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Jul 31, 2020

In this interview you are gonna learn about the story of an American, who moved to Italy, about his YouTube channels, his book in which he explains how he fell in love with an Italian football club. You get language learning tips and many more. Buckle up and have fun!   

The Spoken English Code - subscribe for weekly videos!

Learn English with Roger Federer:

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Matt's facebook profile: 


Hello guys I'm Daniel, a language learner. The main focus still lies on English. That's why I try to interview different people, in English, mostly about language stuff. And right now, you're about to listen to Matt, and American guy, an English coach who moved from the USA to Italy.

In the interview, he will talk about how it was when he moved to Italy. What he struggled the most when it comes to learning the language. And he would also talk about his YouTube channel, the spoken English code in which he analyzes different celebrities, such as Roger Federer and Michael Jordan. Basically he analyzes their speech.

He also wrote a book about the football scene in Turin or Torino. And I could learn a bunch of things. I'm sure you will too. So have fun and buckle up. You are listening to my fluent podcast.

I was just blown away by your YouTube channel, the spoken English code, because I can relate to the way you are making those videos and your attitude in general when it comes to learning languages.

But we will dive into that a bit later. Maybe you could tell us a bit about you, Matt. So who is Matt the communication coach and how you ended up in Italy.


so first thanks for inviting me here. It's nice to speak to you and to your audience here. yeah, I'm from California, so that's where I grew up. Where I went to school, where I went to college to university and all and I went into university to be a teacher for children though. Okay, for elementary school children.
And, yeah, after I went through my school, I love traveling. Like most people learning languages, I just love traveling. And I started traveling in that time with very little money and I changed my idea, my career idea.  teach English as a second language in that time. And that was about 20 years ago, a long time ago. Yeah. And why Italy? I was fascinated with Italy. I just, I love the food. I love the culture, the passion that people have, the weather, I like history a lot as well. And these things attracted me to Italy. And when I first came here, I had no plan to stay for my life or for a long period. That just happened as I was here.
Nice. Yeah. So my guess is that you became fluent in Italian  because you are also making videos even in Italian. Is that right?
Yeah, I can always improve for sure. As anyone learning a language knows we get better every day. Right? There's so much to do. So I'm always a little afraid to say fluent but yes, I can communicate with it. And it's what I use in my normal life outside of my teaching and training and everything. My wife is Italian.
I met her when I was here. So together we speak in a mix of Italian and in English but mostly in Italian because that's just our habit. It's a little faster maybe. And I learned my Italian in the street though. So speaking about learning languages, I did not take an Italian course. I was a young guy alone without any friends or anything when I first arrived.
And that was really good for learning language because I was very motivated and motivation is everything in language,
You were forced to just speak and there was no other way around, I guess.
Exactly. And I'm happy to be quiet by myself but after some weeks or a long time you want to communicate. And I moved to a region of Italy Piedmont, or Piamonte in Italian where there are not very many, English foreigners like from the US or the UK or Australia or what? And so that also pushed the language learning a lot.
And in which areas you struggled the most when you learned Italian.
You know what I struggled with the most, this may sound funny, but in the first year, I think was learning English grammar. Okay. Like many native English speakers. I had never studied my own grammar in school. I had no idea what the present perfect was or past simple or a subject verb, word, order, whatever.
I had no idea what those ideas meant. So when I tried to learn Italian in the beginning, And from a book, not from the street, but from a book I had really a lot to learn because I could not connect it to my English language  yeah, I think I learned more about English in the first year than Italian probably.
That is kind of funny too. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah.
It's one of the many reasons English speakers are very often bad at learning languages. There are many reasons why one from being lazy and not motivated, there are many reasons why, but another is that we don't study our own grammar. Really. So it's a little hard to, to learn, that you conjugate a verb when you have no idea what conjugation is.
Yeah, of course. And then you gave English lessons to others. So you became a teacher.
Yes, I'm in the very beginning is the same idea. I was, I, maybe was a nice guy. I don't know. I hope so, but I was not the best teacher in that first year for sure. Because, I had to learn how to explain. I had to learn myself a lot of those concepts. so, but I think going through this learning process of trying to communicate and being very frustrated at a dinner and understanding 10% of the language around you. That made me a much better English trainer or teacher, because I was myself in the situation that a lot of the people I work with are in, and you learn a lot of strategies of how to find your way.
And communication is always the most important thing, not the grammar.
And you learn in that real life situation
I totally agree with you. if I'm not mistaken, you already gave a lesson today . So was it an online lesson you gave?
Yeah. From  my job side. So, I lived in Italy for three years. Then I moved to Germany for six years. Okay. And there, I was always teaching. I changed to become a business English trainer, so it was more focused on business English. Okay. And since that time, I have returned to Italy but I still train a lot with German companies. Okay. It's a multinational companies and that's really cool because I'm at home, but I'm training people in Germany or in China. And just before now I had the group of Germans and Chinese people working together and I'm trying to help them communicate together. So it was an English training but really we were focused on other things not so much to do with grammar much more to do with other things about communication that it clarifying when you don't understand and so on.
So is it always business English? So for example, I couldn't, message you and ask for an online lesson with you is that right?
No I also do some one-to-one or private groups. I do that too. I'm just more focused on the business English in the past. but of course I still have some one-to-one students, some private students, little groups, But I tend to focus more on that because that's where my experience is basically.
Yeah. Because my experience is there. It's where I tend to train more in that area.
Great. So let's head to the spoken English code, which is one of your YouTube channels. Maybe you can explain by yourself what it is exactly.
Yeah. it's a fun hobby, but I love it. So hopefully it's helpful. What I try to do there is take a piece of language from a interview, from a conversation, especially from a famous person, a celebrity. Maybe from a YouTube video and I take it a piece of it, maybe one minute piece and I go through and I try to explain all of the different things I hear.
Okay. From a trainer point of view and I'm trying to help people improve their English listening on that channel, basically because of this business experience a lot of the time I sat in meetings to observe international communication and almost always when there was an American or British person in the room. They destroy the communication because they did not adapt very well. Okay. so I'm very focused on that. They were using too many phrasal verbs or using too many special idioms or reducing their connected speech like "gonna" ant not "going to" and so on those type of things. And on that YouTube channel, I do my best to show that. Because to understand a native, not only native to understand any English speaker, if they're specially very high level, it's very dirty that are spoken language. It's very different than what is written. Then it's full of confusing things. And I'm trying to show that.
Right now I have the image or the audio in my mind, of the video you made about Keanu Reeves. Which was really great, just the way he is talking is really great and also of course, how you explain all the details in his speech...

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