Christine Lee: Slang and Cultural Expressions

Approx. time Expression Explanation
0:40 national spotlight in a position where everyone in the country can see
0:44 poignant touching, moving in a sadly meaningful way
0:55 Fresh Off the Boat
1:45 social disconnects people or behaviors that are not connected to others in society
2:45 top tier highest level, elite, prestigious
3:08 to that end with this in mind, intentionally
3:15 immunize protect against
3:18 sanctuary safe place, haven
4:23 simmered cooked on low heat
4:37 Korean cuisine Korean cooking
4:53 Miracle Whip American brand of salad dressing similar to mayonnaise
4:56 slapped it together assembled quickly without much attention
5:20 seminal important, influential, significant
5:27 sitcom weekly humorous tv program (short for “situation comedy”)
5:41 All-American Girl
5:46 Margaret Cho
6:15 watered down made weaker or less effective
6:19 let alone not to mention (this even more amazing detail)
7:36 rewound went back to the beginning of the story
7:58 microcosm a miniature model of the larger world
8:09 under his radar without his noticing
8:48 whether you can “pass” whether you can be viewed as white (mainstream race)
8:53 socio-cultural climate the atmosphere combining both social and cultural elements
9:04 Wild Wild West a primitive, lawless, undomesticated place (like the U.S. American frontier of the 1800s)
9:42 lived experience knowledge about the world that is gained through direct involvement in everyday events
10:32 springboard event or experience allowing a person to reach new heights
11:20 Richard Pryor
11:25 David Chappelle
11:27 Chris Rock
11:35 drive points home make points very clear
11:37 can stomach can tolerate, can accept
12:28 universality in the particular ability to express global truths by being very specific
12:55 knockoff copy, duplicate, not original
13:28 Whole The title of her book means “complete” but sounds like “missing a piece.”
13:29 homonym A word that sounds like another but mean different thing (like whole and hole).
13:43 golem from Jewish folklore, a human-like creature that is magically created from inanimate material

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.