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上一篇:023 Topics: St. Patrick's Day, British versus American English, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," Going to vs. will, "Pod"

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024 Topics: Smoking Bans, British and American English II, they and he, wage vs. salary, blue vs. white collar, now vs. right now

时间:2018-05-01   访问量:2024   View PDF
Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 24.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 24. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to our website at for more information. On this Café, we’re going to talk about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day and how it is celebrated here in the United States. We’re also going to talk about something called the Gemological Institute of America. And as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

In order to talk about Saint Patrick’s Day as it is celebrated here in the United States, we need to know a little bit about who Saint Patrick was. Saint Patrick is considered the patron saint of Ireland. A “saint” (saint) is a holy person who, in the Christian religion, is considered to be one who is especially holy, often a leader in the church or simply someone who is considered very holy.

In some churches, such as the Catholic Church, the process of becoming a saint is very formal. The church has to approve of the person, and the person has to meet certain requirements to be considered a saint. If someone is called a “saint,” is considered a saint in some churches, they are considered to be in heaven. They are considered to have made it, if you will, after their death into heaven.

Well, Saint Patrick is the “patron” (patron) saint of Ireland. One tradition that has grown up over the past 2,000 years is to give different places – different activities, even – certain saints that are supposed to protect those who live in that area or who do that activity. So, the patron saint of Ireland is Saint Patrick. The people of Ireland would pray to Saint Patrick for special protection – for special “intercession,” would be the technical word we would use.

Now, interestingly enough, Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland. Often the patron saint of a country is a saint who was born in that country, but that’s not the case for Saint Patrick and Ireland. Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain and was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland. “To be kidnapped” (kidnapped) means to be taken somewhere against your will, against your wishes. This was not uncommon during this time period – people were kidnapped and basically made slaves, often transported to another country. That’s what happened to Patrick.

However, Patrick escaped and was able to go back to Britain. As an adult, he joined the fairly new at this time Christian Church. This is in the fifth century A.D. He joined the Church and returned to Ireland in order to teach the Irish about Christianity. Up until that point, the Irish people had not been Christian, and they had followed the traditional Celtic religions. In 432 A.D., Saint Patrick returned to Ireland, and for the next 30 years he traveled around the country building churches, building schools, and building special places where men or women could pray, called “monasteries.”

Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D., and this became known as Saint Patrick’s Day. People recognized Saint Patrick was a holy person and began to consider him a saint. In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day became a day of religious celebration. However, as sometimes happens with certain saints and their, what we would call “feast days,” or days on which we celebrate the saints, people began celebrating Saint Patrick not as a religious holiday but more as a holiday to celebrate the culture of Ireland.

This is especially true for those who left Ireland, for those who emigrated. “To emigrate” (emigrate) is to move from your home country where you were born to another country. Now, you might be confused because there’s a similar sounding word, “immigrate” (immigrate). What’s the difference between “emigrate” and “immigrate?” Well, each verb emphasizes a different part of the action. They both refer to the same thing, in a way.

We talk about people “immigrating to” the United States. They “emigrated from” Ireland. So, “emigrate” with an “e” emphasizes the fact they’re leaving their country and going to another country. “Immigrate” emphasizes the country to which they are coming, or to which they are now going to be members of. The United States has lots of people who emigrated from Ireland, including my ancestors, who came from Ireland back in 1840, in the middle part of the nineteenth century. Saint Patrick’s Day, however, began to be celebrated in the United States as early as the mid-eighteenth century, the mid-1700s.

Certain soldiers, or fighters, in the American Revolutionary War marched through the streets of many of the towns and cities in the East Coast on March 17th to celebrate Saint Patrick, to pay tribute to their Irish heritage. “To pay tribute (tribute) to” something is to celebrate something publicly, to show your respect for something. “Heritage” (heritage) describes a person’s cultural traditions and cultural values – usually what they grew up with in their own home and community.

So the early Irish immigrants to the United States celebrated Saint Patrick - St. Patrick’ Day – and used it as an opportunity to celebrate where they came from, their heritage. Ever since those days in the eighteenth century, Irish immigrants – including those who have been here for many generations such as my family – continue to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th.

The biggest Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S. are found in the cities that had traditionally the largest Irish immigrant populations. They would include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Although I have to say that Saint Paul, where I grew up, in Minnesota, also had a very large number of Irish immigrants and also has and continues to have a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration every year.

