Hi, welcome to today’s everyday language podcast.
I’m talking to my sister Mei Mei about life in Brighton, why it is a cool place where anyone can fit in, and how going to language school in Brighton could be a good choice.
(My voice is a bit rough on the introduction and end of this episode because I had a cold, I’m alright now 🙂 – Mark )
Vocabulary and Expressions
weird and wacky – different or unusual (personality, dress sense); out there; often used with a fairly positive connotation.
He is a bit weird and wacky.
Her dress sense is a bit weird and wacky.
there’s loads going on – (very casual) there is a lot happening.
arty town – a town (or city or village) known for having a strong arts scene (theatres, art galleries, clubs, concert venues, gig venues, cinemas) and a place where many artists, writers and musicians live.
precepts – a general rule intended to regulate thoughts and behaviour.
Steiner – A type of school that emphasises the role of imagination in learning and that tries to integrate the holistically the artistic, intellectual and practical development of pupils. Please read the Steiner Wikipedia page if interested.
Montessori – Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. This explanation is a quote from montessori.edu website.
Forest school – Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. This explanation is from the forest school association website
Farm school – a nursery school that is connected to a working farm. Children can learn and develop through seeing and getting involved in farm life.
sort you out – A very common phrasal verb meaning: to help; to do; to support; to beat up.
sort it out – to fix/do it (a situation, a matter)
Can you sort it out? (Can you fix/do it?)
sort him/her out – help him/her, beat him/her up.
There’s a lady standing at the entrance, can you sort her out? (Can you help her?)
I’m going to sort him out next match. (I’m going to beat him up in the next match) – Slang expression.
chilling out – (verb) to relax
Susan is chilling out
chilled – (adjective) to have a relaxed attitude
Fred is chilled.
Mark: Ok, hiya, so I just wanted to ask you because you, you are a person from Brighton and you’re my sister
Mark: I wanted to ask you about what is Brighton like? And then maybe talk about English stuff because you’ve also been a teacher for, er, quite a while right?
MM: Yeah, no Brighton is a really good place to live, it’s um, it’s very, multicultural, and, erm, alternative as well.
MM: And anything that you’re interested you can find here, I think.
MM: Even if it’s really weird and wacky, you can find it in Brighton.
M: There’s a lot going on?
MM: There’s loads, there’s loads going on, everything that you need is here I think. I love my town, I love living here.
M: Ok, so right, so, can you tell me, like,a bit, when did you first come to Brighton?
MM: I came to Brighton for university twenty four years ago.
M: Twenty four years?
MM: Yeah, it’s a long time ago and I’ve always had a place here, and I always come back here, erm, but yeah, I came to study psychology and then, um, quite soon after that became a teacher, as well, (mm) yeah, travelled a bit in Thailand, and then became a teacher and erm, yeah, I love teaching really small children.
M: Ok (yeah) like have you seen it [Brighton] change?
MM: Yeah, when I first came there was a lot less, erm, going on, so there were, you know, not many tourists really and now, it’s really really busy, there’s a lot of hen parties and stag do’s.
M: So what’s that?
MM: It’s when people get married they have these wild parties, like before, they get married, I think it’s like their last taste of freedom (haha) or something, haha. So you see them all down the seafront dressed up in really funny clothes and erm, maybe drinking a little bit, or, haha, and just having a good time before they get married, don’t know what that say about being married but (both laugh)
And yeah, so yeah, er the town is a lot, er, busier now. There’s more buildings more shops, er, when I first came it was quite small and there were only the lanes, the lanes in Brighton are kind of these very small streets er, with very, alternative shops an also antique shops in, and that was really all that was in Brighton town and then there was the sea and the beach and the pier and that was it really.
MM: Yeah and it just seemed like a really lovely place to come and be at university because, you know the university campus is beautiful it’s right in the middle of the Downs so you’re right in the countryside, yeah there’s a lot of space. (Yeah) I think at that campus.
M: I’ve always had [the image] of Brighton being quite a young town. (Yeah) because of lots of students and stuff.
MM: Yeah, it feels quite young. But then there are all kinds of people here, and I think everyone, everyone fits in, (mm) it’s, it’s a very comfortable place, I think for people to be in, no matter who they are, you know…
M: So all sorts of people from around the world?
MM: Yeah, yeah from everywhere you know, you see lots of, and you know, ‘cos obviously because there’s lots of students as well so, it’s a real mix of people.
M: And before we were talking about, oh if you say to another, er, British person you’re from Brighton and they might have an idea, like a stereotype?
MM: They have a stereotype, ‘cos mm, well apparently Brighton is the gay capital of England, (yeah) um, and obviously there are gay people here, ha, but they haven’t taken over the town or anything, it’s um, ‘cos it’s such a relaxed place I think you know, anyone can live here and it’s great we all live together (um) quite peacefully as well.
