What do you call an object that you don't know the name for? Alan gives several common and informal expressions that every learner of American English should know.
What is reduplication, and why do we repeat ourselves? Alan takes a fun look at linguistic repetition.
American English is full of short ways of saying things. From ASAP and op-ed to NAFTA and CalTech, Americans love using abbreviations in everyday speech. Alan gives examples of abbreviations, initialisms, and acronyms, with a quiz at the end of the video. Can you guess all ten?
Many of our viewers are confused by the various names they hear about newcomers to the United States – immigrant, expatriate, refugee, migrant, and so on. Here we take some time to talk about the technical vocabulary around those global people on the move.
The internet serves many functions: entertainment, education, communication, and more. When it devolves into knee-jerk rudeness, it ceases to serve us and acts instead as an echo chamber of anger and snark. Here we make a plea for all who view our videos to engage civilly. You don't have to agree with us, but we ask you disagree in ways that can stretch us to think in new ways and not to entrench ourselves deeper into antagonistic sniping.
In this editorial, we take a look at the 500-year history of immigration in North America and why it is imperative to protect the 800,000 Dreamers living and working in the United States.
In my seminars, white participants often ask, "Is it possible for people of color to be racist?" The short answer is NO. The longer answer entails looking at definitions and five centuries of racialized history in the U.S.
What's wrong with this statement? "The university has study-abroad programs in Japan, Mexico, France, and Africa." The answer is that Africa is not a country; it's an entire continent! Learn the basics here.
Here are the 54 countries of Africa: http://www.worldometers.info/geography/how-many-countries-in-africa/.
Would you know what I meant if I said “oops!”? What about “uh-oh!”? Sometimes, Americans use words that aren’t really words to communicate basic thoughts. Today’s video teaches you seven non-verbal expressions that you will hear from your neighbors and co-workers on a regular basis.
What is acceptable to talk about in your culture? Did you know there are different rules about conversation topics, depending on where you live and which culture you live in? Here we give tips for U.S. newcomers so they won't irritate their American friends and co-workers.
In their daily interactions, Americans speak very quickly. For example, fast food workers say things like, "Freertago?" If you're not prepared, you may not understand what they're asking you. Alan gives several examples of fast speech in English.
What happens if you make a mistake? Can you fix it? Can you take it back? Sometimes you can...with verbs of un-doing. Here is how.
Note: When we add the optional preposition “up” to the verb, it gives a sense of completeness, a sense of doing something “up” to 100% fullness.
English learners often say things wrong like:
"I am interesting in American football." or: "The meeting was very bored this afternoon."
Find out why they're wrong and how to fix them with this simple grammar explanation.
When people die, what should you do? One of the first things to do is to read for basic information about the deceased in an obituary. Here we give details about the information that is contained in an American obituary and what they mean.
Knowing your neighbors is a good idea in the United States. There are practical, social reasons for this. There are also language reasons.
The U.S. state of Michigan stands out. Here are the reasons why.
English has a huge vocabulary for two reasons: 1) The Norman Invasion of 1066, 2) Borrowing. Of the hundreds and hundreds of words appropriated from other languages, many come from Arabic. Did you know these words?
This lesson on word stress gives you practice in reducing the first syllable of many common English words. The trick is to employ /ə/ (schwa) as a weak, shortened half-syllable that contrasts with fully stressed syllables.
Americans love their sports. Beyond watching them and playing them, they incorporate numerous sports expressions into everyday conversation, both at home and at work. Do you know these slang expressions that come from American football?
Expressions from the Video
armchair quarterback – someone who comfortably makes judgments from the side, without having any responsibility
end-run around – avoiding conflict or responsibility by going around the normal channels in the organization blitz – an all-out attack, a campaign that is sudden and forceful drop the ball – not fulfilling one's responsibility on a task, harming the project (and annoying other shareholders) Hail Mary – a frantic, last-minute effort to salvage a project (with low-percentage chance of succeeding)
The above expressions are explained in terms of workplace conversations. To find out how they function in American football, ask one of your coworkers to explain.