068 - Initialisms in Conversation: Party Culture + More

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

In the free part of this episode, you'll learn 10+ initialisms used in party situations. As a premium member, you'll learn many more.

068 - Initialisms in Conversation

Hi Everyone!

In this episode of the American English Podcast, we will talk about initialisms which are a type of abbreviation. The initialisms discussed are used in PRE-PARTY and PARTY situations.

In the first part of the discussion I explain the difference between initialism and acronym. I also explain a list of party initialisms (such as RSVP, BYOB, etc.). In the second part, you will hear a conversation with my mom using them all in a discussion about PARTY CULTURE IN THE U.S..


*****

Hi, everyone. How’s it going? This week, we’re going to do another Chats with Shana episode about a topic that I think is really important: Initialisms in conversation.

Now, I know that a lot of you probably saw the name of this podcast episode and hopped on over to another one just because you might not be familiar with the term initialisms. An initialism is an abbreviation that we use as regular vocabulary.

For example, if there’s someone that smells really bad and they’re near you, you might say, “Hmm, someone here has B.O.” B stands for body, the O stands for odor, and instead of saying body odor, we say B.O.. It means that they have stinky armpits, that they didn’t use deodorant, they didn’t wash themselves properly. And you get the point. So that is an initialism.

Get full transcript here.

FULL Transcript 

*****

Download the Full Mp3 and Transcript for this Episode 

*****

Full Lesson 

*****


068 – Initialisms in Conversation.mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

068 – Initialisms in Conversation.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Hi, everybody. My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting! Let’s do it.

Hi, everyone. How’s it going? This week, we’re going to do another Chats with Shana episode about a topic that I think is really important: Initialisms in conversation.

Now, I know that a lot of you probably saw the name of this podcast episode and hopped on over to another one just because you might not be familiar with the term initialisms. An initialism is an abbreviation that we use as regular vocabulary.

For example, if there’s someone that smells really bad and they’re near you, you might say, “Hmm, someone here has B.O.” B stands for body, the O stands for odor, and instead of saying body odor, we say B.O.. It means that they have stinky armpits, that they didn’t use deodorant, they didn’t wash themselves properly. And you get the point. So that is an initialism.

There is another term in English, which is acronym and research says that a lot of people in the United States actually use initialism and acronym interchangeably. Actually, they’re not exactly the same. An acronym is something like NASA. NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but we just say NASA. Nobody ever says the full term because it’s too long. But the thing is, it’s an acronym because we actually pronounce the word as it’s written, NASA. We don’t say N A S A. If we said N A S A, that would be an initialism. Acronyms and initialisms are both abbreviations. The important thing to remember here for this episode is that initialisms are words where we say the individual letters and we use these terms as vocabulary.

There are plenty of initialisms in American English that we actually use in regular conversation and I’m going to go through these today.

All I have in front of me is a list of terms and these are all used in spoken English. To make them simpler to process, I’ve divided the words into about five different categories and we’ll go through them one at a time.

In the free version of this episode, you’ll hear one of these five sections, which is party time. First, I’ll teach you a number of initialisms that can be used in pre-party or party situations. At the end, I will have a conversation with my mom using these terms to reinforce your learning and to give you a closer look into the American Party culture.

So if you’d like to gain access to the other four sections, which include everything from departments of the U.S. government to business, politics and health and even going to the movies. Be sure to sign up for premium content on americanenglishpodcast.com. Without any further ado, let’s jump in.

The first on the list we have is RSVP. When you’re invited to a party, whether it’s on Facebook or through an evite or through the snail mail, so through the regular post, you might see “RSVP by”- I don’t know – June 28 -on the bottom of the page.

RSVP is actually from French. It stands for “répondez-vous s’il vous plaît.” But I think we try and avoid saying the French, the French meaning of this term, so we’ll just say RSVP. So in spoken conversation we’ll treat this as a verb.

Can you RSVP by this date? Have you RSVPd to the party yet? In other words, have you responded to the invite yet? It’s very common to use this.

The next we have is ASAP or ASAP, some people might say.

And if you tell someone, “no, I haven’t RSVPed yet,” they might say, “hey, you need to do that ASAP!” ASAP meaning as soon as possible.

Also on an invitation, you might read BYOB. Also, if you’re talking to someone on the phone, they might reinforce the fact that the party is BYOB and BYOB stands for bring your own booze or bring your own beer, booze being alcohol. So you’re supposed to bring your own booze to the party. They will not provide that for you.

When you’re actually bringing beer to a party, or booze to a party, you might bring IPAs. That is Indian Pale Ale. It’s a type of beer with a lot of hops. It’s very hoppy. And I know in some countries they say IPA, but we do not say IPA, we just say IPA.

Also, before going into the party, you might need some extra cash, so you might need to stop at an ATM, which stands for Automated Teller Machine. Make sure to stop at the ATM!

When you get to a party, depending on whether it’s a house party or if it’s in a club, you might be ID-ed (carded), right. So ID can be used as a verb as well. So if you are ID-ed, it means that someone checks your ID to make sure that you are old enough to be there. So, for example, 21 years old, if alcohol is being served.

You might be ID-ed in a regular supermarket if you’re trying to purchase alcohol, or if you’re trying to buy cigarettes.

Inside of a party, you might see a DJ, which is a disc jockey. But we just say DJ. You might see a lot of PDA, public displays of affection. So maybe some people making out in a corner – who knows what – they’re displaying their affection to each other publicly. In a young relationship, you might hear one tell another, I don’t like PDA. Let’s not do PDA in front of my parents. I don’t want to kiss in front of them. Maybe I don’t even want to hold hands. I don’t like PDA.

