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164 Topics: Naming Rights; Famous Americans: Cesar Chavez; Why Americans have middle names; future perfect tense; American versus U.S. as an adjective

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 164.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 164. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. Download this episode’s Learning Guide, an 8 to 10 page guide we provide for all of our current episodes that gives you some additional help in improving your English. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, with some additional courses in English, as well as our ESL Podcast Blog, where we provide more help in improving your English throughout the week.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about something called “naming rights,” focusing on how hospitals, schools, stadiums, and other large buildings are often named after very wealthy or rich people, or sometimes large companies – a very common trend in the United States. Then we’ll continue our series on famous Americans by talking about Cesar Chavez, who had a lot of influence or effect on California and the workers here in California. And as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

This Café begins with the topic of naming rights. “Naming rights” is the ability (the power) to name a piece of property after someone or some organization. This could be a piece of land, but usually it’s a building – a large building. Sometimes naming rights are used for hospitals, schools, and especially for large “stadiums,” which are large buildings where you can watch some sporting event: basketball, football, baseball, and so forth. Almost every city in the United States has a large stadium, and many of them are now named after some organization, usually some large company. When we say something is “named after,” we mean that it carries the same name as this other person or this other group.

Usually people and organizations get naming rights by making a very large donation to an organization, or a very large payment. A “donation” is when someone gives money to a person or an organization they think is worthy (they think is a good organization). For example, many Americans make donations to the Red Cross, which uses the money to help people during emergencies such as floods or tornadoes. Some of you have made donations to ESL Podcast, and we very much appreciate all of our “donors,” or the people who send donations.

When people or businesses make large donations, sometimes organizations give those people or businesses naming rights. For example, there’s a new hospital that’s being built in Eugene, Oregon, which is north of California. The hospital asked businesses to make donations, and one bank, Pacific Continental Bank, made a very large donation and so the “cafeteria” in the building, the place where food is made and sold to people who visit the hospital, will now be called the Pacific Continental Cafeteria. This happens at universities all the time. Sometimes museums will be named after people who give a lot of money. Here in Los Angeles, there’s a new museum that has mostly modern art, and it’s called the Eli Broad (Broad) Museum. That’s because he was a very rich person who gave money to the museum to build this building.

Sometimes large stadiums or parks will sell the naming rights to a company for 10 years or 20 years. For example, the company called PETCO, which is a company that makes things for pets (dogs and cats), they gave many millions of dollars to a stadium in San Diego, California, and that stadium is now called PETCO Park. Or, the large stadium in Denver, Colorado is called the Coors Field. Coors is a large beer company that gave a lot of money to have their name on the stadium. So this is, of course, advertising for the company. Every time someone talks about the park or the stadium, they use the name of this company.

One good reason why companies pay millions of dollars, sometimes 20, 30, 40 million dollars, to have a stadium named after their company is because they expect people will have positive “connotations,” or associations with the name of their company. So, anyone who likes baseball, they hear that name PETCO – PETCO Park, and they have a positive association with that company.

Universities, hospitals, schools, many different organizations that need money will often take donations or even sell the right to name a certain building after a person or a company. This has become very popular in many places. As we’ve said, perhaps the most famous example of this are the stadiums in the United States, where you see the names of all these different companies that have given money to have their name as the name of the stadium.

Naming rights are usually just for a certain amount of time. When you give the money, both sides (both parties – both people or organizations) agree on the number of years when the “deal,” or financial arrangement is made; you agree on how long it’s going to take. After that period, then the naming rights can be sold again. If we were to sell the naming rights for the English Café to…I don’t know…Nike Shoes, then we would call this the Nike English Café. Unfortunately, Nike didn’t give us any money, they didn’t even give us any shoes, so we won’t be naming the Café after them!

Now let’s continue our series on famous Americans. Today we’re going to talk about an American named Cesar Chavez. Chavez was born in the state of Arizona back in 1927, and he became, in the 1960s and 70s, one of the country’s greatest “civil rights leaders,” or people who try to make sure everyone is treated fairly no matter who they are. Cesar Chavez was as famous as Martin Luther King in his struggles (in his fight) to help people have equal rights.

