December 27, 2017
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!
December 20, 2017
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!
December 13, 2017
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. 
December 6, 2017
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.”
November 29, 2017
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.
November 22, 2017
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.
November 15, 2017
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.
November 8, 2017
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.  
November 1, 2017
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.
October 25, 2017
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?  
October 18, 2017
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.
October 11, 2017
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?
October 4, 2017
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.
September 27, 2017
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! 
September 20, 2017
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.  
September 13, 2017
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].
September 6, 2017
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'??
August 30, 2017
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.
August 23, 2017
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.
August 16, 2017
I answer your pressing questions on English pronunciation, how to understand people from all over the world, the Flap T, and more, with the help of my amazing sidekick (and husband!) David.
August 9, 2017
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.
August 2, 2017
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.
July 26, 2017
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.
July 17, 2017
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!  :)  
July 15, 2017
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?"
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