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Please help me to learn American English.

 
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Hi to you all American English speakers. I've always admired the kinds of words that Americans use in their daily conversations especially the slang phrases. I know that there are people here in England who say that America will be the demise of the English language but nonetheless I like the way you guys speak.
Your language has got rich, cool words like 'Moron'. That one is just so nice to use and I use it instead of bafoon. Anyway all I ask is that you tell me more American slang and words. Here is the phrase that has befudled me for a long time; what does it mean to say 'I'll take a rain check? I know that this is slang so please explain it to me.
Really appreciate and God bless America and I'm not just sucking up ;-)!!
 
Rancher
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You'd have <satire>...</satire> if you had any taste!
"American English" indeed.
Don't get me started
(Hey, I got a real rant going here, Michael would be proud )
 
Sheriff
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to postpone something for a later date
using a service later
credit for a product -- The store had sold all the CD's, so they gave me a rain check.
a promise to make good later on something which has been cancelled or sold out
 
Sheriff
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I hear you ernest. I remember how I was feeling during my first few months in the US.
"Rubber" is something else, ask for "eraser" to go with your pencil
Everything "breaks" here.
"My car broke today",
"oops, the lock is broken"
"My computer broke today" ( means it is not working any more, doesnot mean it has literally into pieces :roll: )
"It is so cool"
The movie was so cool
( By the way, a movie is different than film )
Your car is so cool ( perhaps you need to turn on the heater? No!! )
"I'm game!"
They ask : "Are you coming for lunch with us?"
You say : "I'm game!!"
-means you are going with them, to the lunch, not to the game!!
"Dough" is not pizza dough, it is money!
"cracker" is not just what you eat with soup, it also means a poor white person in the southern US.
"Bill" is a currency note, not what the waiter gives you at the restaurant before you leave. By the way, that is called "check".
"Done"
I'm done eating. ( easier than "I am finished with eating :roll: )
I'm done coding...
....I'm done with this post
I'm
[ February 22, 2002: Message edited by: Ajith Kallambella ]
 
Sheriff
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Originally posted by Ajith Kallambella:
"Dough" is not pizza dough, it is money!


This one is not really used so much anymore, but it is still good to know, particularly if watching any movies from the 60's or 70's. "Cash" is generally used instead. As in, "I need to run to the ATM to get some cash for tonight."

"cracker" is not just what you eat with soup, it also means a poor white person in the southern US.


This is a term you would be best to stay clear of in conversation. It is a derogatory term for a white person. The closest equivalent would be the 60's and 70's term "honkey", although that one did not carry quite the same derogatory context. Again, while it doesn't hurt to know the meaning of such words, you generally would not want to use them in your typical conversation.


"Bill" is a currency note, not what the waiter gives you at the restaurant before you leave. By the way, that is called "check".


As in a "ten dollar bill". A bill is also a piece of paper requesting payment, as in "I just received my cable bill", or "The contractor billed us for work he didn't even do." Not to be mistaken with "The Bill", which is a slang UK English term for "police", as well as a once popular television show over there.
[ February 22, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Along the lines of "cracker" is "trailer trash". It doesn't refer to the garbage in your trailer. It refers to a white, low-income resident of a mobile home. This is always the guy you see on CNN describing the shape of the tornado or how far up the front porch the flood water came before his dogs ran for cover.
I must admit, sometimes I will slip this one into a conversation. Although I have to be careful, living so close to Missouri, like I do. There are more than a few people living around here that would satisfy that definition.
 
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Yes, "moron" is one of the all time greatest English words, I use it twenty times a day, usuallu while driving in traffic here in US.
 
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Cool isn't used by the younger generation anymore either. They use tight.
American slang can be different by generation and part of the country. It spreads faster with MTV than it used too though. You can take one word and grandparents will have one meaning. Parents will have another. Their kids still another. Good luck with learning it though.
 
ernest fakudze
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Thank you very much for all who have responded so far. I have learnt a great deal and I think I have a good chance of scoring with a native girl when I visit New York some time in the near future. Btw I'm from Swaziland (near South Africa) and I study here in London England. As you can see I'm crazy ;-) Peace to all and ngiyabonga.
 
