076 - Portmanteaus with Liz

In this episode, you'll hear Liz and I play a game using COMMON PORTMANTEAUS IN ENGLISH!

The American English Podcast

The American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Hi Everyone!

In this episode, Liz and I are going to play a game with common portmanteaus. The word portmanteau originally comes from French, and from my understanding, it’s sort of a leather bag that you can carry on vacations, that you can travel with and you can shove stuff inside of it.

In English, however, a portmanteau is a combination of two or more words to make one word.

I gave a few examples of this in previous episodes. For example, in episode number 70, I mentioned that Elvis Presley launched his career playing a genre of music called “rockabilly.” The word rockabilly combines the words rock and hillbilly …

Vocabulary
  • Brexit 
  • Bromance 
  • Infomercial
  • Jazzercise
  • Romcom
  • Appletini 
  • Craisin
  • Cronut
  • Fudgsicle
  • Froyo
  • Pluot
  • Spam 
  • Spork
  • Tofurky
  • Turducken 
  • Anklet
  • Bacne 
  • Bodacious
  • Brainiac 
  • Cankle
  • Chillax 
  • Fugly
  • Hangry 
  • Manny 
  • Movember
  • Pleather 
  • To sext 
  • Shart 
  • Skort
  • Smog
  • Workaholic 
  • Email
  • Podcast 
  • Freemium
  • Pinterest
  • Netflix
  • Yelp 
  • Texmex 
  • Parasailing
  • Motel

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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! In this episode, Liz and I are going to play a game with common portmanteaus. The word portmanteau originally comes from French, and from my understanding, it’s sort of a leather bag that you can carry on vacations, that you can travel with and you can shove stuff inside of it.

In English, however, a portmanteau is a combination of two or more words to make one word.

I gave a few examples of this in previous episodes. For example, in episode number 70, I mentioned that Elvis Presley launched his career playing a genre of music called “rockabilly.” The word rockabilly combines the words rock and hillbilly, and the genre combines influences from rock music with country. So the word makes sense. Rockabilly is a portmanteau.

In episode number 58, I talked about laws regarding exotic animal ownership in US states, and in the chat I mentioned that there are even “zonkeys” and “zorses” in the US, which are both portmanteaus. Zonkeys are hybrids of donkeys with zebras, and zorses are hybrids of horses with zebras. They look actually very cool, just take a look at the images on my Instagram for episode number 58. My Instagram you can find @americanenglishpodcast.

So when animals are cross-bred, it’s common to create portmanteaus out of the two names of the original animal. So you may have heard of ligers, which is an offspring of a lion and a tiger, or even a labradoodle, a mix between a labrador – dog – and a poodle.

In pop culture, a lot of Americans and pop culture magazines like to create portmanteaus of iconic couples. For example, when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were together, we called them “Bennifer.” Or when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were a couple, we called them “Brangelina.”

Anyway, today, Liz is going to be on the show and we will be talking about portmanteaus that are commonly used in conversation. So I actually found a massive list of portmanteaus in English on Wikipedia and took out 40 that I find very common. We will be playing a game with these words. All right? Let’s welcome Liz.

Shana:
Hi, Liz.

Liz:
Hi, Shana.

Shana:
Welcome back on the podcast.

Liz:
Thanks for having me.

Shana:
Basically, today we’re going to be talking about portmanteaus. Had you heard of portmanteaus before?

Liz:
No, that is not a word that is in my vocabulary.

Shana:
OK. It’s actually not something that I think people normally talk about. They use these words…

Liz:
Yeah, no. When you said like, oh, it’s words like “froyo” and things like that, I was like I couldn’t even think of anything else because it’s just so ingrained in my vocabulary. I use these all the time, I didn’t even think of these as being separate types of words.

Shana:
Exactly. So I think that’s why the list is just really fun to kind of go through. I didn’t look at the list too in depth again after I kind of picked from that Wikipedia page. But I know they’re funny and I don’t know necessarily both of the words that were combined in order to create them. So I think that it’s going to be kind of funny.