Chavez was particularly concerned with migrant farm workers. A “migrant” (migrant) is a person that moves from one area to another – from one job in one part of the country to another job in another part of the country. These migrants are constantly moving every six months or every year to go to a different part of the country. This is very common in the agricultural business, in farms where we grow food. The people who go out and work in the fields where the food is grown (where the plants are grown) are often migrant farm workers. They go to one city or one area, and then two or three months later when the work is done they move to another area.

Migrant workers don’t make a lot of money, and they often were not treated well by their employers. A lot of the migrant workers in the United States are immigrants who come to this country, many of them coming from Latin America, especially from Mexico. Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American; his ancestors originally came from Mexico. He was born and raised in the United States, and became very “upset” or angry about how migrant farm workers were treated by their employers. In 1962, he started an organization called the National Farm Workers Association; it later became the United Farm Workers. This was an organization that tried to organize farm workers so that they would have better pay and safer working conditions (safer places to work). Chavez was a very charismatic leader, like Martin Luther King. Someone who is “charismatic” has very strong leadership skills and makes people want to follow him. The United Farm Workers grew quickly in the 1960s.

Chavez and the UFW (or United Farm Workers) protested against the way that farm workers were being treated. To “protest” means to say that you are against something, to fight something. You can protest a war; you could protest another government; you can protest your own government. Chavez was trying to protect these migrant farm workers, most of whom were very poor, many of whom did not speak English very well. He also protested the use of pesticides (pesticides). “Pesticides” are chemicals that are used on plants to kill insects or bugs. Many people thought these pesticides were dangerous for the migrant farm workers who were working in the fields.

In the early 1970s, Chavez organized a very famous boycott (boycott). A “boycott” is when people agree not to buy something or not to go somewhere or use something. This is a way for people to try to change the way a company is operating; they try to get the customers to stop buying things from that company. Chavez’s boycott was against grapes. He asked people not to eat grapes until the company stopped using these chemical pesticides, which he thought were dangerous. He thought if enough people stopped buying grapes, then the companies (the farm companies) would change their practices. I remember in the early 1970s when there was a boycott against grapes, and my family did not eat grapes, in part to support this boycott.

The boycott became very “widespread,” or common. Many people would put bumper stickers on their cars to support this boycott. A “bumper sticker” is a rectangular piece of paper that you put on the back of your car; usually it has a political message; it might have a funny message. The “bumper” of your car is the very back or front, the part that would prevent another car from damaging your car too much; they would hit your bumper first. So, it’s a place where people like to put these stickers – these little signs. The bumper stickers for Chavez’s boycott said “NO GRAPES” or “NO UVAS,” which means “no grapes” in Spanish.

Chavez also protested the poor treatment of migrant farm workers by fasting. To “fast” means to not eat food for a long period of time. People often fast for religious reasons. Catholics will fast, for example, during certain days of the year, especially during a period of time called Lent. Muslims fast during the holy or sacred month of Ramadan, where they don’t eat food during the day. Jews fast on the Feast of Yom Kippur. So, many religious groups use fasting. Some people fast for health; they think that it will make them more healthy by not eating food for one day or a certain period of time. When Chavez fasted, he did so often for as long as 25, sometimes 30 days at a time. During that time, he only drank water. He was trying to get people to realize how serious the problem was, and fasting was a way of “publicizing,” of getting people to pay attention, of getting the news media (the newspapers and magazines; television stations) to pay attention to his cause.

Chavez died in 1993, but many people believe his legacy lives on. A “legacy” (legacy) is a way that someone is remembered for the important things that he or she did in life. One of John F. Kennedy’s legacies, our former President, was getting the first Americans to walk on the moon. He began that process, although he died before it was completed. Chavez has a legacy of fighting for farm workers’ rights. Many schools, parks, and streets have been named after Cesar Chavez, especially here in California and in the southwest part of the United States, which is where he lived and worked. Here in Los Angeles, there is a street named after Cesar Chavez that goes through a largely Latino Hispanic part of the city. That is, a place where there are many immigrants from on America, especially from Mexico.