Anonymous
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There are so many other American english words / sentences that one ( a foreign national ) needs to know.
Note : Some of these words/sentences may seem familiar to people from Europe, but may not to people from Asia. Some of this may sound outright silly to native born americans. Please free to add or correct if necessary.
* When you are in a restaurant, the waiter may ask, "Soup or salad" ? For people not familiar with American accent, it sounds like, "SuperSalad"!! :roll:
* If you don't want something, you would say "no something". For example : if you don't want ice in water, you would say "no ice in water", instead of, Don't want ice in water. Makes it simpler. BTW, by default, there is ice in every drink (beverage). You have to ask "no ice" specifically, if you don't want ice.
* If you enter a fast food joint, (like BK or Mac), after ordering, the cashier would ask "for here, to go". People not used this sentence may get confused. For example : One person told the cashier, that "he will eat here and go!!"
* When you want to pass a vehicle, you don't say "I will overtake the vehicle, in front". Instead you would say, "I will pass the vehicle in front".
* When you thank someone, they may say "You bet!". This does not mean they are betting on something! It just means "You're welcome!"
* Police are called "Cops".
* Helicopter is called a "Chopper".
* Roads/streets are called "Drive(s)"
* Petrol is called "Gas"
* One may say "brought a new set of wheels", which means "brought a new car".
* Mixer is called a "Blender"
* Distance measured in "Miles" (not kms)
* Weight measured in "Pounds" (not kgs)
* Liquid volume measured in "Ounce" (not litres)
* Left hand drive in all vehicles ( so the traffic "flows" exactly in opposite directions, compared to many other countries ).
* "Shoulder" is the right most part of a road/freeway which can be used by any vehicle for emergency stops or if the vehicle is "broke".
* "Pull over" on the road means bring your vehicle to a stop on the side of the road.
* Customer service "Repp", means customer service representative.

The list can go on..
I will try to add some more at a later time..
Gotta run..
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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* If you don't want something, you would say "no something". For example : if you don't want ice in water, you would say "no ice in water",

"water, no ice"

* If you enter a fast food joint, (like BK or Mac), after ordering, the cashier would ask "for here, to go".

"for here or to go"

* Roads/streets are called "Drive(s)"

Street, Road, Drive, Circle, Parkway, Avenue

* Mixer is called a "Blender"

mixer is one thing, blender is something else

also

You go up the elevator, not the lift.

A "biscuit" is a type of bread about the same size as a roll, but the texture is different.

A cookie is a sweet snack/desert.

[ February 22, 2002: Message edited by: Marilyn deQueiroz ]
 
Wanderer
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Note that for many of the items on LAE's list, we (people in the US) use both terms, and sometimes more. We certainly know and use words like "police", "helicopter", "road" - we just have additional words as well. The exception here is "petrol" - we may know what you mean, but we'd never say it ourselves. (Nothing wrong with the word - we just don't use it.)
I think the main two to beware of, for speakers of more British-influenced dialects who find themselves in the US, are "rubber" and "fag". Probably neither one means what you think it does here. Similarly, don't get upset if someone here talks about "bonking" someone in or on the "fanny" - both terms have somewhat more innocent meanings here.
 
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Hi - Regarding the word 'cracker' -
In the late 1700's to early 1800's, the eastern part of the country was just being "settled".
Here in the southeast, the underbrush was (and still is some places), very dense. Because of that, we could not use ropes (lariats) to work our cattle herds with, but instead used bull whips. These make a distinctive sound. Hence the term 'cracker'.
Poor? I suppose it has that connotation up north. FWIW, I know some number of cracker boys and girls who are worth many millions.
Regards, Guy
 
Jason Menard
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One of the things about English (and I'm sure any language) that can make it a difficult language to learn is that you need to figure out which synonyms are most appropriate to use for a given context and audience.
To use a poor example, walking up to a police officer and saying "Excuse me, cop." may not get the positive reaction you are looking for.
 
ernest fakudze
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Just a few questions:
What do "bonking" and "fanny" mean in the states then? I know what they mean over here in Britain. Once again, I thank you all for helping me. Please keep it coming!
And rubber too.
Regards
Ernie
[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: ernest fakudze ]
 
Guy Allard
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"bonked" - can but rarely means what it does over there. "to bonk" usually means to strike or hit, as in:
I bonked him on the head with a baseball bat!
Earnest - google for "idiomatic+american+english". You will get a reasonable hit list.
G.
[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: Guy Allard ]
 