Shana:
Let’s go through the directions:

Shana:
From the list of portmanteaus, I will choose a portmanteau for Liz and she will try and guess the two words that were combined to create the word.

Shana:
She will then have to say something about the word, and she can say whatever she wants. So this will kind of be spontaneous; maybe something that comes to her mind when she hears it or potentially use it in a story, or just a sentence.

Shana:
In any case, there will be two points. So one for guessing the two words used in the portmanteau and one point for coming up with a use for it. And then, of course, we will switch after her turn is over, so she will pick a word out for me. Does that sound good?

Liz:
That sounds good. I was hoping that this wasn’t just a pop quiz for me.

Shana:
OK. No, no, no, no. You get to do it for me too and see how stumped I am with some of these. All right. So we have this list in front of us. Do you have your list open?

Liz:
Yes.

Shana:
OK, we’ll start with hangry.

Liz:
So this happens to me a lot. It’s hungry and angry. You put it together, you’re hangry. So you’re angry because you’re hungry. Frequently, especially when we’re on vacation… You know, in the morning when you don’t really have breakfast yet and you’re getting ready, you’re trying to plan the day. And I just start to get upset about, like… “OK, let’s let’s just get going. Like, we got to get out there. We got to go see stuff.” I’m getting frustrated because I am hungry. I haven’t eaten that morning. We need to get down to breakfast and I will calm down.

Shana:
So I love that term. I don’t know when this term was actually created. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, like it was definitely in the past ten years.

Liz:
Yeah.

Shana:
But it’s something that I definitely relate to as well. You know, people become very irritable when they don’t have food. That’s one of the reasons I always carry snacks with me. If you look inside my purse, I have like five granola bars, fruit snacks, fruit in general to avoid that. Do you normally carry stuff around with you to not get hangry?

Liz:
No, I just let it ride.

Shana:
Nice. All right. So you get two points for that. Good use and the words are correct. Hungry and angry, make hangry. OK, all right. Your turn. You get to choose one.

Liz:
Let’s go with workaholic.

Shana:
Ok, so, workaholic. I think this one might be even easy for the listeners, combines work and alcoholic.

Shana:
So an alcoholic is, of course, someone who is addicted to alcohol or who wouldn’t be able to control their intake of alcohol. And so when you are a workaholic, it’s also when you overwork, when you you know, you can’t really stop. You can’t control yourself. So someone that might work up until maybe, I don’t know, 11 o’clock at night and then wake up first thing in the morning, opening their phone and checking their email, we would call them a workaholic.

Shana:
An example of it? I mean, I guess that’s a good example of it, right? Good enough?

Liz:
Yeah.

Shana:
Do I get two points?

Liz:
I’d say you get two points. Maybe one and a half, there was no concrete example.

Shana:
No, no, no. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Who’s a workaholic? OK, let’s think about this. I don’t even know people that are workaholics. Well, I do know that Liz’s boss writes to her on weekends and asks her to complete tasks. So I guess that is kind of forcing you to be a workaholic. Normally, I think workaholics are workaholics by choice, though, I don’t think you seem like the type of person that would choose to spend your Saturday doing law paperwork.

Liz:
No, I would not choose that. But when you wake up to 10 emails at 6 a.m. on a Sunday, you respond.

Shana:
All right. So Liz is a workaholic, not by choice, but by force. So do I get two? Can I get two?

Liz:
You get two.

Shana:
Thank you. All right, next one. Ooh bacne.

Liz:
Bacne. So bacne is a combination of the word back, b-a-c-k. So your… Behind your front of the human body, your midsection, the back part of your midsection, behind part of your midsection. I guess I shouldn’t use the word in the explanation.

Liz:
And acne – So when you have lots of zits and pimples, blemishes all over your face. So bacne is when you have acne on your back.

Shana:
Yes, not very attractive.