On your way to a party, your friend might call you and say, “hey, what’s your ETA?” What’s your estimated time of arrival? Do you plan on coming in 15 minutes or 20 minutes? I’m just curious.

TGIF. Thank goodness it’s Friday.

When you’re at a club there might also be a VIP section, a very important person section, VIP, where specialty drinks are served for free, appetizers are for free, etc. At the party, you might also hear some RnB, which is a genre of music that stands for rhythm and blues.

Shana:
Hi, Mom.

Mara:
Hi, Shana.

Shana:
How’s it going?

Mara:
Good.

Shana:
Good. Okay, so my mom has absolutely no idea what we’re going to be talking about today. And I love that element of surprise just because the questions will come as a surprise to her and her answers will probably be as natural as they possibly can be. So we’re going to be talking about something called initialisms, which sounds frightening, probably. Are you familiar with …?

Mara:
I don’t really know what that is, no.

Shana:
An initialism is, for example, he has B.O. Instead of saying he has body odor. You just say he SVO. So I have a list of initialisms here. And they’re all related to pre party and party situations. First of all, I know you’re a party planner. Yes, I love doing it. And what do you love about planning parties?

Mara:
I just like the details. I love coming up with the theme and then deciding on a menu and then getting all the decorations put together and just seeing the whole thing come together and everybody enjoy themselves.

Shana:
So what sorts of parties do you like planning, family parties or for specific events?

Mara:
I’ve mostly done family parties. Just birthday parties. Kids’ ones are fun because you can really go with the theme. You can run with it and do the little hors-d’oeuvres and everything that follow(s) the theme and party (favors)…

Shana:
Like Julia’s.

Mara:
Yeah. Her little beach party for her first birthday. We had little starfish cookies and beach balls and everything. It’s just fun.

Shana:
So when you’re actually planning a party, how do you invite people? Do you send out evites? Do you create a group on Facebook or do you send out snail mail?

Mara:
I prefer snail mail, but I don’t think people really do that too much anymore. But it also goes along with the theme, coming up with a cute invitation, and you have it as a souvenir after the party’s over. Whereas Facebook or something, it’s just gone. I mean, you’d probably never look at it again.

Shana:
That’s very true. Do you usually tell people to RSVP on the invite via snail mail?

Mara:
Yes, definitely. RSVP and give them a date so that you have a head count. You know how many people are coming and how much food to buy and everything.

Shana:
And does it make you angry if people don’t RSVP?

Mara:
It’s a little frustrating because, you know, you don’t know if there’s going to be ten people or twenty five people. Like, you have to know. And, you know, instead of buying for 25 and only having 10 show up or something or …

Shana:
Has that happened before?

Mara:
Uh, Yes. Well, it’s happened with Thanksgiving dinner once.

Shana:
Oh, and that’s really frustrating because you buy excessive food anyway. So buying excess excess is just way over the top.

Mara:
And that was a matter of maybe, oh, are we going to have six people or I think it was 17 or something like that. It was like, please let me know and nobody would respond. And so anyway, then you have to plan for 17 regardless, just in case.

Shana:
Right. Also on invitations, sometimes you’ll see BYOB.

Mara:
Yeah, I haven’t seen that since college, but yes, OK, bring your own booze.

Shana:
Bring your own booze or bring your own beer, right?

Mara:
Right.

Shana:
Kind of a mix. Yeah. And I actually was going to say the same thing. It is kind of a collegy thing because, I mean, if you’re hosting a party normally as an adult, you would provide the food, not unless you specify it’s a potluck, and also you provide the drinks. But then again, I mean, I guess a casual event, you could say, hey, you know, BYOB. Like, if you call up a group of friends, maybe.

Mara:
Right. Yeah. If it’s a spontaneous party, you know, come on over, you know, BYOB. Yeah. A lot of times now if you just say we’re going to have a little get together, you just automatically bring something because you want to contribute something. So you’ll just show up with a six pack or something. You don’t want to come empty-handed.

Shana:
Yeah, that’s very true. So if you were invited to a party today, for example, say, at my sister-in-law, Katie’s family’s house. What would you bring? I mean, spontaneous event, just a six pack or would you…

Mara:
I would like to at least bring enough to share a little bit. So maybe like a 12 pack…

Shana:
12 pack of beer…

Mara:
So maybe I would only have one or two, but at least there’s enough there to offer other people that are there.

Shana:
To contribute something. And if you were invited to say, for example, a nicer dinner, you know, a dinner party at someone’s house. What do you think would be like an appropriate contribution to bring to that dinner?

Mara:
I always say, what can I bring? Usually if somebody is hosting dinner, they’ll say, no, don’t bother, don’t bring anything. I will still bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift.

Shana:
Yeah.

Mara:
I still don’t want to come empty-handed.

Shana:
I feel weird about it too.

Mara:
Maybe just, you know, a flower or just something, to come with something in my hand.

Shana:
Speaking of booze, one of the initialisms we talked about in this episode was IPAs. And I was curious, what’s your favorite beer? Do you have a favorite beer that’s brewed in the U.S.?

Mara:
I do. Samuel Adams, just Boston lager. That’s my favorite one in the U.S. But I like dark beer. So I like trying different ones.

Shana:
Is Smithwick’s from here?

Mara:
Smithwick’s is English, I guess (we looked it up, it’s Irish FYI). Yeah. And I love that.

Shana:
Do we have any good dark beers here that you’re familiar with?

Mara:
Well, Negro Modelo which I think is from Mexico. I don’t know if it’s brewed there, but anyway. There’s a lot of red and amber ales that are really good. I can’t think of the names of them. I like trying the different ones from the breweries that are…. I always ask for dark or amber because that’s what I prefer.

