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Questions tagged [culture]

This tag is for questions about how cultural conventions affect the English language.

2
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1answer
58 views

What is the sub-context that enables Taco Bell jokes?

Throughout many years, I've encountered countless jokes over all sorts of media and pop art where is goes "something something taco bell", and I can't really grasp what is it supposed to mean or why ...
0
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2answers
97 views

What's the drink in “buy me a drink”?

What's the drink in Buy me a drink ? Does it mean alcoholic-drink (beer, wine or cocktail) or it could be any drink including alcoholic drinks and soft drinks like orange juice? Is this culture/...
0
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2answers
118 views

Can you call your aunt without her name?

In Turkish we can call our aunts or uncles without using their names like: "Aunt! Where are you?" "Hey, uncle, how is it going?" Is this appropriate in English? UPDATE: Calling without name is ...
1
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1answer
46 views

Idiomatic meaning av “Lenny's a survivor” (or similar expression)

In The Simpsons S29E10 @ 01:33, the God's finger crashes the area of the collision and Lenny's jiggling that he's a survivor. The character isn't connoted with particular surviving skills and I'm not ...
0
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2answers
72 views

Why does he go “pink with the effort” while watching morris dancing?

This is a follow-up question to my previous one, WHY did he go slightly “pink” ?? Does it mean angry, embarrassed, healthy or other meaning in this sentence?, as in that one I have established that "...
0
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1answer
41 views

What does “use their washing machine” refer to or imply in this sentence?

I have trouble in understanding the metaphor or whatever implied meaning of "how many people use their washing machine". Nor could I understand WHY he was asked "when was the last time they had left ...
0
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1answer
52 views

What does “boiled down to stark, skeletal facts” mean in this sentence?

I am so so confused by this figurative speech of saying "information boiled down to stark, skeletal facts", and what does it even mean in this sentence?? My guess is that "I found these information ...
0
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1answer
63 views

What is a “loft living” and does it mean good or bad?

We had gone back to Patrick’s house, a new-build flat on the edge of town. It had been marketed as ‘loft living’, even though it overlooked the retail park, and was no more than three floors ...
1
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1answer
713 views

Why to “jump in my grave” and what does it mean in this sentence?

I could understand the person who said this sentence is that she is angry and accusing her sister taking (stealing) her own room. But why would someone compare her own room as a "grave"? Isn't it bad ...
1
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1answer
81 views

WHY to say “a secret prayer” to zip the dress and what does it mean in this sentence?

I am not sure if I get this right : "a secret prayer" means "she is a little fat so that she prays the zip could go up"?? (a little fat is a fact based in the novel). And I neither get the meaning of "...
1
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1answer
52 views

WHY “double French ” and what does it mean?

This is so frustrating while reading, knowing very word but not the meaning. Why double French ? My guess is "they once had French course" based on a fact from the novel. But why double it??? Does it ...
1
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1answer
48 views

WHY there is “more fat on a kirby grip" and what does it mean?

This is very, very struggling for me to imagine: why " there is fat on a hairpin"??? I could get that the dress is too small and tight, and maybe the person is a little fat(depends on how you see it,...
1
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1answer
66 views

What do the words “wind” and “stick” mean in the sentence?

This sentence is really confusing for me. I've checked Collins, Oxford, Cambridge, urban… dictionaries, no such collocations. my guess is "the wind changed" means she senses something bad might ...
0
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1answer
47 views

What does “a weighing room” mean in this sentence?

The woman who said the following sentence is a waitress in a restaurant in a horserace course. Did she mean that the room is normally for kitchen use, like weighing and preparing for food, and the ...
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2answers
246 views

What does “ Victorian orphans” mean in the sentence?

Why did the man in following sentence refer his hair style as "Victorian orphans"? what does Victorian orphan look like? Is there any cultural gap I am missing, or is it a slang or something? ‘My ...
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2answers
160 views

Latin letters VS English letters

How do you likely to say for non-English speaker to use letters from the English alphabet (e.g. to write down something or to create a nickname)? Do you say use Latin letters or English letters?
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1answer
25 views

“the origination’s marquee U.S. event” mean? [closed]

It marks the 50th anniversary for the sports organization that spotlights and supports children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and it’s the second time the former women’s champion has ...
1
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1answer
178 views

Does a word 'foreigner' have negative implications? and if so, why? [closed]

I'm a Korean and I have seen a TV show where foreigners currently staying in Korea showed up and began speaking about how it is not correct to refer to them as foreigners(외국인/wee-guk-in) - Korean word ...
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1answer
1k views

How is “spade” and “shovel” racist?

In an article at Quora there's a mention that the terms shovel and spade might be interpreted as racist and cause someone to feel offended. I doubt not that there's always an idiot capable of feeling ...
2
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1answer
50 views

How to make clear the relationship among the relatives?

In English we call the father's mother "grandma", and mother's mother is also called "grandma". How should I make clear the relationship? If people say 'give that present to your grandma', which side ...
0
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1answer
48 views

Cultural references related to names Lesley and Lindsay

Ted: You know, I'm proud of you--Lesley. Tim: Back at you, Lindsay. Source: The Boss Baby 2017 When the name Lesley is mentioned one character laughs and the other gets embarrassed. Clearly ...
4
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1answer
93 views

Is the expression “I am resentful of the god” appropriate?

When things don't go well as you wished and you feel frustrated, Koreans often use the expression I am resentful of the god/sky. Is this expression used in English? If not, what is the proper ...
0
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1answer
915 views

How many is considered a large family? [closed]

I'm not really sure if this is an opinion-based question or not but as a non-native speaker I always wanted to know at least a basis for how things work, so I've got two questions: 1) I know we have ...
0
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2answers
94 views

Cultural expressions to say after drinking/eating

Is there a specific expression native speakers say to someone right after they have drunk/eaten something-water/drink/food- as a form of etiquette? For example, two people say cheers when they drink ...
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5answers
5k views

Why blame the Australians?

