Advanced Listening: How English is used differently around the world

Advanced English Listening Practice

In the clip below, linguist Roly Sussex (Australian accent) talks about the different ways that English is used around the world, and how it is changing with time. 

English Extra


1. Listen to the clip (the first time you listen, don’t look at the screen! – the subtitles are automatic).

2. Listen again and read the subtitles.

3. Do the Vocabulary Task

4. Share your ideas

Vocabulary Task

Below you’ll find some rich vocabulary used by Sussex. If you don’t know the meaning, try to work it out from the context and look it up online to check. 

In the comments, write the definition and then use the word or expression in a sentence of your own. I’ll give you feedback. 

  • 00.10 – to spot something
  • 00.43 – “this is in, that’s out” to describe something as ‘in’ or ‘out’
  • 00.43 – to look down on
  • 1.18 – to be stuffy about something


  • What are the main points Sussex makes? 
  • What are your thoughts about Sussex’s point of view? 
  • Check out some of the comments made by others. Do you agree or disagree with any of them?

Share your comments below. 

CREDITS: listening extract from Radio Brisbane

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6 thoughts on “Advanced Listening: How English is used differently around the world”

  1. I think it’s important to understand and know that there are different English interpretations and pronunciations, that helps me to understand better when I speak with people from all over the world. Very interesting lesson. Thanks Kerin.

  2. I agree 100%. There are as many accents as people who speak the language. When a language is alive, as they say, some of the grammar rules are more flexible, which is great for students! When it comes to written English, I think a more formal approach is still used.

    1. @Carly beautifully put! I agree with you, although I am worried that even written English may be dying! Some emails I receive from home (even from formal institutions such as the bank) can be too informal and even contain grammatical errors

  3. Hi Kerin, I have got 3 questions about the clip:
    1. does Sussex use the word “agreement” to mean “sentence” and, if so, is there any difference among the words agreement / sentence / phrase / statement?
    2. What does “never ever do” mean? (00:48)
    3. at 01:09 Sussex says “…live up to the norms of the great traditions of English”, is that another phrasal verb? Could you explain its meaning to me please? Thanks a lot!

    About the vocabulary you highlighted, I tried to use it within the following sentence:
    When I talk to people, I tend to notice physical details like a pimple on the cheek or a tick of the eyes. I know this is bad, it seems like I look down on them or that I’m too stuffy about look. Actually, I’m not, it’s just that I spot details…

    1. @sonim thank you for your questions
      to answer you:
      1. agreement means ‘subject verb agreement’. Subject verb agreement refers to the fact that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. In other words, they both must be singular or they both must be plural. (You can’t have a singular subject with a plural verb or vice versa.) E.g. ‘He goes’ is the correct form. However, some people say ‘He go’
      2. ‘Never ever do’ means something that is ‘not done’ (socially unacceptable). It is informal and used especially in speech as a more forceful way to say ‘never’
      3. ‘live up to’ is a phrasal verb, correct. It means meet the expectations of something or someone. “I could never live up to the standards of Italian cooking, so I never cook pasta for Italians!”

      ps. good sentence! (Although next time we meet, I’ll make sure I have plucked all my facial hair!!!

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