The most common way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day is to have a parade. A “parade” (parade) is a walk or a march in public, usually down an important street of the town or city, to celebrate a certain event. In addition to parades, many cities also have Irish music and dancing – and let’s not forget drinking – in order to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Many of the Irish immigrants who came over started bars, places where you could drink alcohol. So there are lots and lots of Irish bars in the United States. My cousins own a couple of Irish bars back where I’m from in Minnesota.

The color green is usually associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because it’s the color associated with the country of Ireland. Ireland, if you’ve never been there, is a beautiful country with lots of rain, and so there’s lots of greenery – lots of trees, lots of grass – all over the country. On Saint Patrick’s Day, it’s traditional for people to wear something green – a green tie, a green shirt. My father actually had a green suit jacket that he would wear on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The city of Chicago has a very interesting tradition. Every year on Saint Patrick’s Day, they use green coloring to turn the rivers – one particular river that goes through the city – green. Now, this is a river that has a lot of pollution, a lot of harmful elements to the environment. So the city pours a certain chemical to make this river look green. If you saw the movie The Fugitive, one of my favorite movies, you’ll remember perhaps a part of the movie where the hero, Harrison Ford, escapes from the police by going into a Saint Patrick’s Day parade, and I think you can even see the green river in the movie.

Another symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day is the Shamrock. A “shamrock” (shamrock) is not a rock or a stone. It’s a small plant that traditionally – usually, I should say – has three leaves or three parts on it. This is very common in Ireland, this plant. Saint Patrick used the shamrock and its three leaves as a way of explaining an important concept in the Christian religion, what’s called the “Trinity” – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The shamrock has three leaves, but it’s just one plant.

In a similar way, Saint Patrick described God as having three persons, but in one God. There aren’t three Gods – there are three persons, all of whom form, if you will, one God. Now, as sometimes happens with immigrant communities, the Irish in the United States celebrated Saint Patrick more in some ways than the people in Ireland themselves celebrated this day. This is not unusual, that an immigrant community will celebrate certain holidays more than the people back in their home countries.

In Ireland, it wasn’t really until the 1970s that you saw similar celebrations in Ireland. The 1970s were a time where there was a lot of tension politically on the island, especially in Northern Ireland – that might be one reason why those celebrations became more popular. Now, because Saint Patrick’s Day is such a popular celebration in the United States, many people celebrate it by going out and drinking at a bar on that day, even if they aren’t Irish. In fact, I would say most of the people who celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by drinking are probably not Irish.

When I was growing up, Saint Patrick’s Day was a very important day. My father, as I mentioned earlier, would always wear something green. We many times went to the parade. We were let out of school and got to go to the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in downtown St. Paul, and a couple of years, we had a sign just for the McQuillan family. There are many McQuillan families in St. Paul, not just my immediate family. I have cousins, for example, who as I mentioned previously not only celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day but owned bars in the Twin Cities.

You can still go to St. Paul and see Irish bars. My cousins still have their bars in the city. So, Saint Patrick’s Day, if you are here on March 17th, is something you might want to observe at the very least if you are in one of the big cities that have parades. I don’t think Los Angeles has a Saint Patrick’s Day parade. I might be wrong, but I certainly have never heard of it.

Now let’s turn to our next topic, which is the Gemological Institute of America. Before, I mentioned that shamrocks aren’t really rocks. Well now we’re going to talk about things that really are rocks. The Gemological Institute of America is an organization that studies what are called “gemstones.” “Gemological” (gemological) comes from the word “gem” (gem) – notice, it’s spelled with a “g,” not a “j.” A gem is a very attractive, usually valuable piece of a rock or a mineral that is often used in making jewelry. An example of a gem would be a diamond.

The Gemological Institute of America, sometimes known as the GIA (not to be confused with the CIA – the Central Intelligence Agency) is the leading authority in gemology in the United States. When we say some person or some group is the “leading (leading) authority (authority),” we mean this person or this group is an expert about a certain topic, knows more than anyone else about a certain topic.

