I was just watching the British version of "Antiques Roadshow," and one of the appraisers said "jolly". I don't think I've ever heard an American say "jolly" unless they're talking about Santa, and in that case, they're using the word to describe his personality, as in, "Santa is very jolly."

But it seems like the British use "jolly" to mean "very", as in, "jolly good," a phrase that is probably used often over there. It's actually a phrase that non-Brits use to portray Brits, as if it's representative of how they speak.



I checked out inakayabanjin (who rarely posts) and learned about bidun, which comes from "Bidun jinsiya (or bidoon jinsiya)...an Arabic term meaning 'without nationality'."


over-using "the"

There are, of course, languages that don't use the word "the" or any articles, so sometimes I see over-compensation for that lack. For instance, there used to be a sign at a Japanese bookstore that said, "Please don't bring the cart into the store." They misused "the" by putting it in front of "cart," as if the sign is looking at your particular cart and pointing at it, telling you not to bring your specific cart into their store. I was there yesterday and saw that they replaced the sign with something more simple, such as "no carts!" below very flowery, polite Japanese requesting that no honorable carts be allowed inside.

So I guess they're like other folks I've seen, over-using "the" to make up for the lack of articles in their own language, as if they're trying to catch up.



I was on a plane, and after we ate our snacks, one of the flight attendants told us that they were going around to pick up our "traysh." Seriously. It was like she added a "sh" to the word "tray". I'd never heard anyone pronounce "trash" that way before. I even heard someone near me imitate her accent, and I wouldn't be surprised if other people noticed it as well. I wonder if it's common in certain parts of the U.S. (such as the South?) to pronounce "trash" like "traysh."


Often said

Here's a line that I often hear on TV: "Excuse the mess--I wasn't expecting company."

I just saw that on the still-lame Stargate Atlantis. Dr. Beckett went to Dr. Weir's apartment, and when he looked at her coffee table with a few dirty dishes on it, she said, "Excuse the mess--I wasn't expecting company." Which made me think that a lot of stories contain such a line.

How many times have we heard that line in movies and TV? I did a search for that phrase, and didn't find much. That would be a funny project--to see a list of how many, and which, movies and TV shows have included that line. I'm sure eventually some obsessive person will create it.



Okay, the word for the calcium-filled, white liquid that is produced by cows that we, especially in the Midwest, like to drink is "milk." But some people pronouce it "melk."

I don't know why they do that, and even though I've heard it quite often, I'm tempted to say that it's the "wrong" way to pronounce it and it sounds "funny", but enough people say it that way that I really shouldn't say anything about it. Except to just mention that "variation" and let the world know that I say "milk".


The cake picture

There's a picture of a cake going around the Internet with the words "under neat" to represent "underneath." What happened was that a person in Little Rock, Arkansas ordered a cake from Wal-Mart, and he told the Wal-Mart employee to write something "underneath" something else. But the employee misunderstood what he said, and wrote his words not just literally, but spelled incorrectly.

I discovered that the source of the picture and the story is an email that was written to snopes.com (scroll down to see the picture and the email). I can't post anything from there because they have a strict copyright rule (I even asked for permission to reproduce the story but they said no). But I just wanted to clear up any online misunderstandings, because there are a lot of people out there who don't know that the origin of the story is Snopes.


I can't wait until Monday

Monday is going to be the start of something really great: I got an Associate Producer internship with the number one producer of the number one show at the number one station. What more can I say other than I am very happy and cannot wait!


Can't act

Not that this is life-changing or is going to alter world events, but I've been watching the "special" episode of Without a Trace (one of my favorite shows) that also features characters from CSI (I don't know which one--they take place in a few cities), and it seems quite obvious that the CSI folks can't act. Either that, or they've been directed in their show to appear stiff and shallow. I guess that's why I haven't been attracted to CSI--the characters seem fake and posey, and even the lighting is over-dramatic.

I wonder if other people watching the episode agree and see the vast difference between the casts.


good American culture book

A few years ago, I created an American Culture class and used different sources, including the book American Ways, which I've recently started using again to tutor someone. The author has a lot of experience working with non-Americans and writes clearly about different aspects of our behavior and culture. When I first read it, I didn't find myself thinking, "this isn't true" or getting annoyed with his descriptions because he seems to give information that isn't biased. If he does make generalizations, he qualifies what he's saying. Of course, I can see people, such as the whiners who I've met in education, voicing complaints that he doesn't talk about *all* segments of society, but he admits to that. Which is why the book is informative and fair.


Swedish Meguro

Sometimes I have to write Japanese addresses in English, and the prefectures aren't hard to figure out because such lists are everywhere. But the more detailed the addresses get, the more difficult it becomes to get correct readings of the words because the combination of kanji can lead to numerous readings. Even Japanese people don't always know the readings when they hear an address--they spend time on the phone or in conversations explaining which kanji represent which sounds to describe where they live or want to send a package.

So when I had to find out about sections of the Meguro area of Tokyo, I did a search online. Wikipedia does a great job of breaking down the sounds of various districts, so I looked for such an entry in a google search, and interestingly, I came upon the Swedish Wikipedia. It had what I was looking for--a list of areas of Meguro, and the task was made even more enjoyable because it was cool to see Swedish surrounding what I needed in Japanese.


Para para

I was just chatting with an online pal, and he said "para para" when he was giving me some advice about a situation. It is a Hebrew expression, and I got the following definition from an online Hebrew slang guide:

Literal translation: Cow, cow

Meaning: Doing one thing at a time, step by step

Example: "We've got a lot of things to deal with here so let's just work through it para para".

He also said that "para para" comes from a folk tale, but I don't know what it is. Maybe after he finds out from his Israeli friend, I'll do a follow-up post.