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Speaker 1: Welcome to the Effortless English Show with the world’s number one English teacher AJ Hoge, where AJ’s more than 40 million students worldwide finally learn English once and for all without the boring textbooks, classrooms and grammar drills. Here’s AJ with a quick piece to help you learn to speak fluent English effortlessly.
AJ Hoge: Nerd. Nerd. Nerd meaning. The meaning of the word nerd. It means a person who is overly intellectual. Overly intellectual. Smart, but too smart in a way and lacking social skills. Does not have social skills. Not good at socializing with other people.
Not good social skills. Not popular with other people. Overly intellectual. Very, very smart, but in a kind of a book way, school way and also lacking social skills. Another word for nerd is geek. We say geek. A geek. It’s the same meaning, overly intellectual and lacking social skills. Nerd or geek. Now this can also be an adjective.
You can say nerdy. Oh, he’s very nerdy, right? He’s very nerdy. He’s smart, but bad social skills or he’s very geeky. Geeky. Nerdy and geeky. That’s our topic today.
Nerd, nerds and nerd culture.
Darth Vader: The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the force.
AJ Hoge: Insignificant compared to the power of the force. That was Darth Vader and I’m playing that little clip from Star Wars because I have a confession. I must tell you the truth. How can I say it? Okay. I’m going to tell you the truth. I cannot lie. I was a nerd. I was a nerd. When I was young, I was a nerd. I was a geek. Even today I’m still a little bit nerdy and geeky sometimes. Oh no. Yes, it’s the truth. When did my nerdiness start? When did I become a nerd? Well, I think back and I’m thinking that it started with Star Wars. You see when I was a kid, the first Star Wars movie came out. No, not that horrible prequel, whatever it’s called. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. No. No. A New Hope. They call it A New Hope now. At that time it was just called Star Wars.
The real first movie. I loved it. Oh my God did I love that movie. I loved it so much that I saw it 13 times. One, three. I saw it 13 times at the movie theater. I went and saw it the first time and it was … At that time it was so different like nothing else.
Just amazing. Oh my God. I loved it so much. I love Darth Vader too. I thought he was just such a cool and bad guy of course, but an honorable, strong, interesting bad guy. I just like the whole thing. I loved Han Solo. I would beg my parents, “Please give me money. I want to go see Star Wars again.” I saw it 13 times at the movie theater. This is before we had videos at home, before the internet also. I saw it again and again and again.
I loved it so much and then I got a record, this old style record, that had parts from the movie and so I would play them and listen to them. That’s maybe where I started my nerdiness. Around that same time I also starting reading the book Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. In fact, I had a teacher. Now this is probably my favorite in all of school. I say a lot of bad things about school and they’re all true, but I will say that my fourth grade teacher was actually quite great.
I loved her. She was wonderful. She was creative. She was quite different. She read the book The Hobbit. She read that book to us. Each day she would read a chapter to us. Oh, I loved it so much. Fantasy, sci-fi is part of kind of geek culture, nerd culture because there’s a whole nerd culture now.
That’s why I’m talking about it. It’s now becoming very, very big and very, very popular. See in the past when I was young, being a nerd, being a geek, it was a negative thing. It was a bad thing, right? If someone says, “You’re a nerd. You’re a geek,” that was an insult. Now it’s actually becoming a bit popular. I think it’s because of tech. I think it’s because of the tech industry. Because of the tech industry, the computer industry making tons of money, now geeky guys, nerdy guys and women are coming out and getting these jobs where they’re making lots and lots of money. These guys they like these kind of nerdy, geeky things, science fiction, fantasy, all that kind of stuff. Another Star Wars scene. I’m just doing this for fun because I like them.
Darth Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
AJ Hoge: I find your lack of faith disturbing. Kind of the great Darth Vader quote. I find your lack of faith disturbing. That’s the other thing I liked about Darth Vader is that he was a bad tough guy of course, but he had a faith, right? He had the faith in the force. He was honorable. He wasn’t just a weak little bad guy. I think even at that young age I knew that our culture was lacking that. We didn’t have that anymore in our culture that faith. That was a powerful thing for me at that young age. Now in my original course I actually have a whole lesson about something called the SCA, a battle, that I was in. A fight, a big fight that I was in in my original course. My original course is the first course I made. That’s why it’s called the original course.
