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DJ Host

Shifani talks about being a bilingual DJ and how this affects her audience.
Todd: Now you were saying you worked in radio at a young age but then you went back to it much later in life. Can you talk about that?

Shifani: I did. When I was twenty one years old I got headhunted to do a show. This show was basically a freelance show that had to be done in three different languages at the same time so the range of audience was quite broad. The show was basically anything I wanted, anything I wanted to talk about. So quite often I talked about music, current events, anything political, anything non political, anything that came to my mind I would talk about.

Todd: So what were the three languages of the show?

Shifani: Hindi, Punjabi and obviously English.

Todd: OK and what was the city, where was this at?

Shifani: This was in Auckland.

Todd: OK. So this was one of these blended radio shows where you slip from one language to another?

Shifani: It was. The show was catering for everybody basically so the criteria was speak in a way that makes people understand even if they don't speak the language. So the trick was to say one third in English, the rest in Hindi and Punjabi where I could and somehow it just made sense.

Todd: How did you go about doing that? Did you plan it or does it just kind of roll off your tongue?

Shifani: For me I think it's quite natural because my parents speak in Hindi and Punjabi and so for me English is quite natural and so are the other two languages, blending them together was never a problem.

Todd: Now when you hear languages being switched back and forth like that, are you conscious of it or sometimes you are not even conscious that you're speaking one language or the other?

Shifani: I don't think I'm conscious of it at all. It just happens, it's a slip of tongue. All three languages I'm quite fluent in so for me to switch from one to the other is just a natural course of a day.

Todd: So since you have experience in the music industry, what do you think makes a good DJ?

Shifani: A good DJ is one that's neutral when they need to be and one who can switch sides very quickly and make things controversial from being neutral. What I mean by that is if you have an interesting topic and a caller calls you up and is very positive about it, a good DJ would be able to flip it over very quickly and say something that would make it controversial.

Todd: Now do you think there's a certain balance, like how much you should talk and how much music should be played?

Shifani: There is absolutely a balance. Quite often people listen to radio for music so you need to make sure that your music ratio is more than how much you talk but the amount you talk has to be interesting but quite limited.

Todd: All right, thanks a lot.

Shifani: You're welcome.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



The criteria was spoken in a way that makes people understand even if they don't speak the language.

Criteria is what we use to form an opinion or make a decision about something.  Notice the following:

  1. The criteria was based on gossip.
  2. By what criteria did you make that decision?

roll off the tongue


Does it just kind of roll off your tongue?

When something rolls off our tongue, that means we say it without much thought or effort.  Notice the following:

  1. The words just rolled off his tongue.
  2. After two years in the UK, the English just rolled off her tongue.

switched back and forth


You hear languages being switched back and forth.

To switch back and forth means to quickly and repeatedly change from one thing to another.  Notice the following:

  1. They switched back and forth from French to English.
  2. The lead switched back and forth several times during the match.

a slip of tongue


It just happens, it's a slip of tongue.

When we say something we should not have, it's called a slip of the tongue.  Notice the following:

  1. A slip of the tongue almost cost him his job.
  2. Sorry, it was a slip of the tongue.

flip over


A good DJ would be able to flip it over very quickly and make it controversial.

When we flip something over, that means we change the meaning.  Notice the following:

  1. The lawyer flipped over everything I said.
  2. He could quickly flip anything over.

Vocabulary Quiz

criteria • roll off • switch
slip of the tongue • flip over
  1. Did that comment just your tongue?
  2. I don't think she would intentionally what I said.
  3. The for judging was given before the contest started.
  4. I had to back and forth medications to see which one works.
  5. I must admit that what I said was just a .
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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