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I share the same passion as Ernest Fakudze in wanting to learn the American language. If I meet a fellow American, do I say "Hi", "Hello", "How do you do", shake his hand or what? TIA
-JAC
 
Johnson Chong
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Originally posted by ernest fakudze:
Just a few questions:
What do "bonking" and "fanny" mean in the states then? I know what they mean over here in Britain. Once again, I thank you all for helping me. Please keep it coming!
And rubber too.
Regards
Ernie
Yeah, kindly let me know what does fanny and rubber mean too. TIA
-JAC
[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: ernest fakudze ]

 
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Originally posted by ernest fakudze:
Just a few questions:
And rubber too.
[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: ernest fakudze ]


rubber is for Eraser... what you use to rub/remove the text written by pencil/pen.
 
Jim Yingst
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No, Ernest was asking what those words mean in the US. They are:
rubber: a condom. Be careful about asking to "borrow" one.
bonk: to hit (comical - not a hard hit, but with an amusing sound effect)
fanny: rear end. Butt. Derriere. Arse. Whatever the rest of you call it.
 
Greenhorn
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Americans use the word "moron" to refer to a person with limited intellectual capacity. Professor Chomsky says this demonstrates the negative nature of the American psyche. For the rest of the world, a moron is someone who is brighter than an imbecile.
[ February 25, 2002: Message edited by: Lew Trotsky ]
 
Anonymous
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Look, I'll be getting the book "Idiomatic American English". But I don't earn S$30000 per annum, nope never before. So I don't have a credit card. But I'm gonna ask my psychiatrist to help me get the book. Not that we are on close terms. But I'm going to try. A helpline councellor put this suggestion to me and this sounds like a new idea. By the way, the psychiatrist here don't visit the patient family members. In this way, both the psychiatrist and I are never gonna find out if my father has a credit card or not. Hmmmm...I wonder if my psychiatrist will ask me a lot of questions before he would use his card for me.
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
rubber: a condom. Be careful about asking to "borrow" one.


Thanks jim ....
I have to watch more movies(motion pic or whatever it is called in US) and read more comics
 
R K Singh
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Here is a little essay on English that I had recieved some time ago.
Happy reading!
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant,
ham in hamburger, and neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English
muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find
that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig
is neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write
but fingers don't fing? Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the
plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't
it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb
through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of
odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If retired teachers taught, did retired preachers praught? If a vegetarian
eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an
asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a
play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that
run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the
same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and
oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can
the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
Have you noticed that we describe certain things only when they are
absent? A horseless carriage, a strapless gown. Have you ever seen a
horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited
love?
Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or
peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who
would ACTUALLY hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a
language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you
fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the
creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).
That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the
lights are out, they are invisible.
And why, when I wind up my watch does it start, but when I wind up this
essay, it ends.
 
Anonymous
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Following the thread, i would like to add one more word: homely to list of american english words, which means unattractive in US and in Europe and Asia (or British English) it means Plain, comfortable etc.
Usage: (in India and elsewhere): She's a homely girl. (means: unpretentious, informal, simple - in a nice way.)
Usage in US would reverse the meaning and may cause indignation!!
if you use the same in US: It means: she is an
ugly girl!!
Please be wary!!
- Happy learning.

Pratibha.
 
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Originally posted by ernest fakudze:
[QB]Hi to you all American English speakers. I've always admired the kinds of words that Americans use in their daily conversations especially the slang phrases. I know that there are people here in England who say that America will be the demise of the English language but nonetheless I like the way you guys speak.[QB]


will be the demise of the English language ?? harumph.

[QB]Your language has got rich, cool words like 'Moron'. That one is just so nice to use and I use it instead of bafoon. Anyway all I ask is that you tell me more American slang and words. Here is the phrase that has befudled me for a long time; what does it mean to say 'I'll take a rain check? I know that this is slang so please explain it to me.[QB]


And by the way, in the hope of correcting your spelling in the course of your learning it's spelt 'buffoon' and 'befuddled'.
 
Paul Stevens
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And Phat means a girl is good looking.
All words are pronounced just like they are spelled Good food.
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by <Pratibha Enjeti>:
Pratibha.


means Talent (in Hindi)
 
ernest fakudze
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Thanks again everybody who has responded. This thread is really interesting.
Regards,
Ernie
 
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