This is another geeky thing I did, another nerdy thing I did. See I was a nerd for quite a long time. When I became like middle school, high school age, I continued reading lots of fantasy books and science fiction and a little bit comic books. Then I also started playing Dungeons and Dragons which is like a role playing game where you create all these adventures and you pretend you’re a hero and you’re fighting monsters and that kind of stuff which is super nerdy. Very, very geeky and nerdy.
Then when I went to undergraduate school, so when I was about 18 years old at my university, there was this group and I joined them. What they did is they were a history, historical reenactment group. Reenactment. To enact means to do. Re means to do again.
It was basically they would pretend to be knights like the Middle Ages in Europe.
The knights and the armor and the fighting and the costumes, all of that. They would make the costumes. They have events where you would fight with swords and shields and armor. Now the swords were a kind of wood. We didn’t use metal swords. We didn’t want to kill each other, okay? It did hurt. I’ll say that. It still hurt.
They would use these swords made out of a kind of wood and you would wear real armor. You would make it yourself and wear the armor. Then they would have these big fights where you would have hundreds of people on both sides and bam, they would come together and everybody’s hitting each other in the head. If you got hit hard in the head or body, then you had to die.
You had to lay down and die. It was like a real martial art, a real competition. I did that for many years in my 20s. Still nerdy. Still geeky. Quite honestly, my social skills when I was young were not so great. I was not like I am now. Truthfully, I was not. I was not a strong speaker. I was not super confident socially in social groups especially new ones. Kind of shy. I was not super confident with girls. Not at all. I did lack social skills. My social skills were not great. My speaking and communication skills were very, very weak. My confidence was quite low. There was that and then I also was very, very intellectual. I was very smart. I like reading lots of books especially books about philosophy and things like that.
Then I was also interested in this kind of nerd or geek culture. What is nerd culture, geek culture? We’re seeing it now. It is taking over the world, right? It’s spreading around the world. Geek culture is now cool which for me at my age now it seems like, “Wow. I can’t believe it. It’s actually cool now. It wasn’t cool when I was young, but now it’s cool. Geek culture, nerd culture is cool.” Nerd culture has kind of different little what we call subcultures, smaller cultures. There’s like little parts within. All together we call it nerd or geek culture, but then there’s little small parts within it. One part of nerd or geek culture is science fiction, sci-fi. Science fiction.
Some people they’re just into sci-fi. They love sci-fi.
I like sci-fi a lot. Star Wars the movies, Star Trek the movies and the TV shows, Doctor Who which is a British one. There’s a lot of them now. What was it called?
Stranger Things is kind of a new one. It’s kind of sci-fi on Netflix. There’s lots and lots and lots of them. There’s some really good ones. I like it. I like science fiction. I find it quite interesting. That’s one are of geek culture or nerd culture. Either one.
Another area of nerd or geek culture that is huge now, it’s super, super big, it’s comic books. Comic books, but specifically now it’s the comic book movies. I used to read comic books as a kid, but they couldn’t do the movies. They did not have the technology. I think that was the main problem.
They couldn’t make a movie and have a guy flying around or swinging like SpiderMan.
They couldn’t do it. The special effects were not good enough so it looked terrible. Now of course with CGI, computer generated interface. Is that what is it? I don’t know. It’s CGI basically means computer graphics, computer special effects. I can’t remember what the exact CGI means, but it’s basically computer graphics.
Because they’re quite good now, now we’re getting all of these comic book movies, right? Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, all these are from comic books, Superman, Batman, all the Batman movies. Those are huge movies. Huge. Billion dollar movies some of those.
Again it’s part of nerd or geek culture. When I was young, that stuff was not cool.
Now it’s huge. Huge. That’s another subculture, comic books and comic book movies. Another subculture within geek culture is fantasy. Fantasy. Again we have books, movies. Just like with sci-fi. Science fiction. There are books. Lots and lots of books. Science fiction books. Science fiction movies. Science fiction TV shows. Then fantasy. Fantasy is like magic, right? Lord of the Rings is fantasy. Harry potter.
