Tuesday, 27 September 2011



Jensen Ackles                                                                                                                                     Jared Padalecki



This is always a fun topic and thematically universal to all cultures!  These days you probably can’t find a newspaper, magazine, TV show, or at least one movie a year that has been affected by this theme!  Harry potter, Supernatural, Twilight, Urban Legends, Sanctuary, True Blood, Horror movies involving the supernatural, the list goes on and on! The supernatural theme is universal but the magic, excitement, intrigue, unknown, and the scariness is in the details!  The details are great conversation topics whether talking about yourself, a movie, or a TV Show! And don’t forget, Halloween is this month in North America!

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki of 
the TV Show Supernatural  

Question 1: Do you believe in the supernatural?
Jensen Ackles Answer 1: I’m not easily scared and I’m rather rational, but the more I work on the series the more I’m sensitive to strange stories I hear about. I wouldn’t say I believe in ghosts, but I keep an open mind.

Question 2: Do you believe in supernatural or aliens?
Jared Padalecki Answer 2:  Yes. Personally, I’ve never had any paranormal experience or seen aliens, but the universe is big and I can’t believe we’re alone. I’m sure there are a lot of supernatural things that we have no clue about…(have no clue about = we really don’t know about)

Both Jensen and Jared express their viewpoints with casual English.  Jensen is the NO case and Jared is the YES case.  However, the language they use isn’t strong.  They are both open to other ideas.  They start with their personal feelings/thoughts ‘believe or not believe’ and then diplomatically reveal that they are open to other ideas, thoughts, or opinions.  Both emphasize that the world or universe is bigger than they are.  The speaking style has gone from a microcosm to a macrocosm. Quite smooth! Being open to other people’s ideas is a KEY to great communication! 
Speaking Style
I have simplified their speaking styles for clarity but the core of their speaking styles remains the same.

Question 1: Do you believe in the supernatural?

Answer 1: I am not __________ and I’m rather __________.  I wouldn’t say I believe in __________, but I keep an open mind.

Examples Answers:
1. I am not frightened easily and I’m rather logical. I wouldn’t say I believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster, but I keep an open mind.
2. I am not really a believer and I am rather skeptical.  I wouldn’t say I believe in Aliens, but I keep an open mind.

Question 2: Do you believe in the supernatural?

Answer 2: Yes. Personally, I have never had __________, but the __________ big.  I’m sure there are a  __________ we have no clue about…

Examples Answers:
3. Yes. Personally, I have never had any ghost encounters, but the world is big.  I’m sure there are a lot of things we have no clue about…
4. Yes. Personally, I have never had a Bigfoot or Yeti encounter, but the Rocky Mountains and Himalayas are big. I am sure there are creatures we have no clue about…





SUPERNATURAL TV Trailer Season One

SUPERNATURAL ANIME (Animation ) Trailer

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!                              

Celebrity English Language and Culture

Celebrity English
Communicating with the World


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Will Smith: a father’s influence

Will Smith's Father
                                                                                  Will Smith

Question: Who was a big influence in your life?

Will Smith: My father. When my father got out of the Air Force, he started his own refrigeration business. I might have been 12 and my brother 9 when one day he decided he wanted a new front wall at his shop. He tore the old one down -- it was probably 16 feet high and 40 feet long. And he told us that this was going to be our gig over the summer. We were standing there thinking, there will never, ever, be a wall here again. We went brick by brick for the entire summer and into winter and then back into spring. One day there was a wall there again. I know my dad had been planning this for a long time. He said, "Now, don't you all ever tell me there's something you can't do." And he walked into the shop. The thing I connect to is: I do not have to build a perfect wall today. I just have to lay a perfect brick. Just lay one brick, dude.

Conversational Speaking Styles-Talking about an influential person in our life
Often we talk about the past with friends.  As we get closer to people, we often tell them about who influenced us in life.  Of course it can be a father, mother, aunt, uncle, manager, teacher, event in your life.  However, people quite often tell you about one of their parents. 

Will Smith, was originally a singer/rapper that created humorous songs.  He is very good at talking to people.  People love to listen to him talk.  His style is casual and he sounds very ‘down-to-earth’ (= sensible, realistic, not vain, not snooty).  Even though he is being interviewed he comes up with very ‘rich’ (=a lot of) information about himself in a short period of time.