Liz:
So an example of bacne… I guess there’s no like example that’s not kind of gross, but my mom used to tell me that when she and my dad were younger – they met and they were like 21 – and my dad was still like playing sports and stuff, he would sometimes get bacne, and then she enjoyed getting to pop the pimples on his back. Which is so gross, but that’s the first thing I thought of.

Shana:
All right. That definitely gives you two points. Woohoo! Bacne. I don’t think anyone’s a fan of acne and it’s… I don’t know if it’s worse on your back. Or, I think it’s just surprising when you see it on someone’s back “you’re like wow, that’s there? Interesting.”

Liz:
Yeah.

Shana:
All right. Your turn.

Liz:
Ok, a word for Shana. Let’s go with bromance.

Shana:
Ok, bromance is a combination of… I guess it would be brother technically and romance, or just bro and romance?

Liz:
I think probably just bro.

Shana:
OK, so there is a difference between bro and brother. Like a brother, we just talk about their family members; he’s my brother. But when someone’s a bro, it kind of gives the impression that they’re a douche. I’m trying to think of an appropriate way to explain it, someone that’s a bro that they might be familiar with, even.

Liz:
Like the guys on like Entourage.

Shana:
Ok, what characteristics make them a bro? For me, the first thing that comes to mind is someone that thinks very highly of themselves and tries to be cool, but they don’t really come across as cool.

Liz:
I think like fratty, so like people who are in fraternities. Their like main goals are like looking cool and partying and like getting girls.

Shana:
Right. It’s not a positive term.

Shana:
When there’s a bromance, usually there’s two guys that are bros or they’re very close. They have a very close relationship and they do a lot of things together. It’s almost as if they’re like BFF, best friends forever. I definitely use it when I see two guys are bonding heavily.

Liz:
Yeah, I feel like most people know some people in their lives where these two guys are always together, not in a romantic way, it’s just if you invite Kevin over then Scott’s coming to.

Shana:
Right.

Liz:
You know that they’re coming as a package deal. They’re always together, like they’re just the closest of friends.

Shana:
And we give it, you know, a fun nickname, bromance.

Shana:
All right. So I didn’t really come up with an example. Do I get one point? Two points?

Liz:
We’ll call it one and a half.

Shana:
One and a half. All right. OK, next one for Liz. I’m going to do… hmm, let’s see here, pleather.

Liz:
Ok, well, the easy part of it, leather – it’s the fabric that comes from a cow. Leather. The “pl” part – plastic? Is that right?

Shana:
Yeah, it’s right.

Liz:
Woo!

Shana:
Plastic leather.

Liz:
Plastic leather. So your… your vegans out there can use it. So it’s just like a cheaper fabric that’s made to look like leather. You know, if you’re shopping at, say like H&M, and you see something, you’re like, “Is this leather?” And then you check the price and it’s only twenty dollars and you’re like,Oh no, this is not leather, this is pleather.”

Shana:
Exactly. Do you have a sort of negative impression of this word?

Liz:
Yeah, I think generally, I think a lot of things start calling themselves like vegan leather now, actually, to make it not use the word pleather because it is such like a negative connotation. You think of things that are really cheap versus just an alternative to non-renewable resources, as in the leather. So, yeah, it definitely has like a negative connotation, so you kind of have to be careful when you use it, you know, if you’re trying to be nice.

Shana:
Yeah, I definitely think vegan leather sounds so much better. The first thing I think of when I think of pleather is prostitutes.

Liz:
Know what I think of? Your boots with the fur.

Shana:
Oh God… Yeah. I got rid of those.

Liz:
Shana had these wonderful pleather boots and I will say pleather because they were pleather… boots when we lived in Berlin, that she glued fake fur to the top of them and they… And then she tried to sell these boots in the flea market.

Shana:
No, I don’t think I glued that fur to the top. I think it came like that, it was like a special treat.

Liz:
So even worse.

Shana:
Eye candy! People looked at me and were like, “wow, she’s got everything going.”

Liz:
Oh yeah. Those pleather boots, they were something.