Those are the two big ones, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, the two biggest ones, both came from books and then they made the movies and of course, both the books and the movies super, super, super huge and very popular. Finally, another part of geek culture, video games.
Video games are very, very big and powerful and again kind of big business now.
Video games. Again I think it’s because the technology now is so much better.
Computer technology for video games is incredible. I admit. I’m 49 years old and I got a PlayStation last year. I did. Because you know what? I got tired of just watching TV shows. It’s very passive. At night I wanted to still do something just for fun, relax. I work a lot so at night I just want to relax. I don’t want to watch the news. It’s so negative and so many lies. I want to do something that would make my mind a little bit active, but would still be fun and relaxing. I got a PlayStation. I don’t do it every night. I’m not good. I’m not super crazy about video games, but I enjoy them.
I do like playing them. I especially like the shooting games where you’re shooting bad guys. Video games, another part of geek or nerd culture which are again big, big business. I think all this is kind of because I think nerd culture, geek culture it’s creative. That’s one thing I like about it. It’s very creative, right? Just these kind of very interesting, amazing ideas in science fiction and fantasy and comic books and video games. Very, very, very creative. It’s not just the same old like on TV. They have police shows. For me the police shows become really boring because it’s usually the same basic thing every time. Good science fiction or good fantasy can be very, very, very different. You had Avatar.
That’s another one. That’s another one. It’s kind of science fiction I guess, but a little bit like fantasy too. It’s kind of both in a way. Incredible worlds and peoples and cultures. It can be very, very, very interesting. It kind of gets you thinking some really good science fiction especially can make you think about the future and the kind of future we’re moving to. Are we moving towards a positive future or a worst future? Science fiction helps us to imagine what will the world be like in 50 years or 100 years or 1,000 years from now? The good part, the thing I like about geek culture and nerd culture, the reason I’m happy I was a nerd or a geek is that nerd culture and geek culture celebrates intelligence and creativity and that’s great.
That’s fantastic. I like it. I like it. It’s good for us to celebrate intelligence and thinking and imagination. Absolutely. Now the bad part of geek culture I have to say is the lack of social skills, the lack, the poor, the bad communication skills.
Intelligence is good, absolutely it’s good, but we need social intelligence too for you to succeed in life. Success, whatever that means for you, success in your job or career, making lots of money, success with your social life, with love, with your family, attracting a great husband or wife and having a wonderful relationship and a great family, having great friends and a fun and interesting social life that’s positive, all of these require excellent communication skills, social skills, communication.
You need that too. Intelligence without communication skills limits you. Limits you.
It’s a big problem. If you’re too geeky, if you’re too nerdy, then you will get stuck.
You can’t go far. Why? Because we need other people to succeed. We need other people. You can’t do it all alone. It’s impossible. If you only rely on yourself, if you try to do everything yourself with your own intelligence, only your own intelligence, then you are limited, very limited. Even the smartest people are limited. Einstein was great with physics, but in many, many other areas of science and life, he was not a genius. That’s true for everyone. What communication skills, social skills give us is influence, right?
It’s the ability to get action from other people towards your goals helping you, helping your team. When you can do that, when you can get other people joining you, that is power. That is success. Everything will happen in your life faster and better. This is why I’m not a nerd anymore, not a geek. I don’t call myself a nerd anymore or a geek because actually I worked very hard for many, many years to teach myself. No one taught me really. I just read books and practiced and tried to learn social skills, communication skills, leadership skills. That’s why English is important especially effortless English. In Effort English, I don’t only teach you vocabulary and listening and speaking. That’s part of it. Yes, you need the words and phrases.
Yes, you do. Yes, you need the spoken grammar. Of course, I teach you all of that, but you need more. You need communication skills especially that confidence. The confidence, the emotional part of communication is equally important, perhaps even more important for your success in life. If you’re a nerd, if you’re a geek, be happy. Be proud. It’s okay, but, realize you have a weakness which is social skills and you need to develop your social communication skills. Your communication skills will balance your intelligence and give you huge success in life. You need both.
Time to go to Twitter. Twitter time. Twitter time. Everybody say it’s Twitter time.