Shana:
Yeah, we have quite a few local breweries in the area. So it’s kind of nice to get that local flavor. Yeah, good. And IPAs? Do you like IPAs?

Mara:
I don’t even remember what that stands for, but…

Shana:
Indian Pale Ale.

Mara:
Oh it is? I don’t know. I mean, I love tasting them, just trying little sips of them, to see what I like.

Shana:
I like that that my mom just said she’s not even sure what it stands for because that’s the point I’m trying to make. People say IPA. We would say the abbreviated form more often than we would actually say the full meaning of the abbreviation. So there we go, IPA.

Shana:
The next question I have for you is when was the last time you were ID-ed?

Mara:
Oh my gosh. Well, actually today! At Target, I bought a bottle of rum as a birthday gift and I had to get my license out. But I think that’s just their, for their computer or whatever. But as far as somebody wondering if I’m of age to buy alcohol at like a Quickie Mart or something. Oh, gosh, I don’t know, 30 years ago? Too long ago.

Shana:
OK, but does every place in Northern California card you?

Mara:
I think they have to by law. If they get caught not asking they get in trouble and they can get their liquor license taken away. So they’ll ask for it and you pull it out before they even glance at it they say “okay, thank you!” They don’t even look at it because, I mean, they can look at me and tell that I’m old enough.

Shana:
Right. Yeah, it’s it’s interesting. I remember in Santa Barbara, it was very strict. Even if you were standing in line with somebody that had an ID and you were next to them, you had to show your ID also, even if you weren’t the one who was purchasing.

Mara:
And then the first, a little story here, if you want to hear. The first time I was actually of age – which is 21 in California – to go into a bar, I was so excited. I waited in line and I finally got up there and pulled out my ID and they looked at and said, this isn’t you and made me get out of line and leave. And it was me. It was my driver’s license.

Shana:
No!

Mara:
I was so disappointed.

Shana:
So they ID-ed you and then it was …

Mara:
Told me to get lost. This isn’t you.

Shana:
Oh, that’s such a bummer and lots of people do fake IDs, which is…

Mara:
Which I did, you know, up til I was 21 and then I finally got to use my real one and they didn’t take it.

Shana:
That’s funny. Yeah. I remember actually once going to the Melting Pot with the full family. Everyone was actually older than me and everyone over 21 and I was at the table, I was 20 I think at the time and everyone agreed okay yeah we’re gonna have wine and you can try and order wine too. And I tried to order a glass of white wine and they carded me. And I had this moment where I thought, you know, clearly the parents are here, the aunts and uncles and relatives. Everyone thinks it’s okay that I’m drinking at the table except you, you know, as the waiter or waitress. And I thought that was like kind of.. it’s a weird relationship, you know?

Mara:
I think it’s just somebody doesn’t wanna lose their job. You know. It’s like… that’s just the rule. I’m not going to be getting fired over it, you know?

Shana:
True. So 21 is the drinking age in California. And I think in most of the U.S. states.

Mara:
A lot of them are 18, I think.

Shana:
I don’t know, I’ll have to check. Anyway.

Shana:
Now, this is a little bit weird, but it fit in the category of parties. Now, I want you to think back to college when you were walked into a – actually, it doesn’t necessarily need to be college but I always think of this term with younger people. PDA. Do you find PDA awkward?

Mara:
Well, I didn’t when I was in college. I do now.

Shana:
OK.

Mara:
Yeah. I don’t know. It depends how graphic it is. If it’s just a peck on the cheek, that’s great. But you know, somebody making out on a park bench or something, I’d probably be like huh, you know, get a room.

Shana:
Right. Do you think that people in other countries find it less awkward?

Mara:
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been to say France and stuff, and…

Shana:
It’s normal.

Mara:
Yeah. I mean, I don’t think that they think it’s offensive or anything. I think it’s just normal there.

Shana:
Maybe Americans are just a little bit more prudish.

Mara:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I think so.

Shana:
Something we watch on TV and then in public, you just kind of keep it to yourself.

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
Yeah. Interesting. And when would you hear the term TGIF? Would you hear people actually say that?

Mara:
Oh heck yeah. In college every Friday. I still hear it. I still have friends that text me and say TGIF.

Shana:
Yeah. What’s that mean? Like, you know…

Mara:
Thank God it’s Friday. No more class! Yeah. Party time for three days.

Shana:
Yeah. I can imagine actually if you were at the grocery store buying a 12-pack of beer, that the person who’s checking you out would say, oh, you know, TGIF, right?

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
You know, it’s time to have fun.

Mara:
There’s actually a bar in Sacramento when we were in college called TGI Fridays. I mean, it was just that’s where you went on Friday. Right?

Shana:
TGIF!

Mara:
Free hors-d’oeuvres and $.50 beers or something. And everybody was celebrating because it was the weekend.

Shana:
Great. I know you’re a big fan of using ETA. What’s your ETA? You text that to me all the time. Now, I’m curious, who else do you use this with and why do you think it’s important?

Mara:
Well, I mean, it’s definitely important when you’re traveling. I mean, if you’re taking a flight, you have to know your ETA.

Shana:
Right. Your estimated time of arrival, just as a reminder.

Mara:
Yeah, yeah. But just if you’re expecting someone and you know, it’s like what time do you think they’ll come over. I don’t know, what’s your ETA? Just to have an idea when someone’s coming over. Yeah, that’s basically it.

Shana:
Yeah. You always ask Dad too. When are you going to be home so I can start cooking. What’s your ETA?