The GIA was founded right here in Los Angeles back in 1931 by a man who made jewelry – we call that person a “jeweler” – named Robert M. Shipley. Shipley wanted to find a way to make sure that all jewelers were properly trained and were best able to help their customers to make good purchases. So Mr. Shipley started offering classes – education for jewelers, classes that taught them about how to tell or determine the quality of different gems.

Graduates of these classes – that is, people who complete these classes – receive the title of “certified jeweler.” If you are “certified” (certified), you have been officially recognized as having certain knowledge or certain qualifications. Nowadays you can be certified in certain kinds of software – you are considered an expert in certain kinds of computer software, probably because you took classes that taught you about that software.

In a similar way, certified jewelers are jewelers who have taken classes about gems and are qualified to answer questions about them and to make jewelry from them. Having certified jewelers made the jewelry business more professional, because the customers could now trust that the jewelry they bought really was worth the money they paid for it. In addition to classes, the GIA also worked to set standards to measure the quality of gemstones. This is very important because many gemstones are extremely expensive, and so you want to make sure that you have a good-quality gem.

In 1953, the GIA created a way of measuring diamonds that is still used throughout the world today. The system looks at a couple of different aspects of the diamond. It looks at the shape or cut of the diamond. It also has a system for determining the clarity or clearness of the diamond. When you hold the diamond up to a strong light, you have to look and see how clear it is. The clearer the diamond, the more expensive the diamond is. The GIA system also looks at the color of the diamond and the “carat” (carat).

The carat of a diamond is the weight of the diamond. Don’t confuse “carat” with another word that’s pronounced the same but spelled differently, “carrot” (carrot). That’s the kind of carrot that you eat. It’s an orange-ish vegetable. The GIA system was called the “Four C’s” – cut, clarity, color, and carat. Diamonds are measured using these qualities and then a price is determined based upon the qualities that the particular diamond has.

The GIA has continued to grow and now has branches, or offices, all over the world. The headquarters, the main offices of the GIA, are right here in California – in Carlsbad, California – which is located south of Los Angeles. At these research centers, the GIA works to identify and get more information about gems. The GIA has identified famous stones such as the Hope Diamond and the De Beers Millennium Star. It’s also worked to create methods to identify fake gems or gems that have been made to look like something that they are not.

Some jewelers try to enhance a gem. “To enhance” (enhance) means to improve the quality of something. However, if you do this in such a way to make the gem look more expensive than it really is, worth more than it really is, that is something that the GIA would certainly not like, and neither would your customer. So if you buy jewelry with gems in it such as diamonds, you can thank the GIA for helping you make a good purchase by setting standards for the quality of those gems.

Before we leave the topic, I should mention there’s a common expression in English with the word “gem” – “She’s a gem,” or “It’s a gem.” That expression doesn’t refer to the rocks – it refers to something that is high quality, something that is really unique or is really valuable. We might also say, “He’s a gem of a ballplayer.” “He’s a gem of a football player” – that would mean that he’s a very valuable or skilled football player.

Now let’s answer a few of your questions.

Our first question comes from Michael (Michael) in Germany. Michael wants to know why sometimes in English we now use the pronoun “they” even though the person to which the pronoun refers is singular – a man or a woman. This is a good question. Sometimes I use “they.” Sometimes I use “he” or “she,” and it’s something that has changed in English in the past 30 years or so.

Traditionally – before, say, the mid-twentieth century – a sentence with a pronoun that referred to just one person would always be “he,” or if it was a woman, “she.” However, if you didn’t know if it was a man or a woman about whom you were speaking, you would just say “he.” Now, some people felt that this was referring to men, or at least made the language seem what we might call “sexist” (sexist) – favoring men over women. And so people started to use “they,” even though the noun to which the pronoun referred was singular.

“If one of your friends calls you tonight, tell them you don’t want to go to the movie.” “One” is a singular noun – refers to just one person – and so in “traditional English,” we could call it, you would say “he” instead of “them.” “If one of your friends calls, tell him you don’t want to go.” The “him” is ambiguous. It could be because you know that all of this person’s friends are male or it could be because you don’t know if it’s a man or a woman, and if you didn’t know if it were a man or a woman, you would say “he” (or in this case, “him”).

