Tuesday, 2 October 2012

PSY ‘s Natural English Gangnam Style!

South Korean rapper 'PSY’ (Park Jae-sang) is sweeping the globe with his musical video creation known as ‘Gangnam Style’.  Gangam Style has gone viral on the Internet!  Not only that, PSY has been teaching celebrities from all over how to do Gangnam style dance moves. Even Britney Spears tried out the Gangnam horse ridding inspired dance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Even though the majority of North American listeners don't understand the lyrics, the video has garnered enormous attention in the media. Music and visuals can be such an expressive medium without international boundaries.

So, as I was listening to PSY and trying out a few of his moves, I noticed he used some excellent, natural, and casual English to teach his famous dance moves.
 PSY said:

“You ‘gotta’ use your upper body also not just your legs.” (to do the horse dance) ABC News

The key word in the sentence is ‘gotta’.  Maybe you already have some experience with ‘gotta’ but let’s just break it down, just in case.

Pronunciation Style
got to = gotta

got to = have to/need to

“You ‘got to’ use your upper body also not just your legs.”
“You ‘have to/need to’ use your upper body also not just your legs.”

Grammar form
gotta + use
gotta + infinitive verb

Speaking Context or Usage
This is only one of the many ways ‘gotta’ can be used in casual conversation.  I would go into more detail but it would take a few pages of writing.  So, I just want to focus on the use of gotta for teaching someone.  Although ‘gotta is considered bad grammar, we can hear this expression in real life situations such as parents teaching their kids, or friends teaching friends, on You tube, etc.  Also, in a casual teaching context people tend to use the subject marker ‘You’. I recommend using ‘You gotta’ as PSY did. ‘Gotta’ seems like an easy word but, as you know, some of the simplest words have some complex grammar ideas attached to them. 
Try it out!

How to:  Make Instant Cup Noodles or Kraft Dinner or Tea/Coffee or your idea!

Try it out with a friend, or send me (blogalexg@gmail.com) a sound file, or post a video link. 
Next week, I will post an example answer at Celebrity English.

Answer Idea- Using 'gotta' in a 'How to' teaching context.

Halloween will soon be celebrated in North America (every year on Oct. 31).
So to help get ready for a Halloween party here is an easy idea for creating a Healthier Halloween Treat for kids!  The idea below should be used in a talking style because of the use of ‘gotta’.  You can change it to a writing style by simply substituting ‘gotta’ with 'have to' or 'need to'.

How to make Scary Sippers – Mummy Style
  • First, you gotta buy some juice boxes.  You can get darker colored juices like grape or cherry to get more of a Halloween look or feel. Remove the attached straws from the outside of the box.
  • Next, wrap the juice boxes with white electrical tape.  Any white tape is 'ok' but electrical tape has a better mummy texture to it. Make sure not to cover the juice box straw hole with the tape. 
  • After that, glue on googly eyes.  You can buy these quite cheaply at any craft or dollar store. 
  • Then chill the Mummy juice boxes in the fridge until the Halloween party is ready to begin.
  • Finally, you gotta put the straws in the Mummy juice boxes. 
Now you are ready to serve these Scary Sippers – Mummy Style to your thirsty little Halloween guests!

Happy Halloween!
(Adapted from the October 2011 issue of Parents magazine)

An International musical success story,
Celebrity Language and Culture!
 ALEX - By the way, I think I will leave the dancing to PSY!