What time is it, AJ? Twitter time. What’s your Twitter? My Twitter is AJ Hoge.
That’s my name. A-J-H-O-G-E. AJ Hoge. That’s my Twitter. Ask me a question. Leave a comment. If you want to be really cool, you can join GAB, GAB.ai. I’m also on GAB @AJHoge. Same. Twitter here we go. Oh, this is a common question. An easy one to answer. Fika Sharma asks, “Hello, AJ. I have a problem. When do we use will and when do we use going to for the future? I am confused about them. Please answer as soon as possible.” Will and going to. I will go to the store. I am going to go to the store. I’m going to give you a really easy answer. They’re the same. It doesn’t matter. Use one. Use the other. Does not matter. It does not really change the meaning. Now technically there’s a slight difference of feeling between them. I will go. I’m going to go.
I mean I can’t even hardly even think of a difference where if you used one or the other, it would completely change the meaning. No. This is a question that you just should not worry about. It really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I am going to study tomorrow. I will study tomorrow. It’s basically the same idea, the same meaning. Just don’t worry about it, okay? As you listen to native speakers a lot, you might start to get the understanding of a slightly, I mean very, very, very tiny difference between the two. Don’t worry about it. Don’t think about it. See? This is the problem with grammar rules. If I give you a very difficult, complicated rule for this and it would be difficult because they are so, so, so, so close.
They are basically the same. 99% the same. If you try to think of some rule, when do I use will, when do I use going to, what will happen? What’s going to happen?
See? Going to has a little bit more of a definitely feeling to it in that situation. Just now that I said. What will happen? What’s going to happen? Well, every time you say a sentence about the future, every single sentence, you will have to then stop and in your brain think of the rule. Even if you are a genius and your brain is super fast, you will still need a little bit of time to think of the rule. What happens to your speaking? Well, your speaking becomes terrible. “Well, I’m going to … I will go to the store tomorrow. I’m going to … I’m going to study. Yeah. I will probably enjoy it.”
See? I mean you’re going to stop. You’re going to stop. You’re constantly going to be stopping and thinking, “Will or going to? Will or going to? Will or going to?
Which one?” Every single time you talk about the future, it will destroy your fluency. Your fluency will be completely destroyed if you’re thinking about that rule all the time. That’s just one rule. There are hundreds and hundreds in grammar books. Imagine trying to think of all of those rules with every sentence every time you speak English. It destroys your fluency. That’s why people are constantly stopping and uh, um, ah, I, uh and their English sounds terrible because they’re trying to think too much. You can’t become fluent by thinking. It must become automatic.
Intuitive is the word. Intuitive. You have to learn it by lots of repetition and lots of listening with no grammar rules at all. Eventually it just becomes natural. It’s like riding a bicycle. If you tried to ride a bicycle by reading a book, you’ll never do it.
First put your left foot here and then your right foot. Then move your shoulder to the left and move to the right. No way. If you have to think about every little stop of riding the bike to balance, you’ll never do it, right? Of course, that’s not how children learn. What do they do? They get on a bike and they try to ride and they fall down. Whoops. Mistake. Then they get up and then try and then they fall down again. Mistake. Mistake. Trying. Doing a mistake.
Doing mistake. Doing mistake. Learn. It’s an automatic process without much thinking is happening, right? It’s all unconscious thinking. It’s all automatic, intuitive and eventually you’ll learn to ride the bicycle and you don’t think about it at all. You just do it. Well, it’s the same with speaking English. The more you try to memorize grammar rules, the worst your speaking will become. The more difficult English will become. That’s why I say lots and lots of listening to easy English, lots and lots of repetition, deep learning, follow everything I tell you in my book. I give you the whole system. No grammar rules. My book’s at EffortlessEnglish.com.
EffortlessEnglish.com for my book. Okay then, so that was nerds, nerds and nerd culture or geek culture.
Hope you enjoyed that. Just remember, communication skills are so, so powerful in all areas of your life, love, friendship, work. Communication gives you incredible power to improve faster, to get higher and higher levels of success. Learn powerful communication skills with my power English course at EffortlessEnglishClub.com.
That’s EffortlessEnglishClub.com. Lots of love to you. I will see you next time. Bye for now.
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