I noticed the following comments under a hot meta post: Downvoting questions from new users I agree this is horribly bad form. I blame the Australians. – Andrew But @Andrew, as you yourself ...
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1answer
72 views

What is a 'prayer mission'?

It's actually a religious or cultural question but still I don't know what it is so I decided to post it here. I searched it online including on Wikipedia but I couldn't find a straight answer to it ...
4
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2answers
947 views

Is “kindly” considered inappropriate to use?

I'm from South East Asia, and in here, it's very common to use "kindly" as a written polite request to other people, and I often see it on the internet as well. But I've just discovered that from this ...
7
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2answers
261 views

Are there any respectful but strong words to tell people to move faster?

The pedestrian way that leads to the place where I live is not wide enough for people to walk abreast. But sometimes, some people with strong muscle were walking very slowly ahead because they were ...
4
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3answers
6k views

don't like Vs dislike Vs hate

I want to discuss these three sentences: I don't like her I dislike her I hate her While 'hate' is pretty clear for its intensity/degree of 'not liking someone/thing', what about comparing all ...
2
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2answers
189 views

During colloquial conversation, what is the difference between calling people first name and last name?

During colloquial conversation, what is the difference between calling one first name or last name? I assume one if colloquial and one is more formal but not sure. Thank you very much!
6
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2answers
1k views

“How are you?” as a welcome in a shop

As an Italian in Australia for a while, I noticed this very common use of "how are you" as a greeting to welcome you into a shop, and customers answer with a second "how are you". A stranger, in Italy,...
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1answer
363 views

writing about cultural differences

Did I use the word "Task" appropriately in the following sentence: Living in a foreign country could be a challenging task for everyone. How can I say in a formal writing that the difference ...
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of “blue blood”

In a series I heard the statement below. It praises a person as an attractive spouse to be picked by an upcoming politician. However, the speaker compares said person as contrasted by a blue collar ...
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1answer
1k views

Is the word 'minority' offensive? [closed]

Is the word 'minority' offensive? While in academic writing, it's very common to specify the special group with less number of people with the term, is it considered offensive especially in the US, ...
2
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1answer
487 views

Lyrics to the German national anthem at American wedding [closed]

This might sound at first as an odd question, almost off-topic, but given that I'm looking for lyrics in English I think it still qualifies. I'm watching episode 12 of the second season (S02E12) of "...
0
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1answer
626 views

A person, person on the wall

I know that "on the wall" expresses the likelihood of something happening, however, what do these mean? ^ This has nothing to do with the following sentences; I got confused. See the answer below. ...
2
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1answer
252 views

How to call your relative

How to call your great aunt? For example, if the great aunt's name is Mari, is she called 'Great aunt Mari, or 'Aunt Mari' or just 'Mari'?
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3answers
1k views

U.S. college courses naming system — how does it work? [closed]

Example: ECO 305: Money and Banking What do those three letters and the number exactly mean? Could you please give me a brief, general-terms type of introduction to the college courses naming ...
15
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4answers
690 views

What should a language learner know about political correctness?

There are many impolite expressions. In the European country I come from, using the (translation) of the word gypsy is considered rude, yet as far as I know Americans say the word openly. On the other ...
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1answer
410 views

I hope he kept the receipt

Here's from a TV show "3rd Rock From the Sun S1E4 Dick is from Mars, Sally is from Venus". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VUxhdOpX5w 17:18 Hey, check out the bartender. Ooh, god's gift to ...
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4answers
5k views

What does a middle name mean in AmE and where from it is taken (What is the formula for making a middle name)?

I am well aware that people's names in several cultures include one or more additional names placed between the first given name and the surname. It is called a middle name. Like: "Tom r. Tyler"; but ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What does (R-TN) after a name mean?

An example: US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wants to make sure the Federal Communications Commission never interferes with "states' rights" to protect private Internet service providers from having ...
2
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1answer
351 views

English equivalent for French “Culture générale"?

The French expression “Culture générale" is deeply entrenched in philosophical and humanist ideas: Le projet d’une culture générale est intrinsèquement lié à des réflexions à propos de l'humanité,...
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2answers
756 views

Are comparisons between a human and an animal considered vulgar or obscene in standard English?

In my mother tongue, drawing an analogy between a human and an animal such as a dog, goat, donkey, monkey, or fox is offensive and taboo. Is this true in English? For example: He is as tired as a ...
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2answers
1k views

What are the cultural references in “go back to Jersey you bum” in the Planes 2013 Movie?

What are the cultural references in "go back to Jersey you bum" in the Planes 2013 Movie? I read that Jersey is called the Garden State. So does that mean it's known for agriculture and that plane is ...
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1answer
4k views

Should “I don't know / I have no idea” be used carefully? [closed]

Sometimes I have seen native English speakers' uneasiness when they heard "I don't know / I have no idea." They seem to use the phrases carefully, avoiding to say it as much as they can. If they have ...
6
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3answers
564 views

What is “cultural capital” and what role does it play in learning the language?

My English teacher once jovially remarked that if I were to ever fully understand literature texts by native English writers, I would have to have cultural capital. He went on to add that I wouldn't ...
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4answers
3k views

What is the American street naming convention? [closed]

What sets apart a street, an avenue, a road (rd.), an alley - a way, and whatever forms of communication tracts I missed - that appear as part of street names on city maps in the US?