M: Yeah, so some people might not know, it’s the only Green [party MP], it’s the only green.
MM: Yeah, the green party rule in Brighton, yeah it’s the only one the only constituency,(um) so, we’re very proud of that.
M: It is good, it’s something to shout about.
MM: Yeah we have very good recycling here, and rubbish collection (laughs) in fact if you don’t put your stuff in the recycling they come and knock on your door and tell you off! So (laughs) yeah, so it’s a good place to be, I don’t, I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else actually, in England, think I’m quite happy here.
M: I heard it’s quite an arty town?
MM: Yeah, it’s it’s an arty town and the surrounding towns are pretty, you know, arty as well, Lewes is a great town, for that and um, and yeah I think it’s a really great place to bring up your children, (um) as well, because of all the different opportunities and there are you know, alternative schools and, um yeah, so it’s.
M: Alternative schools? What kind of things?
MM: Alternative schools so, so I work in the Dharma school which is the only Buddhist primary school in Europe.
M: In Europe?
MM: In Europe.
MM: Yeah and so we, we teach with a Buddhist ethos in mind, we’re not a faith school, we don’t teach Buddhism, but we just, we just try and live our lives to some of the precepts, some of the Buddhist precepts, (ok) you know being kind to animals, you know like right speech, kind thoughts, (um) that kind of thing, um, yeah, so I’ve been there quite a long time, about ten years, umm
And, um, yeah there’s quite a lot of other different schools there’s Steiner schools, there’s Montessori schools, there’s Forest schools, there’s Farm school (haha).
M: Good for young… well families,
MM: Yeah, and I know the state schools are pretty good here too. There all, yeah it’s a good place to be.
M: Ok for people, because we’re recording this for people learning English, how do you feel Brighton is for, you know, language students?
MM: I think a lot of language students come here, (um) We’ve got I think two very, very big [language] schools and I think it’s very well set-up to take students because it’s all really, um, Brighton is very well run, so with public transport, and I know lots and lots of people take students into their houses as well, lots of my friends do.
M: Ok, so like homestays?
MM: Yeah, homestays and you know because I think Brighton people are so warm and kind and friendly I think students would get a lot out of being in those homes (yeah). You know, plus the brilliant schools that are here.
M: Kind of British way of life and.
MM: Yeah, yeah but just you know, I know my friends talk about having their students and, erm, you know sitting with them every evening around the table having a meal and talking and they really welcome them into their family, so it’s a really good experience (ok) for students definitely.
M: So it might not be one of those homestays where you’re just living in a room basically.
MM: And then you kind of, yeah, I think you can do that if you want to, but a lot of stu– you know, people I know, really looked after their students and taken them out and you know, just, just had them fully in their family, life, (yeah) so, yeah.
M: I know from, from my bits of teaching stuff, I know some students are worried about what if I don’t speak English well? You know what if I’ve got an accent? Because it’s my second language. But what do you, as a teacher, what do you say for people that have got those worries?
MM: Yeah, I mean of course you’re going to feel anxious about that because you want to be understood, don’t you? And if you’re not understood, it’s kind of, a little bit embarrassing or you feel shy (mm), don’t you? But I think, you know, you’ve just got to be brave and just speak and it’s ok, I think most people, you know, well, most people would want to just, want to make sure that they make an effort to try and understand you so.
M: Do you think anyone cares? And if they do care do you think it’s worth?
MM: No, I don’t think you need to worry, and if they do care about it just go and ask somebody else. Just move on.
M: So don’t worry, if you.
MM: Don’t worry just go and ask somebody else, I mean there’s going to be other people, I mean, I think, I think British people are really kind like that, (yeah) I, you know, it’s a very, I think it’s a very polite and civil culture. I think if you ask for help people genuinely want to help, (yeah) you know or if they can’t help they will ask somebody else to help or they will sort you out, so just don’t worry about it. Yeah I mean the more, relaxed you are the easier it is to communicate.
M: Yeah, (isn’t it?) I think like, that’s the key for the UK, for being in, it’s just sort of chilling out.
MM: Don’t worry about it.
M: And not caring too much.
MM: And you know, just don’t, don’t worry too much about it, and breathe!
M: People like to have a joke here don’t they? If you can do that.
MM: Yeah people do they like to have a joke they like to have fun. And er, yeah and if you can like smile (laughs) and, er, be friendly about it people are ok really. Yeah.
M: Ok, thanks very much. Let’s have a chat again soon.
MM: You’re welcome Mark, teacher extraordinaire!
M: Ha, I didn’t pay her [to say that]
MM: Yeah ,you didn’t pay me!
Related podcast episodes
For more podcasts on British life see this episode on British pubs and this episode on football.
- The South Downs is a national park in the UK just on the outskirts of Brighton. ↑