025 Topics: Spring Break, Movie Ratings in the US, ＂Stay tuned,＂ Frightened vs. Afraid, Customer vs. Consumer
时间：2018-05-01 访问量：2060 View PDF
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 25.
This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 25. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.
On this Café, we’re going to talk about spring break here in the United States. We’re also going to talk about the movie rating system for our movies, or “motion pictures,” as we sometimes call them, and as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.
We’re going to talk about spring break in the United States. “Spring” (spring), you probably know, is one of the four seasons. We have spring, summer, fall, and winter. A “break” (break) is an interruption in something – when you stop doing something that you normally do, and then continue doing it later on.
“Spring break” in the U.S. is usually a week in March or April in which the schools have a holiday. This is typically a one, sometimes a two-week vacation for students. So, all of the schools, from elementary or grade schools right up to colleges and universities, usually have a spring break – a one-week or sometimes two-week vacation in either March or April.
Now, there’s no fixed or set dates for spring break. Every school district – every collection of schools – every university, every college does something different. It’s a very confusing system if you’re not used to it. Typically spring break has been related to the Easter holiday. “Easter” (Easter) is an important celebration for Christians that takes place in March or April. It changes each year. Many religious schools have their spring break the week before or the week after Easter.
However, the tradition of having spring break connected to Easter has changed over the years, and now schools make the decision about when to take their vacation regardless, often, of when Easter is celebrated. “Spring break,” as I mentioned, occurs at all levels of schooling. However, it has a particular association for high school and college students, who see this as a time for them to travel without their families and to basically go and party somewhere, typically where it’s warm.
Remember, most of the United States is located in a climate that is cold during the wintertime and the early spring. So, if you live in one of those climates, one of those states, you would probably want to go somewhere warm. And that’s exactly what the tradition of spring break has become – a time when college and university students (and sometimes high school students) travel somewhere in order to celebrate. This is both a good thing and a bad thing for the places where these students go.
It’s a good thing economically, because they get visitors during a time when they would normally not have a lot of visitors – that is to say, during the spring. Summertime, of course, would be busy in most places that are popular for vacations. But spring break takes place in March or April, so if you live in, say, Florida or California, and you have warm weather, you can expect to have people coming to your area during spring break.
However, it’s not always a good thing. There have been a lot of problems with students going places and becoming very rowdy. “To be rowdy” (rowdy) means to make a lot of noise and to not follow the rules or sometimes even the law. Often students drink too much alcohol, have perhaps a little bit too much fun, and they get in trouble because they are being too rowdy.
Not all college and high school students go somewhere and have a party during spring break. First of all, it requires that you have money to travel. When I was in college, I didn’t have any money. I didn’t go on any spring break trips with the rest of my friends because I didn’t have any money to take a plane or even a car to drive in. So, it’s not every student who goes on spring break, in the sense of going somewhere to celebrate.
Some of the most popular areas in the U.S. for spring break include the city of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, as well as Daytona Beach in Florida. These are both places that have a lot of beach area and that are warm during this time. Two other popular places include South Padre Island, which is in Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico on the ocean (so again, there are beaches) and somewhere fairly close to Los Angeles – Lake Havasu, which is technically in the state of Arizona, next to the state of California.
Lake Havasu was very popular with students that I used to teach both in Phoenix and out in San Bernardino, California, which is a city about an hour from Los Angeles. But it’s not just in the United States that students go and party – they also travel internationally, and in particular to Mexico because, once again, Mexico is warmer than the United States in most places during the wintertime, especially along the ocean.
Some students go to what are called “resorts” (resorts). A resort is basically a big hotel that has lots of different services. It has places to eat. It has a place to swim. It’ll often have a spa, a place where you can get a massage. Resorts are popular with families as well, because often they will be “all-inclusive,” meaning you can get all of your food and drink for one price.
Some popular places in Mexico that students go during spring break include much Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco. These are all cities located on the West Coast of the United States, although it has become more common in recent years to go also to the Pacific Ocean, to the Yucatán, especially to the city of Cancún.
Now, one reason Mexico is very popular with American students is because in the United States you have to be 21 years old to drink alcohol legally, but in Mexico you only have to be 18 years old. So, if you’re in college and, say, 18, 19, or 20 years old and you want to go into a regular bar and drink a lot, well, Mexico is a place where you can do that.
Here in Los Angeles, many people go to Mexico during spring break, but not down to the resort cities of Mazatlán or Acapulco – they just go across the U.S.–Mexican border to the city of Tijuana. Tijuana is located right across the border of the city of San Diego, or where San Diego is located. In California, we often call Tijuana by the initials “TJ.” “I’m going to TJ this weekend” – that means I’m going to Tijuana to party and have a good time.
