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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

Date: Oct 26 2013

Topic: Conversational English

Author: englishteacher24/7

Lesson

A. Forum goals:

  • Provide information on other cultures from the readers.
  • Identify the relationships between culture and language.
  • Provide information on English-speaking cultures to develop an understanding of the English language used in a particular country.

B. Introduction:

  • Cultural influence - Culture has a direct influence on the language(s) used in society. Learning the culture of a society can identify some general characteristics of its people.
  • Cultural factors - Factors such as religion, economics, traditions, customs, natural resources, and politics influences culture.
  • Benefits of learning other cultures - Information about other cultures can help us to understand why people of a society do the things they do, even within the same country. Therefore, let us use this opportunity to learn from each other and seek to improve ourselves.

Comments

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englishteacher24/7

United States

Thanks Somy for your feedback. I invite you to the latest dialogue lesson on understanding everyday American English.


http://englishbaby.com/lessons/5517/member_submitted/do_you_understand_this_dialogue

02:51 PM May 10 2016 |

1 person likes this

EVAfrommexico

Mexico

Great Forum!!

08:38 PM May 04 2016 |

easypeasy

easypeasy

Germany

Thank you both Mr. Alston and WobblyJoe for the answer! 

08:44 AM May 04 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

WobblyJoe, your additional explanation is right on point. The input you provide shows the value of another native speaker’s contribution to help the readers understand the words we use in daily American life.


Far be it that you’re butting in. Thanks!

05:25 PM Apr 30 2016 |

WobblyJoe

WobblyJoe

United States

Yadda, yadda, yadda is very common nationwide thanks to its use in a popular TV show called “Seinfeld”.  It would most commonly be used in a conversation with friends I think. In a less casual situation, such a casual shortcut might be seen as disrepectful, but among friends, it’s not uncommon.


Think of it as “Words that I’m not saying”.


It can mean for you to imagine any typical scenario that gets you past that part of the speakers story.


For a fictional example:


“I went to the casino for dinner. I met a man and we started talking about poker. Yada, yada, yada, can I borrow some money to get home?”  


To use the phrase when speaking, begin to tell your story and when you get to the part where some expected commonality among people begins, say: “yadda, yadda, yadda” (saying it as if it were almost one word, then a regular word pause so the listener can register that you’ve jumped over the middle of your story), then tell the end of your story.


It shortens a long story by skipping the middle.


I hope no one minds me butting in.

01:29 PM Apr 29 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

Easypeasy, I’m delighted you enjoyed reading the last part of my “Growing up in the U.S.” experiences inspired by you.


There are a host of expressions many of which have gone “mainstream” in everyday American English. We often take them for granted and is seamlessly woven into conversation.


In regards to your question about the meaning of the expression “Yada, yada, yada” I used in the last part of my autobiography is as follows:


I met a young lady after my spiritual conversion that was seeking a relationship and immediately started asking me many personal questions right out of the gate. For example, where did I live, where did I work, how long I’ve worked there and then I wrote in the story, “Yada, yada, yada.”


In other words, it was used in reference to the many questions she was asking me. This phrase has the same meaning as saying, “Blah, blah, blah” which is using sarcasm to express boring or empty talk.


Sometimes it can be used to describe redundancy in a conversation instead of repeating something word-for-word that was spoken.


The phrase “Yada, yada, yada” is not a regional phrase but is commonly used in the U.S. by anyone that desires to express themselves in this fashion. They are basically expressing their displeasure with the speaker’s conversation.


I hope this explanation answers your question and helps the reader’s understanding.


For my next writing I’d like to return to the “Do you understand this dialogue?” forum.


Please stay tuned and I encourage you to build a vocabulary of the phrases used in the Englishbaby lessons. 

08:30 PM Apr 28 2016 |

easypeasy

easypeasy

Germany

Again I really enjoyed reading another part of your autobiography, thank you for sharing your experiences with us Mr. Alston! The part in which you described how the Spirit let you feel that the lady, who entered the church, was your future wife is simply amazing, what a blessing! 


Thank you also for explaining some phrases like “it goes with the territory” to us. While I was reading your post I wondered what excatly it means, so it was nice to read the answer to it afterwards. 


I have a little question to an expression you used in one part of your post: “yada, yada, yada”. Is it commonly known among the English native speakers or is it just used in some parts of America? 

englishteacher24/7

United States

Anja and Amira, you all have nailed it! Your use of the word “woo” is right on point. Between the both of you all of the tenses was covered, i.e. “woo”, “woos”, “wooed”, “wooing”, “to woo”.


