Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Natural Language from Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter: Music

Harry Potter: Music
                                                                               Daniel Radcliffe          

Question: You're a major (major =big) music fan, aren't you?

Daniel Radclilffe: Huge.

Question:  Do you get to go to gigs?  (get to = able to, gigs = musical performances)

Dan: Not as much as I'd like to, but I'm seeing the Chilli Peppers (American music band) in Hyde Park. I'm going to that, very excited, because The Pixies (American music band) are supporting.

Question: So when did you come across The Pixies?

Dan: Um... I'm really ‘into’ films, obviously, as well, and I got Total Film (British Film magazine) and there was a compilation of soundtracks, and "Where is my mind?" was on there, because it's the soundtrack to Fight Club (1999 American film with Bradd Pitt and Edward Norton), and so I went out and bought Death to The Pixies: The Greatest Hits.

Speaking Style
Daniel or Dan’s speaking pattern is casual/informal for many reasons but I would like to focus on two expressions.  He uses the word Huge in his first answer and uses the word into in a slang style.    

Question: You're a major (major =big) music fan, aren't you?

Dan:  Huge

When he uses the word ‘huge’, the meaning is ‘really really big music fan’.  Also he shortens his sentence for a faster talking style. 

Longer speaking style:  “I am a 'huge' music fan.”

The shorter speaking style is used here because to a native English speaker we know there are more questions coming.  A detailed answer isn’t necessary.  Why? Because the interviewer uses a tag question: …, aren’t you?.
Now when we learn grammar this answer is not usually the best. 

Question: You're a major music fan, aren't you?
Answer:   Yes, I am/No, I am not.

This is a common drill type question used in language classes to emphasize the grammar point.  It is a bit robotic if constantly used in conversation.   

In a conversation tag questions are used like an exercise warm up or to get to know someone when talking to them for the first time. 

However, even with such a short, simple question, Dan signals he wants to continue talking about music.  The answer ‘Huge’ doesn’t follow the yes/no grammar pattern.  Instead he answers emphasizing his excitement about music.  It doesn‘t sound disjointed to a native speaker because ‘Huge’ refers to the ‘major music fan’ idea of the interviewer’s question.  Dan’s natural answer helps link the ideas.   His enthusiasm/emphasis allows me to know that this is a good topic for him.  This speaking strategy is great for creating continued conversation.

The use of ‘into’ is a casual slang style.

Dan: I'm really ‘into’ films.  (to be into something/someone=to like
                                              or love something/someone)
 Ex. Same sentence idea - Dan: I really like/love films.

 'Into' is such a common word in English but the indirect meaning sometimes tricks us.  

You can get some more ideas about how to use 'huge' and 'into' in the next part.

Try out in your daily conversation!

1.Question: You’re a major fan of rock n roll, aren’t you?
   Answer:  Huge

2.Question: Are you a huge fan of jazz?
   Answer: Absolutely, I am really  into jazz fusion. 

3. Question: Are you a major fan of baseball?
     Answer:  Huge! I have been into it since my dad took me to my 
                   first game when I was 6 years old.

More Stuff!
Click on the links below for Dan Radcliffe’s music, reading, and film interests mentioned in today's conversation points:

The Chilli Peppers (The Red Hot Chilli Peppers-RHCP) music

The Pixies music

Total Film magazine

Fight Club movie
LINK      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer Official HD 


 Connect with Alex here or at



Celebrity English Language and Culture


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Justin Bieber: Japanese crisis

Justin Bieber in Japan
                                                                       Justin Bieber
These days, natural disasters affect the global community.  It seems a ‘universal culture’ is becoming more of a reality.  In the past 10 years, I have had many friends and family affected by natural disasters. 

When I started learning foreign languages, I was often unsure of what to say in times of difficulty or crisis.  The other day, I was happy to see Justin Bieber expressing his feelings toward Japan.

He uses a common expression to show concern:

“My prayers go out to them (the Japanese people).”  
                                           Justin Bieber on Twitter

There can be two ideas about the expression:
1.In a religious sense, it means to ask a ‘higher power’ (God) to help the Japanese people.
2.In another sense, it means to hope/wish for something to happen to help the Japanese people. 

However, either ideas show the speaker’s feeling toward a positive outcome to a bad situation. 

The word 'prayer' is the common denominator in expressions of natural English during ‘times of hardship’.

Other Celebrity quotes for the Japanese people using the word  'prayer'.

*"I am sending all my love, prayers and support."*
                                                               Selena Gomez on Twitter

*"My prayers go out to anyone that is being effected by the disaster in Japan.”*
            Katy Perry on Twitter

*"I'm sending my thoughts and prayers and love to those in Japan who are hurting."*
                         Taylor Swift on Twitter

*"Our hearts and prayers are with all of our BSB family in Japan. We love you all so much.  Please try to stay safe. ... Kisses and hugs from us!"*
              Backstreet Boys on Twitter

For current information on Japan's nuclear crisis and ways you can help ~ click on the link below:

Japanese Red Cross
LINK http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html

Justin in Japan trying to help out.