Shana:
Yeah, well, you’ve got to have those good pictures of the past where you question your style choice. All right, so you get two points, Liz. Good!

Liz:
Woo! Ok, Shana, you are going to get the word manny.

Shana:
Manny. So it’s funny when you say this term because the first thing I think of is a manicure, because we often shorten manicure to mani, m-a-n-i I, but m-a-n-n-y, which is what is written here, actually refers to a man, nanny.

Shana:
Most times I think nannies are women or females and so when you come across a male who is working as a nanny – someone who is taking care of someone else’s children, possibly even living in the house with the family – then we would call them a “manny.” Yeah.

Liz:
An example.

Shana:
Yeah. So actually there used to be a TV show on, I think it was Beverly Hills Nannies or something, it had some clever name to it. But, I remember watching a few episodes where families would hire mannies specifically because they wanted their sons to have a companion. Sometimes even because there was no father figure, and so they said this would be kind of a replacement, not a replacement, but, you know, some sort of father figure in the house.

Shana:
Two points?

Liz:
Two points.

Shana:
Yay! All right. Next one… Liz, I’ve got a challenging one for you: Spam.

Liz:
Spam. I looked at this one this morning and I was like, I’m not certain. I know half of it. The “am” is for ham.

Shana:
Right when I pulled this list, I had to look it up. I thought, that’s really annoying. I need to know what the “sp” stands for.

Liz:
What is it?

Shana:
It’s spiced.

Liz:
Spiced?

Shana:
I know it’s odd, because I don’t think of Spam being spiced, but…

Liz:
Well, I know what it is. I just didn’t know what the portmanteau was. And that is not how I pronounced that word either, when you first sent it to me. Portmanteau. I called them portmanteaus.

Shana:
That works too, whatever you want.

Liz:
In any case, Spam, this is another word that has great negative connotations.

Liz:
But Spam is canned spiced ham and it originated back in I think probably the 1940s. Just canned meat is generally not something people use very often here, but Spam has stood the test of time and is still on the shelves everywhere and everybody knows what it is in the US.

Liz:
It’s commonly eaten in Hawaii, because it was difficult to get meats there and livestock, especially during the war, in World War Two that is.

Liz:
So when I’ve been to Hawaii, I’ve had like Spam and fried rice. And I went to an event one time where they had like fried Spam and it was delicious. I’m a fan.

Shana:
So what does it taste like? Does it just taste like mushy meat, like mushy hot dogs?

Liz:
It tastes like a like a deli ham, like a meat like you’d put on a sandwich. You just definitely want to cook it. Because otherwise, it’s kind of slimy and gross, but when it’s cooked, it’s just fatty and salty, delicious.

Shana:
It’s one of the things I think of also with Hawaii is the ham mixed, the ham pineapple mixture. You might have a Spam burger, but with a pineapple slice on it.

Shana:
I know that because of the very high Japanese population there and Japanese tourists that go there, they actually have Spam, musabi. Spam musabi would be essentially like a sushi roll with a piece of Spam on it.

Shana:
Have you had that?

Liz:
Yeah.

Shana:
You have,OK. Good?

Liz:
It was good. I mean, it’s rice and ham, a little bit of nori. So there’s no complaints here.

Shana:
Ok, very nice. Well, you’ve got two points for that one. So Spam, if you guys are in the US, try some Spam.

Liz:
You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Shana:
I’m not sure where that is. OK, number 13, two points.

Liz:
Ok, Shana your word is appletini.

Shana:
Hmm. Appletini. OK, so we’re sticking to the food here. So appletini, I have a feeling people can probably guess the two words that were blended. Apple, right? The fruit. And “tini” comes from martini.

Shana:
So an appletini is an apple martini and I am not sure I’ve actually had one before. I don’t regularly drink martinis, but it sounds like something that in the show Sex in the City, they would have ordered. I know my mom actually orders these. She actually has peartinis. I think you can probably add any fruit to the beginning, a crantini, and I would think, OK, I know that’s probably a cranberry martini. Not sure if they exist.