If anyone else would like to submit their use of this word, please do so.


Thanks WobblyJoe for your good suggestion.

12:10 AM Apr 15 2016 |

La Princesse de la vie

Egypt

My turn,


Kids always like to woo their parents for attention.


Jason Statham woos me with every movie starring him.


She keeps on wooing her parents that she’s not a child anymore.


02:38 PM Apr 14 2016 |

buttafly

buttafly

Germany

Good idea! So here I go….



  1. Throughout the world retailers try to woo customers into their stores. 

  2. Before Angela Merkel invited immigrants into the country, Germany had to woo aggressively for qualified workers from abroad to close the gap in the labor market.

  3. Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance woos my senses.

  4. Brunhild’s suitors wooed her until they met death.

  5. Ross: I just want to woo her.

  6. Chandler: Or…you could take her back to the 19th century when that word was last used ( just because I’m such a big fan of Chandler)

It’s good practice, Alston. Thanks, again :)

04:54 AM Apr 14 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

For the sake of the readers I’ll take you up on it. “Wooing” in my case meant doing things to develop a romantic relationship that she would accept my upcoming proposal of marriage.


For example, on one occasion we went to a classy hotel restaurant, on another occasion I offered to accompany her to help wash her car.


“Wooing” can also mean persuading people to get them to do what you want them to do. For example, a politician can woo voters to vote for them.


WobblyJoe is wooing readers to submit their examples of wooing in their culture. Any takers?

07:37 PM Apr 13 2016 |

WobblyJoe

WobblyJoe

United States

And once again, we provide proof that native speakers often misunderstand each other, and feel no embarassment about asking each other for meanings.


Mr. Alston might explain the term “wooing” though. I suspect there are many different customs in the world and it would probably be interesting to hear about them.


09:18 AM Apr 13 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

The dialogue between WobblyJoe and myself is a good opportunity to observe the dialogue between two native speakers and learn something about the language and culture.

03:51 AM Apr 13 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

You are correct, it isn’t dependent on spiritual age but the understanding came later.


Thanks for your comment on the continual praying and wooing. I know you’ve heard the saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”


Your words are taken to heart.

09:37 AM Apr 12 2016 |

1 person likes this

WobblyJoe

WobblyJoe

United States

””we were “Babes in Christ” (novices) and didn’t know about the laying on of hands. I was led by The Spirit to do so”


“laying on of hands” is always at the leading of the Spirit. It woudn’t have been different if you weren’t a babe in Christ, right?


Even after all these years, you wouldn’t “lay hands” without the leadership of the Spirit, would you?


Your understanding of “non-Protestants” being the “native speakers” who might not understand is exactly what I meant.


(more praying and more wooing never stops! Keep mama happy)


I really enjoyed your story.

04:54 AM Apr 12 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

WobblyJoe, never mind about re-explaining yourself concerning the question I asked you to explain. After reading and re-reading your response, now I understand what you were saying.


What you meant was that even some native speakers (non-Protestants) may not understand about the custom of “walking down the aisle” (took the walk). You did a good job of explaining it the first time, it was my not understanding it until coming back and reading it again and the light was turned on.  Good job!

01:32 AM Apr 12 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

WobblyJoe, thanks for giving the readers a “crash course” on “the laying on of hands” of which you are totally correct.


However, in our case, we were “Babes in Christ” (novices) and didn’t know about the laying on of hands. I was led by The Spirit to do so.


Furthermore, it appears from my story that I simply asked for the young lady to marry me and she agreed. That was not the case, it took some more praying and wooing to come to the marriage proposal and she ultimately answered “Yes.”


In regards to the question I asked you about native speaker it was from your statement below:


“You gave me an idea though, as I read I noticed there is at least one phrase that might be hard for many native speakers!”


I think you meant to say, ”...at least one phrase that might be hard for many non-native speakers!” Please confirm this correction because it seems that the phrases would be hard for non-native speakers rather than native speakers.  Thanks!

09:48 PM Apr 11 2016 |

WobblyJoe

WobblyJoe

United States

hahaha, I forgot to add, when I hinted about “the place where the conversation took place”, I meant “the casino in the same hotel we stayed in”.


A casino is a place to legally gamble in the USA.


Las Vegas it the capital of American casino towns.

04:44 PM Apr 11 2016 |

WobblyJoe

WobblyJoe

United States

No Sir, apparently I made unwarranted assumptions. When you said:


“At this point I took the walk down the church aisle, joined the church, and began to meet new people and we grew spiritually together.”