My thoughts and prayers are always with the people of Japan. I am sorry for the hardships your country in enduring. I will continue to follow this terrible situation.  Take care!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Natural Language from Sharon Stone: Cosmetics

Sharon Stone: Cosmetics
                                                                                                        Sharon Stone

Question:         What are your Dior favorites?

Sharon Stone:  Dior makes the best lip-glosses going.  I'm nuts 
                          about them, especially the clear one with the silver 

Sharon’s English sounds natural and casual for two reasons: 

1. Her use of ’going’ (Although the use of ‘going” at the end of a sentence is not common in a textbook, it is perfectly natural).  It is easier to understand the idea of ‘going’ if the sentence is lengthened. 

For example,
Dior makes the best lip-glosses going in the market.  (going = selling)

‘Going’ has the idea of ‘selling’ in this case.  Sharon has shortened her sentence because the idea is clear to a native speaker.  Also, in a more formal English situation, I wouldn’t use ‘going’.  Instead I would use the direct word ‘selling’.

2.Another reason Sharon’s language feels casual/informal is because she uses the common expression ‘nuts about’ (to be nuts about something/someone = to really like or love something/someone).  This casual expression using a simple food name has been around a long time in the English language.  It probably sounds a bit weird but it’s a very common expression for all ages of North Americans.  Try not to think to deeply about the image/idea or you will go nuts (to go nuts = to go crazy = to become crazy). 

 Here is Sharon’s language pattern for your next expanded conversation style:

Speaking Pattern

________ makes the best ___________ going. 

I’m nuts about them, especially the ______________.

Here are some examples to get you started:

1.Maybelline makes the best concealers going.  I’m nuts about them, especially the one with 2-in-1 concealer and highlighter.

2.Olay makes the best anti-aging products going.  I’m nuts about them, especially the one for night time recovery.

3.M.A.C. makes the best lipsticks going.  I’m nuts about them, especially the one for Surfers.

MORE STUFF until next week!
Celebrity English Language and Culture
Links to Sharon Stone's favorite cosmetics 'Dior' and other popular cosmetic companies:

Connect with Alex - Celebrity English - or @

Monday, 6 June 2011

Natural Language from Jennifer Aniston: Movies

Jennifer Aniston's Movie Tastes
                                                                                                Jennifer Aniston

Question:  What sort of films do you watch?

Jennifer Aniston:  I love old movies and I still watch classics 
                            like Wuthering Heights.
 (Note: Wuthering Heights is an old black-and-white film from 1939)

Jennifer’s speaking pattern is casual/informal because of the use of ‘and’ to connect two complete sentences.   For a native speaker, the linking of the two complete sentences with ‘and’ feels smooth, casual, and common. 

Another reason her English sounds natural/casual is because she uses ‘like’ to mean example (like = example in this case).  This use of ‘like’ is common in conversation. 

Jennifer’s speaking strategy is great for creating conversation. I know it is a good idea to continue talking about this subject with her.  It is a subject she likes to talk about. 
Why do I feel this way?
Jennifer uses the word ‘love’.  Also, Jennifer tells us a category ‘old movies’ and an example ‘Wuthering Heights’.  Many people who are not good at conversation give one word answers or very short answers.  For example:

Question:  What sort of films do you watch?
Answer:    Old movies.
When a native speaker hears this style they might think that the person doesn’t want to about this topic.  They may also feel that the person doesn’t want to talk to them.

So, for me, Jennifer gives me signals to ask another movie question or continue talking about classic movies.

I hope you will give this style a try in your next conversation.  Here is Jennifer’s language pattern for you to expand your conversation style:

 Jennifer Anniston: I love old movies and I still watch classics like 
                                  Wuthering Heights.

                I love __________ and I still _________ like ________.

Here are some examples to help you out if it is a bit difficult.


I love science fiction movies and I still watch classics like Star Wars.            
I love action movies and I still watch classics like Indiana Jones.
I love romantic films and I still watch classics like Ghost and Pretty Woman.

So, even with simple English we can make an interesting and natural conversation.  I hope you will try it in your daily life. 

Please come check out my blog next week… 

But until then MORE STUFF to check out!

Links for Jennifer Aniston's favorite 'classic movie' 
Wuthering Heights:

Wuthering Heights 'classic movie' (1939)

Wuthering Heights 'movie remake version' (1992)

Wuthering Heights 'TV version' (2009)

Wuthering Heights book

Celebrity English Language and Culture
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