Liz:
That’s just a cosmo.

Shana:
It’s just a cosmo? See, I’m not so familiar with cocktails and yeah, an example. Let’s see, I don’t know. For me, if I drank an apple martini or an appletini, I’m fairly certain I would have a headache the next day.

Liz:
Yeah, me too.

Shana:
All right.

Liz:
Two points.

Shana:
Ok, two points. For Liz, the next one is going to be hmm… let’s stick to the food. Turducken.

Liz:
Turducken.

Liz:
So it’s a turkey, duck and a chicken and they’re stuffed into each other in accordance to size. So the turkey is the biggest. And then I think you shove the duck… This is when they’re dead.

Shana:
Thank you for pointing that out.

Liz:
This is not like a human centipede situation. This is to eat, once they’re all…

Shana:
This is not for fun?

Liz:
No, this is not for fun. So you get the turkey from the store, the duck breast and the chicken breast.

Liz:
And so inside the turkey cavity, you put the duck and spices and things and then the chicken goes inside the duck, which is inside the turkey. So you have three layers of meat being cooked together. And I think people have this at Thanksgiving. We are not a fancy enough family to do that.

Shana:
Would you say it’s fancy?

Liz:
I’d say it’s fancy in that it takes a lot of effort.

Shana:
Ok, I can imagine… This is really rude, I feel like it’s a bunch of hillbillies that would eat this. The term it sounds so I don’t know, rough. Turducken. I feel like when things, when things are fancy, usually we try and put a French twist on the word or we make it sound a little bit nicer, whereas turducken… like, it is what it is, you know?

Liz:
Yeah, it’s three meats shoved into one another.

Shana:
Yeah.

Liz:
So an example, don’t have one personally, but I’d be interested in trying it.

Shana:
You haven’t had it before?

Liz:
No.

Shana:
I see… It says on this website, On Time, it says, “Thanks to the culinary genius of Louisiana or Wyoming or South Carolina – each region has staked its claim – more and more Americans are forsaking butterballs for turducken.

Liz:
A butterball is a brand of turkey for our listeners out there.

Shana:
Yeah. All right, then you definitely get two. So your example was that you just wouldn’t want to try it, or you would try it, sorry, you would…

Liz:
I would try it. I’m definitely an adventurous eater. If I’m eating Spam, I will eat turducken.

Shana:
Yeah. All right. So my turn then. You get two points for that one.

Liz:
Woohoo, OK. Let’s see. Infomercial.

Shana:
I love this one. An infomercial is a combination of information and commercial, and it’s usually a commercial that lasts for a longer period of time, usually about 30 minutes or an hour. Sometimes it’s five minutes long. I mean, it’s just longer than the standard 30 second commercial. And usually it has the number written at the bottom of the screen where you can call to place your order and buy the product that is being sold.

Shana:
So I remember one of the big ones was, I think it was Ginsu knives, where they go, oh, “you can cut through a can and then you can cut through your tomato” and then they cut through like everything in their house. So like everything is broken.

Liz:
Through the walls and everything.

Shana:
So, yeah, infomercials. I actually bought something from – I don’t know if I bought it from the infomercial – but I bought an infomercial product before, which was a Snuggie, which is a blanket that has arms.

Shana:
So a lot of people complain that their arms get cold while reading books. And so this infomercial was bragging about how “if you use the Snuggie, you won’t get your arms cold, your arms will stay toasty and warm while you read your book in the comfort of your bed,” you know? That sort of thing. And I loved it.

Liz:
Do you still have it?

Shana:
It disappeared. I’m not sure where my Snuggie is. Do you like infomercials? Do you find them funny or…?

Liz:
Love them. Great memories of them. I had a really hard time sleeping when I was younger, so I have like a photographic memory of all the infomercials from the early 90s.

Shana:
Ok. Is there anyone that comes to mind when you think of, oh, great infomercials from the past?