Another example: Someone knocks on your door. You go to the door. You open it and you tell him to go away. He’s very upset with you and he walks away. “Someone” is singular. You don’t know if it’s a man or a woman, so traditionally in English we would use “he” and “him” as pronouns referring to that unknown person. Nowadays, however, people might say something like, “You told them to go away and they walked away from you” (or walked away from your house). Even though it’s just one person, you might hear and read people using the plural pronoun, such as “they” and “them.”

Now this is confusing because not everyone does this. Some people continue to use “he” or “him” when you don’t know if it’s a man or a woman, and to be even more confusing (although this is less common nowadays), some people say “he or she” or “him or her” to indicate you don’t know the sex of the person you are referring to, or that the pronoun is referring to.

So, it is confusing, Michael, and I probably haven’t made it any clearer with my explanation. Is it wrong? No. I think nowadays it’s become accepted, although there are still some people who don’t like it and continue to use “he” and “him” when referring to just one person whose sex is unknown.

Our next question comes from Alexander (Alexander) in Russia. Alexander has a question about the difference between a “wage” and a “salary.” Both of these words are used to talk about money that your company gives you – the company you work for gives you (if you work for a company).

A “wage” (wage) is money that you are paid, we would say, “by the hour.” In some jobs, you get paid for the number of hours you work. If you work 30 hours and you are getting paid $10 an hour, your wage would be $300. Usually jobs that don’t require a high level of skill and education are what we call “hourly jobs,” and the money that the company pays to its employees is called “wages.”

A “salary” (salary) is when the company pays you not by the hour, but by the year. It doesn’t matter how many hours you work, you’re still going to get the same amount of money. Companies usually, of course, will expect you will work at least, 40 hours, which is considered full time, or a full-time job, in the United States, but you might work a lot more than 40 hours. However, you will still be paid the same amount of money.

When I say the company pays you “by the year” when you’re on salary, I don’t mean it pays you only once a year. It will still give you money every two weeks or every month, sometimes even every week. A typical American worker works 40 hours, but if you’re on a salary, you might work a lot more than that. This brings up another interesting distinction – the difference between a “blue-collar worker” and a “white-collar worker.”

“Blue-collar workers” typically are earning a wage – being paid by the hour. “White-collar workers” are usually earning a salary – being paid, in essence, by the year. Why do we call them “blue-collar” and “white-collar” workers? Well, a “collar” (collar) is part of your shirt. If you work in an office, for example, you usually will have to wear a white shirt that has a collar on it that goes around your neck and a tie. That’s a “white-collar worker,” someone who works in an office.

Someone who does what we would call “manual labor” – labor that is done with your hands – such as a painter or a carpenter, would be called a “blue-collar worker.” Now, I don’t know if that’s because they traditionally wore blue shirts or what, but that is the distinction we make. A “blue-collar worker” is someone who is usually doing “manual” (manual) work. A “white-collar worker” is usually someone who’s working in an office.

Now it gets a little confusing because sometimes people who work in offices are not really white-collar workers. A secretary, for example, may get paid by the hour just like a blue-collar worker is, even though he or she works in an office. When we say a “white-collar worker,” we’re usually referring to a professional, someone with a college degree or higher, someone like a lawyer, or a doctor, or a university professor, or a manager.

Our final question comes from Mustafa (Mustafa) in Montreal, Canada. Mustafa wants to know why we sometimes say “right now” instead of just “now.” What does the word “right” (right) add to the meaning of the expression? This is a good question, because the word “right” doesn’t make a big difference. If someone says, “I want you to come here now,” they mean (notice I use “they”) they want you to come here immediately. However, “right now” gives it more emphasis. It’s saying, “Come here quickly,” or “Come here as soon as you can.”

If someone says, “I’m leaving now,” the person may be saying that they’re leaving in the next few minutes or in the next, say, 15 minutes. If a person says, “I’m leaving right now,” they mean within 10 seconds or within 30 seconds. So, “right now” adds a certain immediacy. It’s used for emphasizing that this is going to happen at this very moment, which is another expression that we use to indicate that something will happen immediately.

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

ESL Podcast’s English Café was written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

St. Patrick's Day – a holiday celebrated on March 17 every year to honor Saint Patrick, a Catholic saint, usually celebrated by wearing and displaying the color green and drinking alcohol

* Kenneth’s father is Irish, so his family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day every year.

