about the best present we’ve ever gotten, and define interesting words, terms, and phrases that come up in natural conversation. Learn the phrases ‘freaking out’, ‘big deal’, ‘to be up to it’, ‘nailed it’, ‘stand out’, ‘add up’, the difference between ‘implode’ and ‘explode’, and more!
023: Conversations: Describe a Recent Situation that Made you Crack Up
David and I ask each other questions to get the conversation going – then we stop when we use an idiom, phrasal verb, or challenging vocabulary word and explain it. You’ll learn and these words and phrases because you heard them in context! Some of the phrases we discuss this week: to roll with something, under your belt, to be caught off guard, amped, back pedal.
When we were in Italy recently, we often struggled with knowing the polite way to phrase a request or ask for something. We could get the point across, but we lacked nuance with the language. Today we discuss phrases you can use to be polite in American English, like, “would you be able to tell me if you have ___”, or “we’re ready for the check, when you get the chance.”
Today we reflect on our trip to Italy and what is was like being non-native speakers. We discuss how we picked up language there, and how it felt not being able to fully communicate. We talk about becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, and how to engage native speakers to help you learn.
020: Letting Go of Inhibitions and Embodying a New Language
Today we listen to a conversation that we recorded in Italy with my sister- and brother-in-law as we discuss what it means to be in another country, trying to speak a new language. We talk about leaving your whole self behind to try to embody the new language, not just 'learn an accent'. We also talk about how your personality might be affecting how well you're absorbing English as you study among native speakers.
019: Conversations: What are some of the Great Things about Living in Philadelphia?
Today we study casual English conversation as David and I ask each other questions like: Think back 10 years. What's something that has changed about your personality? As we speak, we pick out the phrasal verbs, idioms, and interesting vocabulary words that come up naturally in conversation. This includes: the phrasal verb 'tuck away', the term 'byob', the phrase 'guilty pleasure', 'come along for the ride', and more.
018: Taking the IELTS Speaking Test - Interview with Eliot Friesen of Magoosh
The IELTS exam tests your proficiency in English, and today we sit down with IELTS expert Eliot Fresien of Magoosh. He has created a training program to help students prepare, and today we discuss in-depth the speaking section of the exam, how it’s graded, and how to pass with flying colors.
017: Conversations: What's the Most Challenging Job you've Ever Had?
Today David and I ask each other a series of questions to get the conversation going. Then we stop ourselves as idioms, phrasal verbs, or interesting vocabulary words come up in conversation. A sample of what is covered: meaning of ‘economically depressed’, what preposition to use with ‘proud’, the phrase ‘having said that’, the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’, the idiom ‘green thumb’, and much more.
Today we answer questions about making with Americans—and growing friendships with Americans. Is it normal to have good friends of both sexes? Do Americans avoid talking about the difficulties in life? How to meet friends and start conversations with Americans?
Today we do a deep-dive into the American English diphthongs. How many are there, and why doesn’t everyone agree with the number? We discuss the different spellings of the diphthongs, as well as the benefits of studying mouth positions. Rachel talks about the EW as in FEW diphthong, and how sometimes it’s not a diphthong.
014: Conversations: Name an Embarrassing Moment you've had as an Adult
Today David and I ask each other a series of questions to get the conversation going, then we stop ourselves as idioms, phrasal verbs, or interesting vocabulary words come up in conversation. A sample of what is covered: idiom ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place’, phrasal verb ‘to draw out’, and what is Teflon? We ask each other these questions: Name an embarrassing moment you’ve had as an adult, what’s one thing you’d like to change about yourself, what’s one thing you love about yourself, and what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
013: Interview with Brooke Kandel-Cisco on Teaching ESL Teachers
David and I sit down with Butler University professor Brooke Kandel-Cisco to discuss teaching English as a Second Language. We talk about the standards for teaching non-native students in the US and how to dig beneath the surface on the culture of other countries, as well as what makes an excellent ESL teacher.
This week’s episode is a companion to the vocabulary builder video published on YouTube and the website. We discuss more complicated family relationships as well as lots of idioms that use family relationship words like ‘mother’. Do you know what the phrase “mother lode” means? What about “grandfather clause”? Listen here and learn!
In Part 2 of the Vowels series, we discuss the remaining vowels in English: EH [ɛ], UR [ɜ], OO [u], UH [ʊ], another UH [ʌ], and the Schwa [ə]. We discuss one of the main differences between British and American English (the [ɜ] sound), and Rachel's love of Christmas music.
David and I discuss five of the 11 vowels of American English, and go over the various ways each sound can be spelled. This leads to discussions of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and spelling bees (David won his school spelling bee!). The idioms 'rule of thumb' and 'off the top of my head' come up in conversation. Vowels covered: AH [ɑ], AW [ɔ], AA [æ], EE [i], IH [ɪ].
009: Rural Juror - Your Pronunciation Questions Answered
David and I answer your questions from YouTube. How is ACTUAL actually pronounced? Is it okay to use American idioms and slang during the IELTS speaking test? How do you pronounce 'goal' vs. 'go'? And, a question even Americans want to know: How the heck do you pronounce 'rural'??
008: Food Idioms! Small Peanuts, White on Rice and so much more!
David and I cover just some of the MANY idioms that are in use in daily English conversation -- some of those relating to food: Icing on the cake, have your cake and eat it too, not my cup of tea, and more. Learn what the idioms mean and the right situations for them.
007: Interview with an American Adult Learning English AGAIN - Dave Valiulis
In this episode, I interview stroke survivor Dave Valiulis. There's a lot to learn about mastering an accent from someone who had to relearn a language as an adult. Dave gives great tips for retraining the muscle memory and discusses important issues for non-native speakers, like how to remember vocabulary words and how to participate in a group conversation.
Author and English teacher Vicki Hollett gives grammar tips, talks about British vs. American English, moving to America as an adult, and how to get through a voice-recognition system as a non-native speaker.
The letter T is not always what we think of as a T. In fact, MOST of the time it’s not. So then what is it? What are the rules for how to pronounce T? Today you’ll get rules and examples to help you figure out what Americans are really doing when it comes to T and TT. See the show notes for more information on the rules.
003: COLLAR vs. COLOR, The T in DEFINITELY, and more
This week’s show answers questions from you, the students. Rachel and David will discuss the difference between COLLAR and COLOR (AH [ɑ] and UH [ʌ]), the word ‘liberty’, the Light and Dark L, and more. Oh, and we’ll both fail a tongue twister test.
002: American English Slang - Fly, Throw Shade, and More!
American slang is used a lot by young people in the US. If you don't know the terms, it can be very hard to join in the conversation, even for native speakers. In today's episode, Rachel and David discuss when to use slang, as well as the terms: slay, crush, kill, destroy, salty, coming in clutch, fly, low-key, sick, extra, done, fam/family, lit, dope, woke, shade/ to throw shade. Bonus: we discuss how to order your Philly cheesesteak! :)
Learn more about how Rachel's English was started, and how I got the skills I need to help my students understand and speak natural American English. My husband David leads the interview, and asks questions like "What is one thing that made you passionate about Rachel's English this week?"