Comedian Ivan Aristeguieta calls the English language out in new SBS podcast
Stand-up comedian Ivan Aristeguieta hosts the new SBS Audio podcast Bad English, a letter of complaint on behalf of all English learners.
The seven-episode weekly podcast, available from Wednesday, 27 September, hosts a range of guests who have faced the language they say makes the rules and then breaks them all.
Guided by the philosophy that there is no such thing as ‘proper’ English, Aristeguieta says English is only partially teachable and the rest you must learn through practice.
“Twenty per cent of English is the teachable part, the part that makes sense. The other eighty per cent is the part that doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
“Bad English is a safe space to talk trash about the English language without the fear of losing your visa. English is not a language, it’s an interpretive dance of what a language should be. If you say something in English and it doesn’t make any sense to you, you are probably saying it in the right way.
“It’s been a privilege to talk to people who have incredible life stories where they’ve been resilient and resourceful and have made learning English part of their success story.”
Throughout the series, Aristeguieta also sits down with English teacher and expert Ai-Lin Bhugan to look deeper into the laws of language and try to understand what happened with English.
“I used to be worried about people not being able to understand me, so I would practice by putting a pencil in my mouth and talking which forces you to move your other muscles and enunciate,’ he said.
“You should speak like yourself and enjoy yourself because language is the ingredient and accents are the way you cook it up.”
Guests include criminal lawyer and 2017 NSW Australian of the Year, Deng Adut who talks about learning English by watching The Wiggles with his nephew and bringing a dictionary to his job at a petrol station; refugee and chef Niro Vithyasekar picked up English in an immigration detention centre after arriving by boat, and stand-up comedian He Huang talks about going viral for her stand-up routine audition on Australia’s Got Talent using her experiences as an international student.
Listen to Bad English here on SBS Audio from Wednesday, 27 September.