Jenny Yang Show: Slang and Cultural Expressions

Appr. time Expression Explanation
0:50 strident harsh, loud, unpleasant
1:08 advocacy promoting, working to help
1:15 National Association of Evangelicals an coalition of 40 American church denominations (
1:30 on the road traveling
1:46 World Relief
1:57 fleeing persecution running away from mistreatment or the threat of death
2:09 without authorization having no official permission
2:42 misperceptions the wrong understanding
2:50 common myths misunderstandings or things that people think are true but simply aren’t.  Because they’re frequently spoken about, people believe them more strongly the longer they hear them.  This is why Jenny’s job is so difficult: she’s trying to teach people what they’ve previously learned is not accurate.
2:56 compelling strongly persuasive or influential
3:00 Myth #1. My ancestors came the legal way. Before 1924, there was no national system of immigration in the U.S.  Entering the country was easy.
3:04 comparing apples and oranges It’s not appropriate to compare two things which are not similar.  You might think that apples and oranges are both kinds of fruit, so why not compare them?  However, they have so many different characteristics that it is better to talk about them in separate conversations.  In this case, it would be more appropriate to compare McIntosh apples with Gala apples or navel oranges with tangelos.
3:35 viable workable, possible, feasible
4:03 Myth #2. They take away jobs, take services without paying back. Immigrants often do jobs that American natives don’t want to do or can’t do.  They also pay billions of dollars in taxes.
4:15 Social Security tax money that is withdrawn from workers’ pay and saved in a U.S. government account to pay for the workers’ retirement
4:33 insolvent out of money, broke, bankrupt
4:49 Myth #3. They don’t share our values, don’t learn English. Immigrants believe in hard work and supporting their families.  Millions of them are studying English to improve their skills.
4:57 E.S.L. (English as a second language) a special method of learning English when it is not your mother tongue
5:32 G-92 a movement to view immigrants as described in the Bible, with love and charity (
5:42 in conjunction with Cedarville University together with
5:48 “ger” (Hebrew) Hebrew word for “alien” or “stranger”
5:56 Old Testament the first half of the Christian Bible, taken from the Hebrew (or Jewish) Bible
6:06 people of faith religious people
6:37 Samford University, Concordia University, 
6:46 through the lens of with the perspective of, seen in this way
6:48 gear up preparing to increase in speed or power
7:06 Southern Baptists, Sojourners, 
7:14 coalition association, group joining together for common purpose
7:19 echo chamber a place for focusing and amplifying a message
7:27 Evangelical Immigration Table Christian coalition advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values (
7:44 “I Was a Stranger” Challenge a 40-day challenge to read and pray about immigration issues (
7:49 Scripture words of the Bible, literally means “writings”
8:12 members of Congress U.S. Senators and Representatives
8:30 willy-nilly careless, spontaneous, without planning
8:51 denominations types of church organizations within Christianity, with varying beliefs and practices (for example, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist)
9:11 theologians people who study and write about religious topics
9:21 vulnerable: widow, orphan, alien people who are at risk: women who have lost their husbands, children who have lost their parents, foreigners (people who have “lost” their country)
9:34 Romans 13: “Submit to the governing authorities.” The book of Romans is from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Chapter 13 talks about separating religious rules from government rules.
9:52 rule of law obeying what the government says
9:59 compassionate response answering with love and generosity
10:09 augment increase, boost, expand
10:27 not a Biblical scholar not a person with deep knowledge of the Bible
10:33 laws vs. love Parts of the Bible talk about do’s and don’ts and punishments, and parts of it talk about loving other humans generously.  Some Christians see these as conflicting messages.
10:44 enslave to keep people against their will, to own them like property
10:48 deny suffrage to disallow people the right to vote
11:06 Sanctuary Movement a U.S. religious and political movement in the 1980s to provide safety for Central American refugees who were fleeing civil wars and death squads
11:51 the common good the benefit of everyone
12:02 overhauled thoroughly taken apart, repaired, and changed
12:54 comprehensive reform thorough and complete change
13:27 detrimental harmful, unhealthy, damaging
13:33 own self-interest personal benefit (without thinking of others)
13:38 discount my voice minimize or disregard what I say and think
14:14 Korean War 1950-1953 war between North Korea (supported by Chinese soldiers) and South Korea (supported by the U.S. and allies). Jenny mistakenly mentioned the Japanese, who had invaded Korea in 1910, but Japan’s occupation of Korea came to an end in 1945.
14:23 media personnel people who work in news organizations (print, radio, TV, etc.)
14:46 no hope whatsoever zero chance for success
15:18 little to no chance very small possibility of success
15:24 aspirations hopes, dreams, visions, goals
15:28 make it succeed
16:10 the thing is what is important to know is
16:21 I.N.S. back then in those days it was called the Immigration and Naturalization Service
17:06 context the surrounding circumstances
17:17 realize the American Dream  have it be real that one becomes successful in the U.S.
17:36 over the goal line finally reach the target (from American football: to score a touchdown)
17:42 the House (of Representatives) the half of the American Congress with 435 members
17:46 marked up reviewed and considered
17:51 bring to the floor allow it to be discussed in front of the entire membership of the Congress with a plan to vote on acceptance or rejection
18:02 constituents members of the voting district
18:17 how Jenny recommends Christians become involved in improving U.S. immigration law
18:32 opportune time a time with a good chance for achievement, a favorable time



Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.