• Flat /a/ vs. the ash /ae/

    07/06/2007 Duração: 12min

    This is a new version of the /a/ and /æ/ episode from last year. You can find the minimal pairs and the sentences from this podcast by clicking on this link: Thanks for listening!

  • New Introduction for 2007

    22/04/2007 Duração: 10min

    I should apologize for not making any new's been almost 10 months! This show is an overview of my plans for this year's podcasts. **Reminder to my listeners** This podcast is primarily aimed at my students at Doshisha University, in Kyoto, Japan. However, if you have any comments please feel free to write. Thanks to those who already commented. Don't worry about your English! :-) I'll try to get some minimal pairs typed into a Word .doc file in the near future. I'll upload some documents (no show scripts, sorry, everything is unscripted!) and I'll put a link here in the future. Thanks for your patience! -- Matt

  • Reduced Forms (3)

    05/07/2006 Duração: 12min

    This is the third in a series of four podcast episodes about reduced forms in English. In this podcast, we look at the pronouns "he," "him," "his," "her," and "them." When we speak English quickly, the sounds of "h" and "th" are often not pronounced. We also listen to the various ways in which to say "you." When combined with "d" and "t," as in "Would you?" and "Shouldn't you?" the pronoun "you" sounds like "dya," "ju," or "jya," depending on the speaker.

  • Rokko Oroshi

    03/07/2006 Duração: 03min

    "Rokko Oroshi" is the official "fight song" of the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. The song was written a long time ago, but only recently in the past twenty-five years or so has it become traditional to be sung at ballgames. During the seventh-inning stretch, fans at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya (between Osaka and Kobe) stand up to sing this song. At the end of the song, fans release thousands of slender "condomu fusen," or condom-shaped balloons, into the air. Fans of the Tigers are well-known throughout Japan for their undying loyalty, even when the team is terrible (as is generally the case). Fans have been known to spontaneously burst into song at the bar, at the restaurant, in the beer garden atop the department store, at home watching TV, waiting for trains at the platform...pretty much anywhere during the baseball season, actually. Parents in the Kansai region of Japan (Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Osaka, Kobe) teach their children the words for Rokko Oroshi from a young age. And, in fact, you can ofte

  • Reduced Forms (2)

    19/06/2006 Duração: 12min

    This is the second of four podcast episodes about "reduced forms." In the previous episode, we practiced saying verbs phrases such as "have to," "got to," and "ought to" by using the reduced vowel "the schwa." In this episode, we add "gonna" (going to) and "ask 'em" (ask them) as we practice three full sentences. Some keys for listening to and speaking fast English: the letters "h," "w," "t," "th," and "ve" are often not pronounced at all!

  • Reduced forms (1)

    17/06/2006 Duração: 12min

    This podcast is the first of a series of four podcasts designed to help learners of English better understand spoken, fast English. English is a "stress-timed" language. That is, the individual words in English are often not fully pronounced when the stress of the sentence does not fall on the word. Common examples are "I wanna go" or "Are ya gonna tell me?" The important parts of the sentence (typically the verb and the object) are stressed, while the grammar part (-ing, to) receive no stress. The parts with no stress usually turn into the "schwa" unaccented vowel sound. In this podcast, we will practice reducing common verbs such as "have," "want," and "got." In the second podcast, we will practice a full sentence using these verbs. The third podcast of the series will feature common pronoun reductions.

  • Take me out to the ballgame

    12/06/2006 Duração: 02min

    This is the number three song sung by people every day in the U.S. (after the Star Spangled Banner and "Happy Birthday"!). The words and music were written by people who had not been to a baseball game! The writer finally saw a game over 30 years after he wrote the lyrics. The song itself was sung only infrequently for many years. The tradition of singing "Take me out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch was started by former White Sox and Cubs announcer Harry Caray. He used to lean out of the announcer's booth and lead the crowd in singing. This became his trademark as an announcer, and was the key to his being elected into the Hall of Fame. For the original 1903 lyrics (the version of the song on this page) as well as a Japanese translation, see this web page: This page will also show you pictures of elementary school baseball in Kyoto, Japan. Different versions of "Take Me Out..." are sung by fans at different baseball parks. Also

  • The schwa

    05/06/2006 Duração: 12min

    The schwa is normally represented in the IPA symbol inventory as an upside-down backwards "e." It occurs in English in unstressed syllables, either in single words or in a group of words. This podcast episode will give you plenty of practice with the schwa sound as it occurs in various combinations. Learning where the schwa occurs is the first step to understanding fast English. Give it a try!

  • Who's on First?

    22/05/2006 Duração: 06min

    This is a famous "English manzai" routine from the 1930s and 1940s. While the English is a little fast, the words are fairly easy, and the comedians say the same words over and over. You can read the script in class in Week 7. Can you guess who is the つっこみ and who is the ぼけ?

  • Back vowels

    18/05/2006 Duração: 12min

    This episode covers the most changeable of the English vowels: the "two 'o's" and the "two 'u's." I speak Northeastern North American English; I cannot demonstrate the British English accents for the back vowels. Please keep that in mind when you listen!

  • /a/ and /ae/

    28/04/2006 Duração: 09min

    These sounds can be confusing, because about 150 words are spelled the same in UK and US English, but are pronounced differently. For example, "path," "chance," and "example" are pronounced with /a/ in the UK and /ae/ in the US. On the other hand, a single "o" is usually pronounced /a/ in the US. For example, words such as "shopping," "hot," and "clock" are pronounced with /a/ sound. Please listen and practice the sounds and sentences on the podcast. The tongue twister is something I simply made up on my own...maybe you'll find it easy, maybe difficult. Give it a try!

  • Casey at the Bat

    24/04/2006 Duração: 06min

    We listened and watched the video of this famous poem in Eigo Bunka Jijyou classes during Week 3. The video was a little different from this. You can read the poem I gave you in class, and listen at the same time to this classic poem about Mighty Casey and the Mudville Nine.

  • /I/ and /e/

    24/04/2006 Duração: 09min

    This is the second podcast about English pronunciation. Click here for /I/ and /e/ minimal pairs and practice speaking the sentences.

  • Front vowels /I/ and /iy/

    11/04/2006 Duração: 09min

    This podcast episode will help you distinguish the sounds / I / and / iy/. Listen carefully and try to repeat the sounds. There are also words with these sounds, and there are sentences that you can try. Finally, the final sentence is one of the most difficult tongue twisters (早口言葉) in the English language. Give it a try!

  • Welcome! A message to my Doshisha students

    17/01/2006 Duração: 09min

    Welcome to Eigo Bunka Jijyou! Please listen to my self-introduction. See if you can answer these questions: -- Where do I come from? -- What musical instruments can I play? -- What did I study in university? -- When did I come to Japan? -- Where have I lived in Japan? -- What is my wife's hometown? -- What are my hobbies? After you listen to my self-introduction, please go back to the class Moodle and write your own self-introduction!