Mara:
Yeah, if I’m planning dinner and I need to know when to turn the oven on or when to, you know, start something I just… just to have an idea. You know, is it gonna be an hour, three hours? It’s like let me, you know… give me an ETA so I know when to start cooking.

Shana:
Right. Yeah. And the last here in this list of party initialisms is VIP. And I’m curious to know, have you ever felt like a VIP?

Mara:
No. Maybe at my wedding.

Shana:
OK.

Mara:
Otherwise…

Shana:
I hope everyone feels like they’re a VIP at their wedding.

Mara:
Yeah, I felt pretty important; the other day was my birthday and my whole family got together and had a big picnic for me, that was awesome. And I felt very special and important. Maybe more special than VIP.

Shana:
Walking down a red carpet in your living room…

Mara:
Yeah, no.

Shana:
Ok. All right. Well, that’s great. Well, thank you for sharing all of your personal experiences with these terms.

Mara:
You’re welcome. That was fun.

Shana:
Great, great insight into little aspects of the American culture. For the rest of you who are interested in moving onto the premium content, you will hear a further conversation with my mom about some other terms. The answers are great and you’ll learn a lot from them as well. So if you want them in context, be sure to access the premium content at americanenglishpodcast.com.

Shana:
That’s it for the first section. We’ll now move on to the bonus material, which is the second section of this podcast episode. Just like in the first section, I’ll begin by sharing the definitions and explanations for the rest of the initialisms. At the end, I will have a discussion with my mom using some of the most common initialisms within these lists. Be sure to listen to both parts to reinforce your learning.

The first I put into a category called sports, but of course you can use these outside of sports. So the first is MVP today. Say for example, I was on a baseball team and one of the players on the team regularly hit home runs. Perhaps he hit the most home runs out of everyone else, every other player in the league, we might say he’s our MVP.

Also for sports, you might be familiar with the NHL, the National Hockey League. The NBA, the National Basketball Association. The NFL, the National Football League. MLB, Major League Baseball and also MMA, mixed martial arts.

So it’s very unlikely for us to say the full terms, they’re too long. We just use the abbreviated form or the initialism.

SUV. I have an SUV. An SUV is not necessarily a car, a car is closer to the ground. SUV, which is a sports utility vehicle, is one that’s a little bit higher and there’s usually a little bit more space inside of it. So perhaps the trunk is a little bit bigger. You can fit more stuff in there. Maybe there are more seats in the back for passengers.

UV: UV stands for ultra violet. Ultra violet, according to Wikipedia, is a form of electromagnetic radiation. And of course, it’s often talked about on weather channels or when talking about global warming.

Then we have SPF. If, for example, you’re going to the beach, someone might say, are you bringing sunscreen? Right. Sunscreen is that cream that we use to protect our bodies from UV rays and the SPF is written on the front. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. So we’ll say, hey, what’s the SPF on your sunscreen? And someone might say 50, 60, 70, 80, whatever it is.

The last I mentioned is body odor, B.O, which I also put in the category of sports, because if you’re playing sports and you don’t use deodorant, you might have some bad B.O..

The next category I created is departments of the United States government and really anything political and business related.

If you’re watching the news, you might hear a lot of these terms.

The first being POW. So prisoner of war.

MIA is missing in action, which is a term we would use in a political situation, especially in war times. However, MIA is often used also in regular conversation.

So for example, I’m thinking back to college and I remember one time my good friend Sean drank a little bit too much and he was MIA. He was missing in action, so to speak. Nobody could find him. Nobody knew where he was, he was MIA. Even if you haven’t talked to someone for a while, if they’ve been off of social media. You can say, oh, you’ve been so MIA. Like, where have you been? Like you’ve been missing in action, right? But we wouldn’t say the full term, we would just say MIA.

The next one is CIA, which is an organization or intelligence service provided to the U.S. government. And it stands for Central Intelligence Agency.

FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation. They investigate crime scenes. There’s detectives in there as part of that bureau.

The DMV is another thing that you’ll need to be familiar with if you come to the U.S.. It stands for the Division of Motor Vehicles, but it’s the place that you need to go to to do anything car related. If you need a new driver’s license, to get your permit, if you want to take the driver’s test. You can also register to vote at the DMV, they’re in charge of identity cards. It’s a very important location, organization and yeah, normally every city has a DMV.

The FDA, you’ll probably see that on some food products; FDA approved. When I was living in New York, a friend of a friend created a pill that was designed to get rid of a hangover. When we first met up with him the first question everyone wanted to know was, is it FDA approved? Does the Food and Drug Administration approve of the product that you have? In order for some sort of product to be sold on shelves in the U.S., it needs to be FDA approved.

So you can’t have any illegal substances in there. It has to go through a series of tests and then you’ll see it in the stores.

Now, I’m not going to go through a massive list of these departments and organizations. I’m just going to do the ones that are very common that I see and hear all the time.

The next one is FFA: Future Farmers of America. And it’s very common to see FFA organizations inside of schools in my area. So, for example, when I was in high school, right in the middle of my school, there was a farm. So there were goats and pigs and there was the FFA organization. These were people that were interested in agriculture and farming and livestock. And every time there is a county fair in a town, you usually see the presence of the FFA. They might take care of a cow, for example, for a year, and then they’ll sell their cow or pig to butchers or to grocery stores for profit. And so that’s a fairly big organization.

PTA: My mom was part of the PTA when I was in school, and every school has a PTA. It’s a parent teacher association, and they get together regularly to talk about different activities that will go on at the school and events.

TSA is also an initialism that you might see at an airport. It stands for Transportation Security Administration. You’ll definitely have to go through a TSA checkpoint when you go through an airport and this is where passengers are screened to make sure they’re not carrying any items that are not allowed on the plane, such as liquids that are over three ounces or aerosol cans, guns, drugs, all of that stuff.