I actually took, believe it or not, a group of students to Tijuana when I was teaching Spanish out at California State University, San Bernardino, and we went down in the middle of the day. The idea was that they would practice Spanish, but really what ended up happening is they drank a lot in the bars and the discotheques. Many of the students were drinking at one o’clock in the afternoon or even before that. So, it’s a popular place for students to go. I never did that again. That was the only time I ever took students to TJ.
There are problems, as I say, with spring break, and a related problem to drinking is what is called “binge drinking.” “To binge” (binge) on something is to consume – that is, eat or drink – too much of it. Binge drinking is drinking too much alcohol, often as many as five, six, or seven drinks within a short period of time – say, a couple of hours. This of course will get you very intoxicated – that is, very drunk. It can be very dangerous if you, for example, decide to drive, or you get into a fight.
So, spring break – although it’s still very popular in the U.S., especially at the colleges and the universities – isn’t always a good thing. It depends on the activities that the students engage in. I should end by saying that some students travel for spring break, but they don’t go to party. They actually go to volunteer. They go to work, often in a poor area to help the people who live there for a week. That is particularly popular in religious colleges and universities.
Let’s move on now and talk about the Motion Picture Association of America and their film association. The Motion Picture Association of America is an organization of people who are involved in the movies, especially here in Los Angeles. The MPAA has what’s called a “film-rating system.” A “rating” (rating) is like a score or a grade you give something. So, a “film rating” would be a letter or a number that you would give to a film that would indicate something about it.
In this case, it indicates how old you should be to watch that movie. It’s designed to help parents in particular decide whether their child or teenager should go see a movie. The system developed in the United States over a period of years, but basically it was meant to give parents, as well as movie theaters, the ability to prevent certain younger viewers from seeing certain films – films that might have a lot of violence or a lot of sexual content.
Currently in the United States, as I record this episode, there are five possible ratings that a movie can get from the MPAA. Now, this is voluntary – the movies don’t have to have ratings, but in order to be shown in a big movie theater, the movie is going to have to get a rating, usually. The film-rating system, in other words, is voluntary. You don’t have to send your movie in to the MPAA in order to have it rated, but if you don’t, most theaters probably won’t show it.
The five current ratings are G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. Most of these ratings were created in the late 1960s, when the MPAA decided that it needed to have very clear guidelines, very clear rules about movies and what rating they should receive. The first rating is G, and the “G” stands for “general audiences.” That means anyone of any age can see this movie. Many films for children are rated G, including many animated films, many films that are basically cartoons, such as Toy Story or Finding Nemo, or a few of the other popular animated films.
It’s interesting that we mention the G rating sometimes in daily conversation when we are talking about something other than movies. If someone says to you, “This is a G-rated conversation,” he means that what he is talking about, or what those in the conversation are talking about, does not contain anything that a child couldn’t hear. The conversation doesn’t contain any “vulgar” (vulgar) or dirty language.
The next rating in the system is PG. Here, the “PG” stands for “parental guidance.” “Parental” (parental), of course, comes from the word “parents” – the mother and the father. “Guidance” (guidance) refers to advice or information that helps us solve a problem or make a decision. So, PG means that parents should be careful about sending their child to this movie. It isn’t going to contain a lot of sex and violence, but it might contain some sexual content. It might contain some violent behavior.
So, PG as a rating means it’s probably okay for older kids – maybe 10, 12 years old – but probably not for younger children, 5- and 6-year-olds. The next rating is PG-13. The “13” indicates that anyone who is under the age of 13 – that is, 12 and under – should not go see this movie. Now, children under 13 can go see the movie if their parents go with them, so it’s not that you will be refused entry if you have a child under the age of 12 and decide to go see a PG-13–rated movie.
However, the MPAA is saying that this is probably not appropriate, probably not suitable, for children under the age of 13. It also means that the movie theater can refuse to let anyone under 13 into the theater unless that person has a parent with him. Many people argue, nowadays there isn’t much of a difference between a PG and a PG-13 movie.
The real dividing line, if you will, the real difference in violence and sexual content in movies comes with the R rating. “R” stands for “restricted.” That means anyone who is not 18 or over cannot go see this movie unless they are with, again, a parent. It could also be another adult, such as a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle – someone who is taking care of you.
R-rated movies often have a lot of sexual content, and/or violence, and/or bad language. Movie theaters are not supposed to let anyone into the movie theater who is 17 and under, again, unless a parent is with them. However, in practice, many high school students go to R-rated movies when they’re 16 and 17 years old, and because the theaters need the money, they go ahead and let them in.