Liz:
The Set It and Forget It. It was a rotisserie oven that you put on your counter. Loved that one. You would see the fat drip off of stuff. The Ginsu knives. Also, “Billy Mays here! Shamwow!”

Shana:
I feel like that could be a whole episode in itself is talking about infomercials. It’s hilarious. And I have a feeling this sort of thing probably exists in every country, I’m guessing. And everybody probably has their own funky products that are being sold on TV. I’m guessing.

Liz:
I hope we’re not the only ones.

Shana:
Yes. All right. So you get two points for that. Great job, or no, that was me. I’ll take the two points. OK, all right.

Liz:
Next one’s for you. I’m going to go with a brainiac.

Liz:
Brainiac, so the two words, it pushes together is brain and… Is it just brain and maniac?

Shana:
I believe so, actually, brainiac, let me just double check.

Liz:
I found it. I googled it. It is a blend of brain and maniac.

Shana:
Good, yay.

Liz:
Which Brainiac was a extremely intelligent villain in the Superman comic books.

Liz:
Oh, so like a brainiac is somebody who’s just like, extremely intelligent, super knowledgeable. And normally I wouldn’t call that type of person a maniac, which tends to suggest that somebody has like a mental health problem.

Shana:
Right.

Liz:
But in this case, it’s a mental health, like positivity? I don’t know.

Liz:
Yeah, so when I think of a brainiac, I actually listen to this one podcast called Keep It. And one of the hosts, Louis Virtel, he can remember, like every winner of the Academy Awards, like going back to the origination of the Oscars. So he can say who won Best Supporting Actress in 1952, and then he can list everybody who was nominated and their films and then say who won and usually has some sort of anecdote about like why that was controversial or what have you.

Liz:
But just listening to him do it is just like, wow! How can anybody know this? He’s just a brainiac.

Shana:
But is he also in the film industry? Is that part of the reason why he’s into that?

Liz:
No, and it’s not like part of the podcast. It’s just he happens to know this and it comes up on occasion.

Shana:
Ok, interesting. Yep, I definitely would say that’s a brainiac as well. So I will give you two points for that.

Liz:
All right. Shana, your next word, because you gave me bacne earlier, I’m going to make you explain what a shart is.

Shana:
Oh gosh, I debated whether I even wanted to put this on the podcast. Oh, yeah. So schart is a combination of – excuse my language – shit and fart. So obviously, if you have that combination, it sounds like an accident. I don’t think anyone does this on purpose, it’s when you accidentally poop your pants when you fart. I can’t believe I’m explaining this. We’re going to delete this part, for sure. I don’t know.

Shana:
I remember in middle school, it was something that guys thought was really funny, like, “oh, I laughed so hard, I sharted.” I accidentally pooped my pants. I can’t really think of other examples of it.

Liz:
I feel like it’s used in the context of you think you’re going to just fart, and then something else comes out. It’s definitely an accident.

Shana:
Yeah. Guys on a podcast, I feel like would feel much more comfortable talking about that term. The fact that I’m being recorded right now is like, hmm this is a no go. OK, the next one I have here for Liz is Tex Mex.

Liz:
Tex Mex. So it’s a mixture of the word Texas and Mexican, and it’s used to describe a type of food, cuisine, here, mostly in the US, but I guess throughout the world, because I can think of places that I’ve eaten Tex Mex in other countries.

Liz:
So it’s just a like Americanized version of what we think Mexican food is. Everything’s covered in cheese and there’s a lot of sauce and salsas and definitely very unhealthy. Nachos, refried beans. So that is Tex Mex. And I was just thinking of all the wonderful places I have eaten Tex Mex food. But one place I can think of was in Berlin. Did you ever go to Que Pasa?

Shana:
Yes.

Liz:
The food wasn’t great. It’s definitely Tex Mex. You definitely didn’t go there for the food. It was just ancillary to the drinking, but it was a lot of nachos with a lot of cheese and very heavy margaritas.

Shana:
Mmhmm, yum.

