Friday, December 30, 2011

Celebrating New Years’ Eve in the USA

Just like in the most of the World January 1st marks the beginning of a new year in the USA.  The New Year’s Eve’s celebration is the biggest and a truly world-wide party with its climax at the NewYear’s midnight, which like a web interconnects party goers all over the planet and moves around the globe following the time zones.

Majority of people get together with friends and families to celebrate the event.  They either stay home and have private parties or go out to bars, restaurant, theaters or places where they will be able to welcome the New Year in spectacular and scenic surroundings and where they can watch the traditional fireworks shows.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Word Eve in American English

Do you know what the word eve means?  Have you speculated about it?  Did you check into it?

We all know about Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  Some of us know that Halloween is the eve of All Saints’ Day.  But what does the word stand for exactly?  Does it carry the meaning “the day before” as it may imply?   Or maybe it denotes something else?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why Christmas and New Year’s Are Exactly One Week Apart not Only in the USA?

Have you ever thought why these two major holidays Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and obviously Christmas and New Year’s are exactly one week apart?

It may be just a pure coincidence but maybe not.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Two Eight or Twelve Days of Christmas in the USA

In most countries Christmas is celebrated as a two-day holiday.  The second day of Christmas is sometimes called the Boxing Day.  No, it has nothing to do with fighting or the sport of boxing.  The name comes from an old tradition of giving gifts in boxes to servants by their lords.

In the USA Christmas is a one day festivity.  I still remember my first Christmas in America.  For me it so obvious that it is a 2-day celebration that it didn’t even come to my mind that I should go to work on the Second Day of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Carols in the USA and the “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

Who doesn’t like Christmas Carols and Christmas in general?  Well … you might be surprised.  But that’s a different story.

What are Christmas Carols, anyway?  When did the carols tradition start?  Why are these songs called carols and what does the word carol itself mean?  Where are Christmas carols performed nowadays?  Should we still talk about Christmas carols or rather Christmas songs?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Gift Giving to Children in the USA and Where the Wise Men Came from

We, the adults, can live without Christmas gifts.  It is a completely different story, though, when it comes to giving gifts to children for Christmas.  For one reason or another presents, especially the ones for Christmas, have a very special meaning which goes far beyond regular generosity.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Is Coming to Town! The Holiday Shopping Season in the USA

Ho, ho, ho!  Coca Cola’s Santa Clause is coming to town!  Shopping malls are full.  It takes forever to get in to go shopping there and even more time to get out from there.  That’s American Christmas time.

Fortunately and lucky for us - shoppers - we have an alternative now.  We can just sit down at the computer or, better yet, take it to bed and go shopping on line at the comfort and convenience of our own home and even our favorite couch or sofa.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coca Cola Christmas 2011 in USA

It’s all about Christmas for commerce, for both the traditional brick and mortar outlets and virtual Internet stores.

Majority of retailers and wholesalers or whole sellers alike make most of their profits at this time of the year called the Holiday Shopping Season.  Its official start falls on Black Friday, which is the Friday following Thanksgiving.

Now, there is also a digital or electronic commerce or e-commerce equivalent - the Cyber Monday, which is the Monday right after the Thanksgiving weekend. Not really surprisingly, considering the nature and character of the American entrepreneurial spirit and business environment and law, Internet stores started capitalizing on Thanksgiving itself with the very recent addition of Cyber Thanksgiving. 

Christmas commercials are very lavish and impatiently participated by viewers and listeners, too.  They are the cream of the cream of advertising and the world of trade promotions. 
One company took it to the extreme.  I’m talking Coca Cola here. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas in Washington, DC, USA

December is traditionally the month of Christmas celebrations including the annual “Christmas in Washington” show, which this year (2011- two thousand eleven) will air on TNT on Friday December 16th, a week before Christmas Eve. 

In the tradition of so American-like charitable giving by the rich and famous to the poor and needy this show first appeared in 1981 and this year it celebrates its 30th  (thirtieth) anniversary. 

Of course, it is also a huge promotional event for the participating celebrities and the television network itself. 

It is tremendously popular and you will be able to see the re-runs number of times during the year that follows. 

Merry Christmas! (the Christmas Song video and lyrics)

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Cram for Midterms Learning American English

Let’s start with this.  Cramming or learning a lot in a very short time to pass a test or an exam is for some students a way of learning not just a catch up technique.  The word cram itself usually has a negative connotation.  It’s associated with not doing homework on time and consequently being forced to work extra hard at the last minute just to stay in the game.  It’s not necessarily so. 

Some people simply have good short memory and no intention to retain the information needed for this particular test or exam.  They simply do not want to waste the long memory and intuitively choose the most efficient and the most energy effective learning method not to fail but to pass and to get a “good enough” grade. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tora! Tora! Tora! Did the Pearl Harbor Attack Have to Happen?

Who hasn't heard the Tora! Tora! Tora! phrase popularized by the movie carrying (or under) the same title or has not seen the film itself is rather a rhetoric question.

The Japanese aerial attack on the American naval military base in Pearl Harbor, HI (Hawaii) on December 7th, 1941 woke up “the sleeping giant”and marked the beginning of the official US involvement in WW II (World War Two or "doublew doublew" two).

We all know how it happened.  This, one of the most tragic and most disastrous catastrophes in American history and at the same time one of the most victorious and most glorious Japanese military operations or battles ever, was depicted by some of the most successful and most popular movie hits like “Tora! Tora! Tora!” or “Pearl Harbor”(movie trailer videos). 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Studying American English for TOEFL- Natural Born Learners or Motivation

Either you are natural(ly) good with languages or you need to work really, really hard to make any progress it doesn’t really matter.  Either way you can achieve your goal.  The real question here is how you will approach the English language learning process, how much time you will spend preparing yourself and most importantly if you have the motivation or if you have the internal drive to achieve your goal. 

Why are you learning English?  Do you really, and I mean YOU, not somebody else like your parents or other significant others, do you really want to learn English?  Do you know why and how much you will benefit from knowing the English language? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

TOEFL Exam for the USA and Europe as Well

TOEFL, as you most likely know it already, is the American English fluency test designed specifically as a college entry verification of your language knowledge and requirement for non-native speakers. 

Recently it has also been approved in Great Britain by the British immigration authority UK Border Agency as a proof of your knowledge of the English language together with other English fluency exams. 

It is also accepted by British schools at different levels of education including the University of Cambridge. 

Webster University in Vienna is another example, this time in Austria, among thousands of higher learning institutions requiring and accepting the TOEFL exam. 

Happy learning!  Good luck on your college admission application!