This rating system is not a legal system. You can’t be arrested by the police for going to an R-rated movie as a 16-year-old. It’s, again, a voluntary system that the theaters follow usually. So, R-rated movies tend to be very popular with adults. In fact, there are some people who don’t take a movie very seriously nowadays unless it is an R-rated movie, which is sort of sad that people need to have the violence or the sexual content to consider it a good movie.
The last rating – which you don’t see very often and was created later, after the late 1960s – is NC-17. I’m not sure what the “NC” stands for, but the NC-17 rating means even if with a parent or guardian, you cannot get into the movie theater if you are 17 years old or under. Only 18-year-olds can see those kinds of movies.
Now, why was the NC-17 rating created? Well, it used to be, and still is, that movies that were more violent or had more sexual content than an R-rated movie were called “X-rated movies,” and almost all X-rated movies were what we would also call “pornographic” movies. “Pornographic” (pornographic) movies are movies that are really meant to excite people sexually.
An NC-17 movie is not a pornographic movie, but it might contain enough sex or violence that it would not be appropriate for anyone under the age of 18. There are not very many movies in the United States that are successful commercially that are rated NC-17. Most movie studios, most companies that make movies, will get rid of certain parts of the movie in order to get the R rating. Everyone will go see an R rating, but many people won’t go see an NC-17 movie, and that’s why you don’t see it very often.
Now let’s answer some of the questions you have sent to us.
Our first question comes from Elijah (Elijah) in South Korea – actually, originally from South Korea but now living in Canada. Elijah wants to know what the expression “stay tuned” means.
“Stay (stay) tuned (tuned)” is often heard at the end of a television show, or sometimes in the middle of a television show immediately before a commercial, an advertisement. The news person, for example, on a news program might say, “Stay tuned for more news.” That means that you should wait. You should not go anywhere. You should continue watching, because right after the commercial, there will be more news.
When someone says “stay tuned” not referring to television, usually they mean there is more to come – that at a later time, perhaps even at a later date, you will have more information about a certain topic for this person. We sometimes use it when a situation seems to be changing quickly, and the information about the situation you give the person is not going to be accurate sometime in the future, or will be more complete sometime in the future.
So if someone says, “Oh did you hear that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is pregnant? We don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl. Stay tuned,” there “stay tuned” means you will get more information about it in the future, once the baby is born. (I think it was a girl – the last one, anyway – in case you’re interested.) The royal family of Great Britain is also popular here in the United States, although not anywhere near as popular as it is in Great Britain. Our royalty tends to be Hollywood movie stars and singers whose lives really no one should be interested in, but apparently everyone is.
Jan (Jan) from Switzerland asked a question about the difference between “frightened” and “afraid.” In most cases, “afraid” (afraid) is a little less serious, a little less dramatic than “frightened.” Both words mean to be scared of something, to have fear of something.
“I’m afraid of flying.” Notice we use the preposition “of” followed by the gerund, the noun form of the verb, that ends “-ing.” “I’m afraid of walking.” “I’m afraid of flying.” “I’m afraid of talking.” “To be frightened of” something also means to be scared of it, to have fear of it, but usually used when you are very afraid, when you’re very scared. You have a lot of fear. “I’m frightened by the violence that is going on in my city” – I’m very scared of it.
You’ll also hear people use the word “afraid” in situations that don’t involve fear or being scared of something, but rather where a person is sorry to tell someone something. So you might say to your wife, “I’m afraid I forgot to buy the milk on my way home.” You’re not fearful of anything – although you might need to be fearful of your wife, depending on who she is – rather, you are sorry that you didn’t buy the milk on your way home.
The final question comes from Paul (Paul) in Romania. Paul wants to know the difference between the word “customer” (customer) and “consumer” (consumer). You’ll often see both of these words in newspapers and in television programs, and usually they mean very similar things, if not the same thing.
Someone who buys something, anything, is called a “consumer,” because they “consume” (consume) the product or service. They use it. Usually “consumer” is used to refer generally to people who buy things – not from a particular or specific company, but just people who go out and buy things. All of us are, really, consumers.
The word “customer” tends to get used to refer to consumers of a specific company or a specific product. Someone might say, “I am an Apple customer.” That means I buy things from this particular company, Apple. “I’m a customer of Vons Supermarket” – that’s a grocery store, a store where you can buy food, here in Los Angeles.