Swat, you know, the SWAT team, if you watch action movies. SWAT stands for special weapons and tactics. Usually you see a SWAT team come into very dangerous situations.

HR is a department in all companies, you’re probably familiar with this. HR stands for Human Resources, but we just say HR. So go talk to the HR department if you’re having difficulties with your boss. Perhaps they can help you solve the problem.

Titles: Chief Executive Officer, CEO. Chief Financial Officer, CFO. Chief Technical Officer, CTO and Chief Marketing Officer, CMO.

The last on this list we have is PR. So if we say something has bad PR, it’s as if it has a bad reputation or someone is giving it a bad reputation. Like I thought, for example, before going to Colombia, that a lot of the different TV programs gave Colombia a bad rep. They would only show the aspects of crime and drug culture there. It was getting bad PR, but when I actually researched from a different perspective, (a) travelers’ perspective, I realized, wow, it should have better PR in general so that more people will go there and visit because it is a beautiful, beautiful country.

Okay. The next category we have is medical.

Aids is an initialism and it stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus is what it stands for, but we just say HIV.

You also might hear the term RN in the doctor’s office. RN stands for registered nurse. So the RN might be the person who is taking care of you when you visit the doctor.

ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. When you’re in elementary school, a lot of times kids complain about other kids having ADD. That kid has ADD, he can’t pay attention in class. He’s fidgeting in his seat. He’s falling off his chair for no reason. He has attention deficit disorder. He cannot pay attention well.

There is another term, ADHD, which is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which probably would be more appropriate to use to describe these hyperactive kids. But mostly in conversation, we just say ADD. I’m not sure exactly how inaccurate that is, but we use ADD much more than ADHD.

A C-section which stands for caesarean section…. When you’re pregnant and need to give birth, instead of having a natural birth, you might have a C-section. And that is when the center section of the body is sliced open and the baby is removed from the uterus rather than from down below.

Of course, there are written initialisms on medical forms such as DOB: What’s your date of birth? Right. What’s your DSB? But we wouldn’t actually say that. We would just say, when were you born? Same thing with M.D., like a medical doctor. Like we might see that written on a form, although we would just call someone a doctor if we saw them. So these are just written ones that you might see DOB and M.D.

The next category is movie time. So when you go to the movies in the United States or if you’re just looking at a movie on Rotten Tomatoes, you might want to know what type of film it is, who it is geared towards.

Is it for children? Is it for teenagers? Is it for adults? If a movie is rated G, which happens on a lot of Disney movies, you’ll know that it’s for general audiences. That’s for families. It’s for little children. It’s for everybody.

PG is parental guidance suggested. So some aspects of the movie might not be suited for small children. PG-13 means that parents should be strongly cautioned, although if you’re 13 years old, it should be suitable for you. If a movie is rated R, it means that it’s restricted. You need to come with a parent or guardian to see a movie that is rated R and you’ll have to show your ID if you’re with a group of friends.

The last list I have is “other”. And some of these are really fun actually.

When you’re in college, you might get an MBA, a Masters of Business Administration. You might get an M.A.. I have my M.A. in Germanics. You might have a B.A.. I have my B.A. in Global Studies or political science. You might have a B.S., right. Bachelor of Science, which is funny because B.S. also means bullshit. I have my PHD, which means you have your doctorate of philosophy.

All right, next one. Hold on a second. I’m gonna turn on the AC. AC is air conditioner. It’s very hot in here. AC is actually on this list. So scratch that one off.

FYI: For your information.

Imagine that your good friend has a daughter and the daughter is really upset because she failed an important exam. Your friend might tell you, oh, you can go in and talk to her to try and make her feel better. But FYI, she also recently broke up with her boyfriend, so she’s very upset about that, also. So do not mention anything about Jon or Chris or whatever his name is.

FYI right, just extra a little piece of information that might be useful for you. Just FYI, remember, don’t mention it.

DIY, if you’ve watched home and garden television you probably have heard the term DIY used regularly. So DIY stands for Do It Yourself, and DIY projects are projects that you do on your own. So this week we had a lot of DIY projects at home in my house. We painted the walls in the front room of the house, we did not hire someone to come in to paint the walls. We did it ourselves.

Lucas also recently took on a DIY project, which is to build a smoker. So he bought an old propane tank that he’s going to convert into the main barrel of the smoker. The thing is, he needs to weld it. So welding is when you cut through metal and he’s decided to do that on his own as well.

AKA: If you’re talking about someone that has two names (or a nickname), like in last week’s episode I was talking about Joey Chestnut. I could mention Joey Chestnut, a.k.a. Jaws. Right, so also known as “Jaws;” people call him that. Aka “jaws.

AC means air conditioner. Turn on the AC, it’s so hot in here!

DL: DL is the down low. Keep something on the DL means to keep something a secret, to not go around telling everybody. Keep it on the DL.

BS means bullshit. If someone’s saying something ridiculous, you can just say BS. That just doesn’t make any sense.

OCD. A lot of times people use this term liberally to describe someone who is very particular about the way they want things done. A good friend of mine is OCD about cleaning. So she wants everything to be meticulous in her house. You will not find dust on the baseboards in her rooms, her fans are clean, her desk is always cleared off. She’s very OCD about cleaning.

If I go to an AirBnB or a BnB, a bed and breakfast, I might put on my PJs at night. Pjs being my pajamas. And I might eat a P.B. and J; peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

UFO, Unidentified Flying Object.

S&M: Sadomasochism.

S.O.S. you might see someone on a beach, that wants to be saved, write S.O.S in the sand, which stands for Save Our Souls.