Now how can we use this in our own lives? How can we transfer Will’s style to our own?

Speaking Style- Over View
You probably noticed that Will Smith uses past simple and past continuous verb tenses throughout his story.  There is only one perfect verb tense usage  “might have been”!  On TOEIC and TOEFL tests the past perfect is important.  Also, in school, this grammar idea is emphasized a lot. But don’t worry if you have spent hours and hours on difficult grammatical points.  Your hours of study can easily be used with British Native Speakers.  British Native Speakers use the perfect tenses more often than American Native Speakers in English Conversation. 

So when you create a story about who influenced you in life, try to use past simple and past continuous.  If your listener is British then feel free to use more of the perfect verb tenses. 

Speaking Tip!
Most people are not as good at talking as Will Smith.  So, it is a good idea to write your ideas down first.  Just like in a diary.  All you have to do is write down some key words and phrases.  Don't make the story too long or it will bore your listener.  About 6-8 sentences is enough. Will's story is a bit longer but he is a pro! Then like an actor practice telling your story. You don't have to memorize it but be comfortable with the key words and phrases!

Have a good week! And Enjoy using English at your next party or friendship encounter!

Will Smith in an early Music Video
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith)


Celebrity English Language and Culture

Until next week! Take care!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Geir Ness: Celebrity Fragrance Designer

Gier Ness Laila
Celebrity Fragrance Designer of Laila

GEIR hails from Norway and is recreating the AMERICAN DREAM! Starting in a new country from nothing and now designing Fragrances and Cosmetics.  Success built on freedom, passion, determination, creativity, and guts!  Laila is now popular through out the United States and Europe.  Geir’s product line is now a staple of CELEBRITY SWAG, worn by an A-List HOLLYWOOD Crowd!

Alex Graham - Question: You are an international businessperson and multi-lingual.  Moreover, fluent in English, how did you learn the English language so successfully?  What learning point(s) did you find the most difficult and how did you overcome it (them)?

Geir Ness - Answer: The best way for me to learn the language was to read the newspaper and watch Television. But also we started to learn English at school in 4th grade. Even though that was only a couple of hours a week, it helped when you got out in the big world. The most difficult pronunciation point is when you have letter ‘W’ and ‘V’ for Norwegians.  In Norway, the most natural way to pronounce for example water will be with a ‘V’ and not with a ‘W’.

Alex: What did you find the most challenging about getting into the fragrance industry?

Geir:  A lot of competition and not having any money to promote the brand.  I had to use myself and build myself up as the brand.

Alex: What Hollywood stars have you met and which ones love to use/wear your products?

Geir:  I have been lucky to have met a lot of my favorite stars.  Some stars that have received my scent are Madonna, Beyonce, Halle Berry, Melanie Griffith. I also heard that Paris Hilton uses my scent even though she has her own fragrance.

Alex: Mr. Geir Ness, you donate your “time and money” to many charity groups such as: Iam4kids, which helps and promotes kids to stay in school.

Geir: Yes. I think staying in school is such an important thing and especially in today’s world.

Alex: Yes, I couldn’t agree more with you!  What else have you been up to in the charity area?

Geir: I am also involved in several cancer organizations. I have worked with Susan G Komen, and last November I ran the New York Marathon to raise money for my friend Grete Waitz. Grete is truly amazing; she has battled cancer for several years and won the New York Marathon 9 times.

 Alex: Wow! What strength! That is so inspirational!

Alex: Los Angele's Aids Ride, Norwegian Cancer Society, Chicago’s Children Medical Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation…The list is enormous!

 As a philanthropist with a ‘big heart’, please tell us what “I AM 4 KIDS” means to you?

Geir: That the children will have a future!!!!

Alex: THANK YOU for taking time out of your supremely busy schedule! 

GEIR NESS - He brings passion and charity to all his endeavors.  If you would like to know more check out the links below! To meet Geir in person, go to the Laila website for his live scheduled events! 

Nordstrom Retail Store carrying Geir’s Product line



Geir Ness and Greta Weitz

Fighting Cancer one stride and bottle at a time!




Celebrity English Language and Culture


Communicating with the World!


Twitter https://twitter.com/CelebEnglish


Monday, 5 September 2011

Natural Language from Dan Radcliffe of Harry Potter: Music

Dan Radcliffe of 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