There’s a third word that I’ll introduce here, which is “client” (client). A client is someone who is a customer of, say, a lawyer or a doctor or someone who offers professional services. Companies that sell services – that do things for you rather than give you physical objects – often refer to their customers as “clients.” So that’s sort of a special word we use. A “customer” would be more commonly used for companies that sell products, things that you take with you and go home with, although nowadays many products are digital – like, say, ESL Podcast.
From Los Angeles California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on the English Café.
ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.
spring break – one or two weeks in March or April, sometimes near the Easter holiday, during which there is no school, allowing students to have fun and relax
* Penelope spent a week with her family in California for spring break.
to be rowdy – to make a lot of noise and behave in a wild manner; to be loud and uncontrollable, often in a destructive way
* Marshall is rowdy whenever he drinks too much alcohol.
Easter – a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection (returning to life after having died) of Jesus Christ, celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring season each year
* Every Easter, Genevieve goes to church and celebrates the holiday by eating a large meal with all of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
resort – a hotel located in a popular vacation city or region, which offers services designed to help guests relax and enjoy themselves, such as swimming pools, spa services, and fancy meals
* Javier stayed at a luxurious resort in the mountains where he was able to take skiing lessons.
binge drinking – the act of drinking many alcoholic drinks in a short period of time, causing one to become very drunk, very quickly
* When Karisa found out that her roommate enjoys binge drinking every night, she began to suspect that her roommate was addicted to alcohol.
movie rating system – a system used by the Motion Picture Association of America that judges the appropriateness of a movie’s content for different ages
* An R rating means that people under 17 cannot see his movie without being with an adult.
animated – cartoon; made from a series of pictures drawn or formed in a way that makes it look like the pictures are moving
* Finding Nemo is an animated movie about a young fish that gets separated from its father.
vulgar – dirty, crude, or improper; dealing with rude or offensive matter
* Tyree does not like being around his friend’s family because all of his friend’s relatives are rude and uses vulgar language.
guidance – help; the act of leading someone through a situation or helping someone understand something
* Adelia would not have been able to understand calculus without the guidance of her tutor.
sexual content – images, language, or actions that are about sex; information or material that deals with sex
* When he was a child, Marty’s parents would not let him watch any TV shows or movies with sexual content.
violent – dealing with or showing physical harm or pain; aggressive or destructive force or actions
* Carmela was a violent person who often slapped and struck people when she got into arguments with them.
restricted – limited; only allowing certain people to see or be involved
* Douglas was placed on a restricted diet and could not eat foods that were high in salt or fat.
pornographic – related to sex and containing images or videos of sex that are not covered or censored; created for the purpose of showing sex
* Eleanor was shocked and angry when her co-workers forward to her a pornographic picture.
stay tuned – remain on this channel and keep watching; there is more to come; an expression used to indicate that more information is coming and that one should continue paying attention
* For the latest information on the newest technological devices, stay tuned and our technology reporter will tell you all about it
afraid – scared or feeling some fear; regretful, sorry, or wishing that one did not have to state something unpleasant
* The child is afraid of the dark and sleeps with a nightlight on in his room.
frightened – feeling an intense fear; terrified or very scared
* When her car skidded off the road in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, Minnie was frightened and thought that she might die.
consumer – someone who buys things for person use; a person who uses a product or service
* Andrea is a consumer of organic foods and products.
customer – someone who buys something specific or from a specific company or store
* The restaurant treated its customers well and offered frequent customers special deals.
What Insiders Know
A Network of Friends
One of the greatest honors a scientist can receive is to have some concept or idea named after him or her, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion. An even higher honor is to have your own number – some scientifically meaningful number that “bears” (has; uses) your name.
Robin Dunbar is an “anthropologist” (scientist who studies humans and cultures) who has “attained” (reached; accomplished; obtained) the honor of his own number. Dunbar’s number is 147.8.
So what does it mean? Basically, Dunbar “hypothesizes” (has a “guess” which can be supported by evidence) that the maximum number of friends the average human can have can be no greater than 150, “more or less” (approximately). According to Dunbar, we can’t “maintain” (keep) meaningful relationships with more than 150 people at any one time in our lives. That’s the limit of our “social network,” or the friends and family members we regularly “interact” (communicate) with.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network connecting people online, provides additional evidence in support of Dunbar’s Number. Dunbar himself found that the average number of friends people have on Facebook is 120 to 130. Of course, there are people who have 5,000 “friends,” but these are not actually people they have any real friendship or emotional closeness to.
We should not think that having less than 150 people in our “offline” (not connected to the Internet) and online network means we are somehow unusual. Dunbar’s number is a “maximum” (highest; top) number for the average human.