SOB: He’s an SOB, right? He’s a son of a bitch. But it’s probably better with the initialism.

SOL: Say for example, my car is stalled on the side of the highway and I have no money. I have no spare tire. I don’t know how to change a tire. I don’t have cell phone service. I would say I’m SOL, which means I am shit out of luck. Although people don’t say that, they just say I’m SOL, like I have no solution. I’m in a very difficult, difficult situation.

Shana:
On a website, you might also see an FAQ page, a frequently asked questions page.

Shana:
On vacation, you can stay in an RV, a recreational vehicle.

Shana:
The next section we have is medical, and as you can probably tell from the definitions, I didn’t list a lot of medical terms. There are so many different medical terms, especially treatments and diseases and equipment that are abbreviated for simplicity. So I’m just going to ask my mom a few questions with some of the very common initialisms I shared in the definitions list.

Shana:
When you think of ADD, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Mara:
I picture a little boy in kindergarten.

Shana:
That’s exactly what I said. Exactly what I said.

Mara:
Really?

Shana:
Now describe.

Mara:
Just some little super rambunctious little boy, tearing around, climbing on the chairs, throwing things, pulling the girls hair. Just not sitting still, not listening to the teacher.

Shana:
Ok. All right. Well, so I think that definitely is very clear. We use ADD to describe the sort of hyperactivity in little kids. It’s very most common. I don’t really think of adults having ADD.

Mara:
I think they do as well. They have a hard time focusing, they’re constantly having to be busy and entertained and they just don’t relax.

Shana:
So would you say, like, if some, I don’t know, 45 year old man was in the room and he was kind of fidgety and, you know, overactive? Would you say he has ADD?

Mara:
Maybe in my head. I would think it.

Shana:
All right. That’s kind of funny because we don’t really use the term ADHD. Right?

Mara:
I think that’s more medical or more professional. OK. But yeah, I think that’s what you’re supposed to say.

Shana:
Yeah. OK, good. Now the next one is OCD. Do you have any OCD tendencies?

Mara:
I kind of do, yeah. I think as I get older I, I like my house clean and neat and when I’m watching someone walk across my living room floor with dirty shoes, my I’m sort of like err inside, like no you’re getting dirt on my floor. Yeah. Just, I just like things neat and organized. So when things are not neat and organized, it sort of is a little bit unnerving to me.

Shana:
So does that OCD kick in when you’re at other people’s houses?

Mara:
Not as much. I think maybe it’s just my own home,

Shana:
Ok.

Mara:
But uhh I don’t know…maybe a little bit..

Shana:
A little bit in my kitchen?

Mara:
A little bit.

Shana:
A little bit. OK. All right. And do you know anyone that has OCD about other things? Like can you think of certain people that you’re like, wow, that person’s OCD.

Mara:
I actually have friends that will say, “oh, I’m OCD” because I think a lot of us have things that we’re very particular about, but nobody like that’s medically described as OCD, where they have to you know…

Shana:
…they’re diagnosed…

Mara:
… unlock the door 25 times. And then, you know, spin around and like those kind of weird things.

Shana:
I see. But you did watch a show where one of the characters had really bad OCD…

Mara:
It was called The Monk, and it was a detective in San Francisco and he was just super OCD. And it was entertaining.

Shana:
What was what was he OCD about?

Mara:
For example, he would open his closet and he would have 10 suits that were exactly spaced six inches apart.

Shana:
And oh, my goodness.

He would you know… They’re fresh from the dry cleaners and he would have to, if one of them moved a little bit, he would have to go back back in and put it back exactly where it was.

Shana:
Yikes.

Mara:
You know, he couldn’t stand touching anything. He had his assistant next to him handing him wipes every time he touched something or he wouldn’t shake hands, I don’t know, just little things. Little things that drove him crazy that most people just take for granted, you know.

Shana:
So germaphobe also.

Mara:
Very much.

Shana:
Then the last one for the medical section is actually C-section. It’s very common to say this instead of saying cesarean. “Did you have a caesarean?” We wouldn’t say that. We would say, “did you have a C-section?” And I’m curious to know, did you have a C-section when you gave birth to…

Mara:
I did not. No.

Shana:
OK. Is it common in the U.S. for people to get C-sections?

Mara:
It’s common. And I think most of the time it’s something that the doctor will… if someone’s been in labor for too long, they don’t – (cough) excuse me – want to risk the baby’s health. And so they’ll do a C-section or, you know, if you’ve already had one, then they say, well, you’ve already got that scar. Let’s just take the next baby the same way or…

Shana:
Yeah, it’s it’s pretty interesting, the place where I gave birth to Julia, they have an award for having the lowest number of C-sections (in Northern California), because I think there’s a lot of pride in both the birthing centers and hospitals when women give birth naturally. I think that’s kind of like, you know, we succeeded. We did it the natural way.

Mara:
And then C-section. It’s, I mean, it’s surgery. You’ve got to go into the operating room and, you know, it’s full on surgery and then it takes, I guess, a lot longer term supposedly to recover. Right.

Shana:
And you could also say OR, right?

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
The operating room.

Mara:
Right.

Shana:
And ER. Emergency room. These are some other really important medical terms. Definitely. But yeah, definitely a harder recovery process, something that I don’t think anyone roots for.

Shana:
The next section we have is movies. Can you think of an example of a G-rated movie that you liked?

Mara:
I love Babe, the Pig.

Shana:
Babe.

Mara:
I love The Lady and the Tramp.

Shana:
Are they normally cartoons or animated or…?

Mara:
They’re made for children. But I appreciate some of the nuances that are in there that kids probably don’t even get. But they’re just cute. Like Toy Story.