I understood “the walk down the church aisle” to be the one typically taken in many American Protestant churches in response to the Pastor’s “invitation” commonly given after the sermon and before the benediction. In those churches I am familiar with, taking ‘the walk down the church aisle’ in response to the invitation is the first step to joining the congregation as a new member.


I have non-Protestant friends who were unaware of the custom, and so I was aware that not all Americans would understand either “the invitation” or “the walk”. Entirely my fault, faulty assumptions.


If I might add a viewpoint from another American Christian hoping to help with questions about Mr. Alstons’ story of laying on hands…


It is not uncommon to “lay on hands” in certain very unique situations in many churches. I’ve seen it done many times for many reasons in many ways, the consistent part is that it is always done prayerfully. It can be done by one person, a few people, or the whole congregation, depending on the individual situation.


The laying on of hands can covey things such as prayer, blessing, Christian kinship, healing, support etc, and its use is accepted when both parties agree God motivated it, which is obvious to everyone involved by their reactions since it’s being done in a spirit of prayer.


It’s probably not common in all religions to lay hands like that. In a situation like Mr. Alston’s, where both the young man and young woman had been praying about finding a spouse, other Christians would see Mr. Alston laying his hands on her shoulders as God pointing them out as a couple in answer to prayer. If God had not motivated Mr. Alston,  and also motivated the future Mrs. Alston to agree that they were meant to be, she would have reacted to Mr. Alston and that would have been apparent to everyone else.


That is speculation based on my experiences in American Christianity, but I think my guess is probably true in this case in Mr. Alston’s church at that time.


04:37 PM Apr 11 2016 |

englishteacher24/7

United States

Anja, what can I say but I’m much delighted by your comments and support all these years.


Concerning your question about me placing my hands on her shoulder, it was literal. I was so convinced in my spirit that The Lord had answered my prayers that this was the person to be my wife that I actually placed my hands on her shoulders.


As a background note, she was in a very happy state as she was walking down the aisle after hearing the moving sermon.


Ordinarily this would have been an unacceptable gesture to do to a stranger.


Amira, it was a mutually beneficial work relationship with the Japanese staff because I learned more from them than they did from me. Here is an explanation of the conversation with the Japanese engineer who lost money in Las Vegas:


1. Background: On test trips we would drive with 3-4 vehicles in a caravan during the day time between distant states with 2 people per vehicle. At night time we would stay in a hotel, have a meeting and then dinner. Afterwards, it’s your free time to do whatever.


2. On this particular day (at night) the engineer took his free time to go to the casino in the same hotel we stayed in to try to win some money, but he lost money. Here is an explanation of the dialogue:


3.  “What’s up, you’re mighty quiet today?” His reply was, “Hmm Alston-san, lost a lot of money!”


Paraphrase: How are you? you are extremely quiet this morning. Mr. Alston, I lost a lot of money last night. (He and I were partners driving in the car)


So I said, “But on the other times you won a lot of money, so it comes out in the wash!” So his reply, “Yes, but I don’t want to lose money.” My reply, “It goes with the territory, you’ll be alright.”


Paraphrase: But there were other times that you made money, so you’re even. (Note: the phrase “it comes out in the wash” means something happen that is undesirable but then something else happens that is positive and makes things equal or cancels out the negative)


His next reply was, “he doesn’t want to lose money” my reply was “it goes with the territory” which means if you gamble you can win or lose and losing is what you understand before taking the chance to win money. The phrase means that something (it) is connected to something else (territory).


I concluded that with an encouraging statement “You’ll be alright” or in other words you’ll shake it off and be ok (he also won a lot of money on another occasion).


“Took the walk” simply means that I literally walked down the aisle to the first row which is where you sit to join the church.


I hope this explanation helps your understanding, let me know if you have any additional questions. This is how we learn.


Lesya, yes God answered my prayer and time has vindicated it through the 35+ years of marriage with a very short dating period.


My Dad was such a friendly person and much of his trait is in me. 


I followed up the link you posted and it is a very beautiful picture of a Japanese woman. When you finish your embroidery it will be beautiful!!!


I join with you in appreciating the Japanese people and I love their language, I took 6 levels of Japanese and when I meet some Japanese people I speak some words in Japanese and they smile and are surprised.


Thanks for your continued support all these years.


WobblyJoe, thanks for your challenge to the readers, there were phases in there that may spark some interest. In your first paragraph I think you meant “non-native speakers” am I correct? Thanks for your additional comments from a native speaker.



12:54 PM Apr 11 2016 |

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