Liz:
But there’s a lot of places here in the US, I think it’s probably an even split, or maybe more Tex Mex than actual Mexican food. And a lot of people don’t distinguish between the two, I think, at least Americans. Like I think my parents would never think to go to a Mexican restaurant. They just always think Tex Mex is Mexican.

Shana:
Yeah.

Liz:
Both are delicious. It’s just you definitely need the term Tex Mex to delineate what’s authentic and what is our version.

Shana:
My, my city is actually… There’s a majority of Mexicans actually living in my city in Woodland, California, and there are so many Mexican restaurants and there are a lot of authentic ones too. But I think that yeah, definitely in order to appeal to the American audience, you know, American eaters, you got to have some of those less authentic foods. People aren’t going to go, ooh, I want some molé tonight, you know, and go to a restaurant to have that. So, yeah, it’s sort of a fusion. Food fusion.

Shana:
Good, two points.

Liz:
All right. Thinking of other countries and traveling, Shana, why don’t you do the word motel?

Shana:
Motel. Oh, I’m not sure what the “m” stands for. Hotel and mm… I’m going to guess mobile, because usually you’re driving and then need to stop somewhere.

Liz:
You’re in the ballpark.

Shana:
Ok.

Liz:
I believe it’s motor hotel.

Shana:
Oh, I found it. It is from motor and hotel. There we go. That’s weird. OK, so motor, why motor?

Liz:
Like a motorist. Ok, so you were right that it has to do with like mobility, but just people who are driving from place to place.

Shana:
So yeah, so motels here are usually a little bit cheaper than hotels, actually quite a bit cheaper. I think if people say they’re staying at a motel, it’s because they just want to save some money or they’re just on the road and they need to find a place to spend the night.

Shana:
What’s odd, though, is that when I went to Brazil, I found out that motel is only used to describe places where there are rooms available for people to have intercourse, like couples will go or yeah they could hire a prostitute and go too. Yeah, that’s the impression that I got in Brazil. And they are like, oh, a motel is just a regular thing in the US? Yeah.

Liz:
Yeah.

Shana:
Yeah, just a regular place. How many points do I get?

Liz:
Two.

Shana:
All right. Next one we’ve got chillax.

Liz:
Chillax. It’s a combination of two words, the word chill and relax.

Liz:
It may sound redundant, and I think it kind of is, but to chill is to relax and to relax is to just repose, to lay, to do not a lot, turn off your brain. So if you’re chillaxing – it’s usually used as a verb – then you’re just hanging out, not doing much.

Liz:
I would say that I would very much like to chillax on my weekends, but as Shana mentioned, I do a lot of work on the weekend and I’m starting to study for the California bar exam to be a lawyer here in the state, so there is no chillaxing for me these days. It’s all work and study, unfortunately.

Shana:
Yeah, hopefully you’ll get some downtime sometime in the near future. It just sounds like you have a lot to do. You have a lot on your plate.

Liz:
After October 6th.

Shana:
All right. So you got a fixed date in mind, which is not so close, but there is a… There’s light at the end of the tunnel. OK, so two points for you. All right, let’s do two more.

Liz:
Well, I’m going to give you. I’m going to judge you if you don’t know this; podcast.

Shana:
It stands for iPod broadcast.

Liz:
Huh!I had no idea.

Shana:
I had to look that up. I didn’t know that. So interesting, huh? I don’t think they had podcasts on iPods.

Liz:
Not that I know of.

Shana:
Not that I know of. Not unless you had a really advanced iPod. I don’t know if, like, what was in the last version of the iPod. Yeah, I’m not… not aware. But yes, I have a podcast, woo!

Shana:
I don’t know. I think everyone knows what a podcast is on here. So I’ll just mention my favorite podcasts. I started listening to podcasts back in, I think 2009, when I was living, when we were living in Berlin and I wanted to practice German. And so I listened to Annik Rubens from Schlaflos in Muenchen. And I used to practice with her in a way because I used to listen to her while on the subway, or on the Ubahn, and repeat after her in my head to kind of practice accent.