Shana:
Do you think any of those are rated P.G.?

Mara:
I don’t think so.

Shana:
I think Shrek would be PG, don’t you? Like they definitely have more references for …

Mara:
Yeah, I’m not sure.

Shana:
Yeah, it’s kind of a funky line between G and PG, you know, they’re harmless and wholesome films. We’ll just skip PG then. So she liked Toy Story and I definitely love Toy Story as well.

Shana:
When you were 13 years old, do you remember going to the movies or 13, 14, 15 around that age?

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
Ok, and do you remember them ever carding you or somehow checking to see if you were 13 years old to get into a PG-13 movie?

Mara:
No, in fact, I’m not even sure they had PG-13. They probably had PG rating. But no, I mean, like, I went and saw Pippi Longstocking, which is pretty harmless. Mm hmm. And then, of course, 14, 15, 16, I was in high school and it was, you know, Star Wars and stuff like that.

Shana:
Okay. That’s probably PG-13, you think? Maybe.

Mara:
Now probably. Yeah. But I mean, they did have rated R, which you had to be 17 and I think they did check IDs. I don’t think I ever tried to get into movies early.

Shana:
All right. Speaking of PG-13 movies, I remember actually you guys, well as a family, we went to see Titanic in 1997 when it came out and I was 8 or 9 years old and I actually just looked this up. Titanic was rated PG-13 for disaster-related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality and brief language, which I’m not sure what that is.

Shana:
But I remember actually sitting in that movie, you know – as an 8 or 9 year old – and there were certain scenes like there was… they were having sexual intercourse and I remember thinking that he was killing her. And I thought, like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is happening. Freaking out in my seat. Right afterwards, they both walked out and they were completely fine. And I was like, what just happened in there?

Shana:
Which is just kind of funny because it was intended, you know, for someone that was, you know, 13 years old, they said that’s that’s the suggested age for it. But it meant nothing being younger than that.

Mara:
Just PG, parental guidance is suggested is what I think they say. So yeah, you know if you’re concerned about your kids seeing something like that, then maybe skip it.

Shana:
Right. The next list is departments and politics, etc. So you used to work at the DMV, right?

Mara:
Yes.

Shana:
And what did you do there?

Mara:
I worked at the driver’s license window giving people written driving tests. And then when they came back from their actual driving test, I would take their picture and give them their driver’s license.

Shana:
And did you like the DMV?

Mara:
I actually really did.

Shana:
Oh, that’s weird.

Mara:
It was. Well, I know. I was, well I worked there two summers in a row. So I was 15 and 16 years old in high school. And I don’t know, I was just busy, it went fast. I actually just enjoyed it, correcting tests and giving people eye exams and taking their pictures and I don’t know.

Shana:
Nice. The next one is – this is gonna kind of hop around back and forth. Where do you normally see FFA?

Mara:
Well, in high school we had an FFA department. I don’t think it’s there anymore, they replaced it with a football field. But there are a lot of people in Fairfield that lived on farms and they would raise their animals at schools. They kept them at school and went to different events and stuff. And I really didn’t know too much of what they did because I didn’t personally know anybody in it. But…

Shana:
Okay, yeah, it was kind of the center of Armijo, like it felt like. I think just because the farm was in the center of the school and you can smell it when you’re walking by, it stunk. And we also hung out in the parking lot. And I think there were some of the cowboys at my school that would drive in with their pickup trucks and have haystacks in the back.

Mara:
I think that was more high school than mine. Ours was different.

Shana:
Kind of funny. All right. So the next one is: Have you ever been stopped by the TSA? Yes, well …

Mara:
Well, is that an American thing because I’ve been stopped in Canada before for having the alarms going off when I was wearing overalls and it had a big buckle on it. Is that what you’re talking about?

Shana:
Yes.

Mara:
Yeah. Yeah. And they couldn’t figure out why I kept going off.

Shana:
Because you were wearing overalls. Alarm. Alarm. These are old-fashioned. You’re out of style, woman!

Mara:
It had a big belt buckle.

Shana:
That’s funny.

Mara:
But in the United States, no. I think just the airline that I usually use, I’m considered a frequent flyer and they know us. And so I’m able to skip all that. So, luckily.

Shana:
Yeah, that’s good.

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
When Drew and I were in school, you were really involved in PTA, right?

Mara:
Yes, always.

Shana:
What did you guys do? What is PTA?

Mara:
It was the parent teacher association. So it was…. A lot of the parents were very involved in this school and all the extra curricular activities. We put on the walkathon, dances, you know, sold T-shirts and just to raise money for the school for book fairs and just all kinds of things.

Shana:
And what is the walkathon?

Mara:
So every year we’d have a big carnival and the kids would go around and try and collect money from their friends and grandparents and neighbors say, you know, if I walk a mile, will you sponsor me? You know? And they’ll say, sure, I’ll give you a dollar for every mile you walk. Right. So then all the kids go out there and walk and then they go back and collect the money that they were sponsored.

Shana:
Yeah. Which is great because it gets kids out there doing exercise and also, you know, gives funding to school programs.

Mara:
Yeah. You and Dad always loved, they had a cakewalk. That was…

Shana:
I didn’t do the walkathon. We just walked in circles to win cakes.

Mara:
You and Dad would like be the last ones there and come home with six cakes.

Shana:
Yeah, I remember that. That’s for sure. Okay. So you liked being part of PTA?

Mara:
I loved it. I loved being involved. It was a great school and a lot of great families and got to know the parents.

Shana:
It’s mostly in elementary school, right?

Mara:
That was elementary school. Yeah.

Shana:
Do they have PTA in middle school and high school?

