Bitesize Episode 39 - How To Talk About Your Childhood in English

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode, Charlie and Harry talk about childhood, IELTS Speaking Exam-style. If you want a taste of the IELTS Speaking Course, then this episode is for you! Tune in to get a sample of possible questions to be asked on an IELTS Speaking Exam and listen to how Charlie delivers some answers. And though these are actually bloopers this episode may prove handy in structuring your own responses.

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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 039 - Transcript

Hello and welcome to the British English podcast with your host Charlie Baxter. Today we have a bite sized episode and this one is going to be focussing on topic specific vocabulary, talking about one's childhood. This is because I run a course called the IELTS speaking course on my website, the British English podcast dot com, and each module is focussing on a specific topic. And this one, as I said, is all about one's childhood. And these are the bloopers, the the answers that weren't good enough to get into the course. But instead of leaving them on my hard drive, I thought, why not help you better understand what's in the course by giving you the the watered down, the slightly lesser version through a podcast episode? And I wanted to just remind you that for these model answers, we didn't create them all based on our own lives, as we knew that that would end up giving you a biased selection of language. So what we did was we interviewed a bunch of people to get authentic responses and then chose the best responses that used some lovely language that we knew would score well in an IELTS exam. And then we recorded ourselves replicating those answers in an environment that favoured better audio and at a slower pace for you to absorb the answers a bit more easily. So what you are about to hear in these model answers does not represent our personal lives. But they do represent someone else who is indeed a native British English speaker. So enjoy listening to a bunch of model answers for part one of the speaking exam focussing on childhood.

I'm going to ask you questions now, Charlie, about your childhood.


What did you look like when you were a child?

Well, I haven't changed that much. I don't think. I was pretty much a miniature version of what I look like now. You know, tall. A bit scruffy looking. I had more freckles and I had massive feet. I mean, I've got huge feet now, too. But they stood out a lot more when I was young, so I got a bit of stick over that. But it was good being tall. I guess people looked up to me. They had to. So that gave me a bit of a boost to my confidence.

And what was your personality like when you were a child?

Yeah, again, I don't think I've changed much. I've never been a complicated person. I was straightforward, predictable, saw things in black and white. I didn't mess anyone around or cause trouble. I've always been a bit lippy, but in a cheeky way. Not in a rude way. When I was in my teens, I went through a bit of an aggressive phase. I guess it was the hormones, but I came out of the other side of that and reverted back to my own sensible, rather serious self.

Okay, now onto the next question. What kind of toys did you play with as a child?

Oh, I had loads of toys. I had loads of action figures from shows on TV, and then I had tanks and soldiers and attack vehicles and other military stuff. And I would set them up and have battles with friends or just by myself. And later on, I met some kids at school who were into war gaming, and they got me into that. I like the idea of there being fixed rules, and you knew who'd won rather than before when I was basically just making it up as I went along.

Okay. So now we're going to move away from the things you did indoors as a child. And I'd like to know, what activities did you do outdoors?

I did a lot of things outdoors with my friends. We played a lot of sports, things like cricket and football, and we'd go on our bikes just around the village. Then sometimes we'd make dens on a field round the back of my friend's house. Then I was in the scouts and we did things like sailing and rowing and we had camps and we'd cook outside on a campfire, sausages and toasting marshmallows, that was a blast. So I was pretty active, even though I wouldn't class myself as an outdoorsy type.

Okay. The next questions are about friends. Now, did you have many friends when you were young?

Not a lot of friends, no. I was part of a tight knit group, about four or five of us, and we were really close. We went way back actually as far as primary school and we hung out together all the time. And although there were sometimes a few hanger-oners who tried to infiltrate into our gang, we were pretty closed to newcomers. We wouldn't let anyone else in. We were kind of a cliquish group. Eventually, though, we all went our separate ways.

The next question is about any special skills or talents that you had as a child. Did you have any?

I suppose, yeah. I learnt loads of random stuff. I learnt how to tie knots and my granddad taught me how to make a bow and arrow and he taught me a bit of gardening. They're not what you'd call special talents or anything, but they're useful life skills, you know? I wasn't one of those kids who likes to be in the limelight. So it's not like I've ever regretted never being a tap dancing champion or top of the class in anything.

Okay, now let's move away from your special skills and talents. I'd like to know, when you were a little boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a vet, since way back. I even used to draw pictures of myself as a vet with a cat and a stethoscope. I can't remember what kickstarted this obsession, but my mum says I was always fascinated by creepy crawlies and liked looking after pets. It wasn't like I had any great memories of going to the vets, so it was a bit strange. The only time I can remember going there as a kid was when our cat had to be put down. Anyway, it turned out that I wasn't smart enough to get on a veterinary course, so that was that.

Now I'd like to know a little bit about your behaviour. Now, when you were a little boy, did you get into much trouble?

Not as a young kid. I was a bit of a mama's boy, a goody two shoes. It was my brother who got into trouble, whereas I was the calm one who didn't give my parents any grief. So yeah, generally I did what I was told and got on with it. I went through a phase in my teens when I was a bit too cocky for my own good, but I settled down before long.

Now I want to know a bit about your family connections, and the relationships you have with those people. What was it like living with your parents? Did they give you much freedom?

Yeah, I got a fair amount of freedom. My mum had trust in me as long as she knew where I was and came home when I said I would. I mean, life was quite rigid though back then. My mum worked days and my dad worked nights and so there were set times when we'd have tea and collect mum from work and so on. So I couldn't just come and go as I pleased and I didn't have the freedom to try lots of clubs and activities like some kids do because my parents weren't able to ferry me around as much as others.

So now we've come to the end of the personal questions and it's a nice, nostalgic one. I'd like to know, what do you miss the most about your childhood?

What I miss is not having to be responsible. These days I have to worry about how bills are going to be paid, what I'm going to have for dinner, whether there's enough food in the cupboards, when I'm going to do the laundry, and whether I've got a clean shirt for work. But when I was little, I never had to worry about that. Someone else took care of it and my weekends were my own. I didn't have loads of chores to do. Most of the time I could just suit myself and do what the hell I wanted.

So what you just heard was the bloopers, meaning the mistakes or parts of the recordings that were not good enough for the real thing. So if you thought that was useful for you in regards to improving your IELTS speaking score, then we have created a full course that will interest you as we have even better answers, with the target language being visually highlighted as it comes up, then review videos going over the target language in a really thorough and enjoyable way. We also have a ton of learning resources that go with it like quizzes, glossaries, flashcards, writing assignments and technique videos and many more things. And to top it all off, there are classes being held twice a month for every single student who attends this course. So if this sounds like it would help you, then head over to the British English podcast IELTS and then you can try out the free sample, learn a ton of information from that free sample, and then decide if you want to join in on the fun. That's all from us for today. See you next time.

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Transcript of SAMPLE Premium Podcast Player

Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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