A.D. – in Latin, "Anno Domini"; “the year of our Lord" or "after the birth of Jesus,” and a way of separating the two main eras (large amounts of time) in history

* Christopher Columbus made his first voyage by ship in 1492 A.D.

missionary – someone who shares information about their religion with people of other religions or beliefs, with the hope of convincing them to change religions

* Melva grew up in the United States but currently serves in Indonesia as a Christian missionary.

to convert – to convince someone to change his or her religious beliefs; to cause someone to begin believing a different set of beliefs or ideas

* Theo’s family did not believe in any religion, but he converted to Judaism when he was 32 years old.

patron saint – an important religious person who acts as a guide or protector for a country, group of people, or cause;

* Every night, Olivia prays for her husband to Saint Joseph, the patron saint of married couples.

harvest – the act of picking or removing fruits and vegetables that have finished growing from the field for the purpose of storing, selling, or eating them; a season or time of year when most fruits and vegetables are fully grown and ready to be eaten

* The farm had a good harvest this year, and the Hardie family was able to earn a lot of money from the crops they sold.

parade – an event in which a large group of people, most of whom are with organizations or musical bands, march or walk down the street to celebrate a holiday, person, or important historical event

* Eldon watched his brother march with the band in this year’s Memorial Day parade.

public school – a school that is free to attend and which gets money and support from the government

* Charisse goes to public school because her parents cannot afford to send her to a private school.

private school – a school that does not get money from the government but is run or supported mostly by money that students and their parents pay

* Jacob’s parents sent him to a private school run by the city’s Catholic diocese.

coach – a person who guides and helps someone to become better at an activity, usually playing a sport

* Julia had trouble scoring goals on her soccer team but became much better after working with a coach.

subway – a train or large vehicle that uses electrical power to transport many people to certain locations along a specific path using underground passages or tunnels

* Hal avoids taking the subway after work because it gets too crowded.

tube – a long, narrow piece of material with a round opening and is empty inside, usually used to move liquid from one place to another

* After her surgery, Lorraine stayed in the hospital and receive medicine through a tube placed in her arm.

wage – an amount of money one earns or is paid for every hour of work one completes

* Kraig received a wage of $8 per hour working at the fast food restaurant.

salary – an amount of money one earns or is paid for all work done over a certain period of time

* Tamisha’s starting salary was $28,000 per year, but as she continued working for the company, her salary gradually increased.

blue collar – work that usually requires someone to use his or her hands

* Tyler works a in blue collar job, as a mechanic, fixing cars.

white collar – a job done in an office or similar setting; related to workers who do not have jobs that require physical work

* Anita has a white collar job, working as a secretary in a lawyer’s office.

right – immediately or directly; a term used to emphasize an action or cause the reader or listener to focus on that action

* When Di’s friend called him asking for help, Di drove to meet him right away.

What Insiders Know
Colorful Expressions

The color green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day, one of the subjects of this English Cafe. But there are a lot of English expressions that mention the color green that have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day.

A very common and often used expression is “being green.” “Being green” means being inexperienced, new to doing something or performing a job. It probably refers to vegetables and fruits that are the color green until they become “ripe” (for fruits and vegetables to be ready to eat or used). We can use this expression this way:
- “The medical student is too green to perform this procedure without help.”
- “The new manager will seem a little green until she learns the job.”

You may hear people say that they are “green with envy,” which means that they feel a lot of jealousy toward someone, very much wanting what that other person has. For example, if your neighbor buys a new car, the same car that you’d love to own and drive, you may feel green with envy. If a co-worker gets extra days of vacation time over the Christmas season, the other employees may be green with envy.

These days, “green” has another meaning. We use “green” to refer to things that are not harmful to the environment. We often hear that companies or business are “green,” meaning they use products and procedures that don’t harm the environment. We can use it this way:
- “We’re turning this into a green house by buying energy-efficient “appliances” (refrigerator, stove, etc.) and planting vegetables instead of grass.
- “By buying “hybrid cars” (cars that use gasoline and electricity) for our salespeople, our company is taking the first step toward going green.”

上一篇:023 Topics: St. Patrick's Day, British versus American English, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," Going to vs. will, "Pod"

下一篇:025 Topics: Spring Break, Movie Ratings in the US, "Stay tuned," Frightened vs. Afraid, Customer vs. Consumer