Mara:
I don’t think so.

Shana:
Parents kind of steer away? Kids don’t really want them …

Mara:
Parents don’t want to be there and the kids don’t want them there.

Shana:
Exactly, exactly. Okay, well, let’s move on to the last section. The last section is other. So these are just random terms. I couldn’t really figure out a category to put them under, but they’re fun. What degree did you get from college?

Mara:
I got a B.A.

Shana:
And what did you get your B.A. in?

Mara:
I had journalism as my major and I had English and psychology as minors.

Shana:
(A) Lot of stuff.

Mara:
Yeah, well, I went to two different colleges and the first college I went to they considered journalism a B.S., which is a Bachelor of Science. And so I took a bunch of science classes and then I switched schools and it was a B.A.. So then I had all these psychology classes and so anyway…

Shana:
So you just figured…

Mara:
I’d keep them and have a minor in psychology and switched over to arts.

Shana:
Mm hmm. And have you ever used any of those, the psychology or English or…?

Mara:
Not really. I worked at the newspaper for a while after college and didn’t really get into a department where I was writing. I was just selling ads. Which I didn’t want to do.

Shana:
My mom also did a – was it a degree program in interior design or what was that exactly?

Mara:
It’s called certification. It’s through the state of California. I became a certified interior interior designer.

Shana:
Mm hmm. And so nowadays, I mean, you should see the number of DIY projects that she she does on a regular basis. What sorts of DIY projects have you done recently?

Mara:
Well, with the COVID thing and having both of us – my husband and I – at home, we decided to build a playhouse for our granddaughters, which turned into…

Shana:
Yeah, it’s really nice, like I would live in there happily.

Mara:
Yeah. So that was really fun. I decided I would make birthday cards and just Christmas cards and stuff instead of buying them. I like water coloring, so I made a whole bunch of cards. So everybody will be getting homemade cards for a couple years.

Shana:
She’s a very good artist.

Mara:
Then I made wooden blocks that somehow … I started off making a perpetual calendar that turned into kids blocks that I actually had a lot of fun making. Just decoupaged and painted. Anyway…

Shana:
Nice. Yeah. So those are all definitely DIY projects. She did them by herself and they were fun to do, right?

Mara:
Yeah, very fun.

Shana:
Yeah. Very cool. What are some things that you keep on the DL?

Mara:
So something you would keep on the DL would be for example, someone’s pregnant but they don’t want to tell anybody cause, you know, until the first trimester is over. So they, you know, maybe somebody told me, but it’s a secret. So I won’t say anything.

Shana:
Right. So you keep it on the DL?

Mara:
Yeah. We let them be the ones who announce it when the time is right.

Shana:
Mm hmm. Which is really common in the US. Definitely. People usually wait until three months passes before they share the news.

Shana:
When growing up, did you have a lot of PB & Js?

Mara:
Oh, my gosh, yes. We had them every single day from first grade through eighth grade. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. My mom packed it.

Shana:
Was it squished by the time you got to school, where you can see the jelly on the inside?

Mara:
Yes. Like all sweaty inside the bag and to this day, they kind of just gross me out.

Shana:
Really?

Mara:
Yeah.

Shana:
Oh, I love PB & Js.

Mara:
But I had them everyday and like I, eww, I can just smell how they smelled coming out of the little sandwich bag after being …

Shana:
Skippy? Did you use Skippy or JIF?

Mara:
Oh, I don’t know.

Shana:
You don’t know.

Mara:
Whatever the…probably the generic brand back then.

Shana:
Yeah. Nice. Last question. In summertime, do you blast the AC?

Mara:
I personally don’t like it, but Joe does and I know a lot of people do. And you go into the stores and it’s blasting and I personally don’t like cold air blasting on me, so. No.

Shana:
Right.

Mara:
Not a fan. I prefer to have open windows.

Shana:
Right. We’ve been blasting the AC a lot, and I’m really afraid to get our next energy bill. How much do you normally pay on your energy bill?

Mara:
Actually, we have solar panels, so we just got our last bill and it was zero.

Shana:
Wow.

Mara:
Yeah, but that was before this heat wave hit. So I’m sure next month it’ll be …

Shana:
$12.

Mara:
Yeah, really. Maybe. I think the highest one we’ve had since we got solar is maybe $29 in the middle of winter.

Shana:
Ok, yeah. We’ll … I’ll need to talk about that in a later episode. All right. Thank you so much for coming on to the podcast today. It was very nice to have you here and hear about your experiences.

Mara:
You’re welcome. It was fun. Thank you.

Shana:
You’re welcome. All right. Until next time, bye!

Thank you for listening to this episode of the American English Podcast. Remember, it’s my goal here to not only help you improve your listening comprehension, but to show you how to speak like someone from the States. If you want to receive the full transcript for this episode, or you just want to support this podcast, make sure to sign up to premium content on americanenglishpodcast.com. Thanks and hope to see you soon!

Automatically convert your audio files to text with Sonix. Sonix is the best online, automated transcription service.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Sonix has the world’s best audio transcription platform with features focused on collaboration. Are you a radio station? Better transcribe your radio shows with Sonix. Rapid advancements in speech-to-text technology has made transcription a whole lot easier. Here are five reasons you should transcribe your podcast with Sonix. Create and share better audio content with Sonix. Sonix converts audio to text in minutes, not hours. More computing power makes audio-to-text faster and more efficient. Do you have a lot of background noise in your audio files? Here’s how you can remove background audio noise for free.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2020—it’s fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your audio to text, try Sonix today.


[/mepr-show

Your Host

Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

Recent Episodes

Want the Transcript + Bonus Material?

Become a Premium Member in the Classroom