And then for French it was always Innerfrench, or Coffee Break French. Those were my two favorites. I don’t know. You listen to a lot that are outside of the language realm. You have your mystery show that you watch and your… You have a lot of favorite podcasts, don’t you?

Liz:
I do. I listen to a lot. Well, because my last job, I had a lot of time that I was driving to and from. So there was like two hours, two and a half hours there just, you know, sitting in the car. So I’d listen to a lot of different murder and mystery podcasts, social interest.

Shana:
What’s your favorite murder mystery one?

Liz:
There’s My Favorite Murder. I like that one. And then I also like Crime Junkie.

Shana:
Do you think that’s something that a language learner at (an) intermediate to advanced level could possibly understand, or would it be a little bit of a challenge?

Liz:
I think so. There’s definitely a lot of words and things kind of move quickly. I’d say Crime Junkie probably is an easier pace to understand the words because the other one has two women talking back and forth to each other and sometimes it’s easy to miss things. But if you’re just listening for vocabulary and stories, then that would be fine, I think.

Shana:
Very cool. All right, so…

Liz:
Two points Shana.

Shana:
Thank you. Let’s just double check the count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. OK, all right. So it looks like we have finished and I have lost I’m one behind Liz, .5 behind to Liz, unfortunately.

Shana:
So I’m going to give a round of applause for Liz winning the portmanteau game. What a funny thing to talk about!

Liz:
I like these. There’s a lot on here. If you make these available to your listeners, there’s a lot of words that I didn’t think of being combinations of two words, portmanteaus.

Shana:
I love that you mentioned “froyo” in the beginning too, because frozen yogurt, “froyo”- I don’t know anyone that says, “I think I’m going to go get some frozen yogurt, and separating those words. Just doesn’t…you don’t hear that.

Liz:
You wouldn’t.

Shana:
Or, like I mean things like …

Liz:
… anklet, an ankle bracelet. I would think you were crazy if you said I’m wearing an ankle bracelet.

Shana:
No one would ever say that.

Liz:
No.

Shana:
I like the company names, too. I was really surprised, I happened to look up Yelp. Yelp is really common, especially in California, because it was created here. But if you’re ever in the United States and you want to find a great bar in the area, a good restaurant, look at reviews, kind of filter for every single thing that you’re looking for, you go to Yelp. And the word “Yelp” comes from a combination of Yellow Pages and help.

Shana:
And Lucas actually asked me the other day what the meaning was of Yellow Pages. And I think it’s really funny because it wouldn’t be obvious for someone nowadays because we don’t have Yellow Pages. I remember when I was growing up, maybe once a year, they would come by with a giant phone book. And inside of the phone book there was a huge section that was yellow. On the Yellow Pages there would be lists of businesses – sort of before the Internet, made it easier to find these sorts of things. Now, I just use Yelp for all of this.

And then you also have down here Pinterest and Netflix. I guess it makes sense that they’re combinations of two words, but… they’re just company names and somebody who’s smarter than me thought of them.

Shana:
No, it’s just, it’s just clever, though. But like Pinterest, you pin your interests. Netflix, internet flicks. Flicks, being movies. Yeah, I just really like some of these.

Shana:
Yeah. So I will make the rest of this list available for anyone that is interested in checking it out. It will be on the episode webpage. And other than that, is there any portmanteau that I did not list here, Liz, that you think, oh, that’s really great. Or, anything else that comes to mind? Or is this list sufficient for you?

Liz:
This is a good list. I’d have to sit there and think about it. And like I said at the top of the podcast, there are a lot of words that I didn’t even realize were portmanteaus, because most of these words are just so essential to our everyday vocabulary that you don’t think of them as being combinations. So I would really have to sit there and think about my words to realize that I was using them.

Shana:
Yep, very true. All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. It was fun.

Liz:
You’re welcome.

Shana:
All right, bye Liz.

Liz:
Bye Shana.

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!

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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.

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