There is also a Cesar Chavez holiday here in California. It’s a state holiday where people who work for the state of California take the day off to celebrate (to honor) Chavez and his accomplishments. This is not a national holiday, however. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a national holiday, but Cesar Chavez has, up to this point, just a state holiday to honor his accomplishments.

Now let’s answer a few of your questions.

Our first question comes from Miky (Miky). I’m not sure where he or she is from. Many Americans, the question asks, have a middle or second name. The question is why do they have this second name, and do parents always name their children with two names.

Well, this is a good question, why Americans have a second or middle name. This is not unique to the United States. That is, this is also common in other countries. It really, however, became popular in the U.S. when German immigrants came here in the 19th century (in the 1800s), including some of my relatives who were from Germany. This was a common practice in their country and they brought it to the United States where other people started to adopt this practice.

Middle names were traditionally names of another family member. Sometimes the middle name was a religious name (a name of some holy person, a “saint,” we would call them). When parents select a middle name nowadays, they usually choose a name as a way of honoring another member of their family, of saying that we respect this person. However, some people choose middle names now just because they like the sound of the name.

When I was growing up, it was much more common for the middle names in my family to be other family members. Sometimes the names were chosen because they were the name of the godfather or godmother. A “godfather” and a “godmother” are people who are what are called “witnesses” to a religious ceremony known as “baptism” in the Christian religion. So the godfather and godmother are two people who agree to raise the child in a religious way if the parents should die. For example, my middle name is Lawrence – Jeffrey Lawrence McQuillan. Lawrence was the name of my godfather, who was someone who lived next to my parents. My older brothers and sisters have middle names that were uncles and aunts, or other people who were related to our family, or who were good friends of my parents.

A middle name is useful especially if you have a common first name and a common last name. A common last name (or surname) would be, for example, Smith, or here in California, a name like Gonzalez. These are very common names. A middle name helps distinguish you from other people who may have the same first name. So, if your name is John Smith, you may use your middle name so that people know which John Smith you are; you could be John Mark Smith.

Some people may not like their first name, and actually use their second name as their first name – their middle name as their first name. For example, the famous singer Paul McCartney of The Beatles, his first name is actually James. But everyone knows him by his middle name, which is Paul.

Not every parent in the U.S. names their children with a middle name, but it is very, very common.

Our next question: Mike from Poland wants to know how we use something called the “future perfect tense.” For example: “By the time we get to the classroom, the lesson will have started.” This is an example of describing something that will happen in the future, but you’re describing something where one thing will happen before another. So, there are two future events (two future things), but one will happen before the other one.

So, for example, the City of London will host the Olympics in the year 2012, but before they host the Olympics they have to build a new stadium. So we could say “By the time the Olympics begin in 2012, London will have built a new stadium.” They are both in the future, but one happens before the other. When we want to describe that sort of situation, the thing that happens first, that uses the construction “will have” plus the past participle; you could also use a progressive construction here: “will have been doing (something).” For example: “By the end of this year, the Carlito family will have lived in their house for 20 years.” You could also say “By the end of this year, the Carlito family will have been living in their house for 20 years.”

Finally, Brent (Brent), living in New Zealand, wants to know how we use the expressions “U.S.” and “American.”

“U.S.” is often used as an adjective in place of “American,” because it’s shorter to say and to write. Some people from other parts of the North American continent don’t like that people in the U.S. (in the United States of America) use “American” just to describe their country since Canada and Mexico are also part of North America, and of course, there is the entire continent of South America. However, you will still see “American” used very, very frequently to mean someone or something in the United States of America. So, you could say the “American economy” or the “U.S. economy.” It means the same thing.

