We launched this “On the Job” series to find out how people use English in their working lives. We talk to them about jargon in their profession, writing on the job and what advice they’d give to learners of English.


Who do you work for?


What is your position?

Singer/Songwriter of semi-improvised folk music.

How important is being able to speak or write good English in your job?

Writing is not so important but speaking/singing is essential. But what I sing isn’t always strictly-speaking ‘good English’, it’s the flexibility of the language that makes it so suitable for my work.

Does your field have its own particular jargon? Could you share some of the more unusual terms with us?

The jargon I use is mostly words that I make up myself, or adapt to suit the rhyme of a song. Poetic license if you will. An example would be ‘squircle’ – a cross between a square and a circle – which I use in a song to highlight different cultural traits between East and West.

Do you ever ask another person to proofread your work?

My songs are always changing depending on the gig. Each time they’re performed they’re being ‘proofheard’ in a way. I get feedback from the audience during and after the show – often in the form of heckling!

What mistakes or phrases in English do you find most annoying? Why?

Those made by native speakers, because they should know better!

Would you like to add anything you think our readers would find interesting?

Get creative with the language, even when just a beginner. I think that it can help your sense of the language, which is an essential tool if you want to be flexible and progress with it in the long-term.

Listen to our singer songwriter here

Want to hear what some of the other interviewees said?  Head over to the On the Job series home page here.