If you’re interested in what we would use for your country – what name we would use to describe someone from your country or something from your country, you can take look at English Café number 46, especially the Learning Guide which contains a list of what you call different nationalities in English.

If you have a question or a comment, you can email us. Our email address is eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2008, by the Center for Educational Development.

naming rights – the ability or power to name a piece of property, such as a piece of land or a building

* Because Mr. Lim gave the school a lot of money to help build it, the school gave him naming rights to the main building.

donation – a gift that a person gives to an organization to help that organization; a gift, which is usually money or something else that is useful to an organization

* After the earthquake, many people gave donations of food and money to the homeless.

connotations – the feelings or thoughts that people have when they think of a word, product, or organization

* Most people have positive connotations of equality and freedom; in contrast, people have negative connotations of racism and hate.

deal – a financial agreement; an agreement made between two or more people that involves exchanging money, things, or services

* Paul and I made a deal: he would help me improve my Chinese if I helped him with his spoken English.

civil rights leaders – people who try to make sure that everyone is treated equally and fairly no matter what their race or gender is

* Martin Luther King, Jr. was an important civil rights leader who promoted the fair treatment of African Americans.

migrant farm worker – a person who moves from farm to farm and works for different people depending on the work that is available

* Because Tam couldn’t afford to buy his own piece of land, he had to earn his living by being a migrant farm worker.

charismatic – having strong leadership skills and the ability to communicate well with people, and is well liked by others

* Juan’s charismatic personality made him popular among his classmates, and he was voted president of his class.

to protest – to show disagreement about something by saying something or by holding signs

* The citizens marched on the streets and protested against the government’s decision to raise taxes.

pesticide – chemicals that are put on plants to prevent the plants from being eaten by insects or bugs

* Before eating any vegetables, I always wash them carefully in water to get rid of the pesticides.

boycott – a period of time when many people agree not to buy or use something because they believe that something is wrong and they want changes to be made

* To persuade the bus companies to lower the fare, several hundred people took part in a boycott against using buses for three days.

to fast – to not eat food for a long period of time, often for health or religious reasons, or as part of a protest

* In order to lose weight, Kim fasted for two days, drinking only fruit juice and water.

legacy – the way that someone is remembered for the important things that he or she did in life

* Many schools are named after Abraham Lincoln because of his legacy as one of the most important presidents in U.S. history.

middle name – the name that many Americans have between their first and last names, which is traditionally the name of a family member, and it can be used to tell the difference between two people with the same first and last names

* Because Johannas respected his Grandfather Paul very much, he gave his son the middle name of Paul.

What Insiders Know
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and The Million Man March

Because America promotes “freedom of speech” (having the right to say what one thinks), Americans have the freedom to protest against something that they think is wrong, such as war or something that is unfair. To show their disagreement, people may hold signs outside government buildings, or they may “march” (walk in lines) in groups down the street. People protest or march in the hope that they can make changes in society. There are several well known marches in the history of America. We’ll look at two today: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 and the Million Man March in 1995. Both of these marches promoted a better life for African Americans.

Many people have heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This “speech” (talk given in front of a group of people) was made during a march in Washington on August 28, 1963. During this march, about 300,000 people came together to protest the unfair treatment of African Americans. Not only black Americans but also whites and people of other races joined in this “peaceful” (not violent) protest. As a result of this march, many good changes in society were made. In 1964, a new law allowed black and white Americans to go to the same schools and to use the same public areas. In 1965, another law made it easier for black Americans to vote.

On October 16, 1995, another big march called “The Million Man March” took place in Washington D.C. The goal of this march was not only to protest the government’s unfair treatment of African Americans, but also to encourage black American men to live better lives, stop crime, and to be more involved in politics and society. Many black religious groups, schools, and organizations took part in this march. As a result of this march, several “amazing” (surprising; impressive) results occurred: one and a half million African American men registered to vote, and there was an increase in the number of black children that were “adopted,” which is when children who have no parents are legally made a part of another family. As you can see, protests and marches have made life better for many Americans throughout its history.