|I don't like Christmas|
Most people today have forgotten what Christmas is all about. Consumerism is taking over these holidays and turning them into a sell-all-buy-all season. No wonder some people, like this boy, rebel against it.
This monologue is great for studying typical conversational features such as conversation fillers. See explanations below.
It's me again. Second video in the night. I don't do that al- I don't do that that often. Ah, ok, but anyways, I was at a grocery store today getting some groceries, getting some food, err, and I walked, I walked towards the bread section, 'cause I wanted to get some bread, some uh... well, I wanted to get some uh... some bread for... to make some sandwiches. Well, whate... whatever, it doesn't matter.
Anyways, I was walking by the section and there was this snowman set right in th... on the corner, you know, of the aisle, and it had one of those motion detector things on it, once you walk within five feet of it, I guess, it uh... it activates and it started singing: "have a holly jolly Christmas" and it starts wiggling and moving, and uh... I... these... these things are everywhere. You know those little uh... those...those little toys where you press the button or you wave your hand in front of it and it... uh... sings a Christmas song at you and it's either Santa or Snowman or elves or something, right?
I don't know, it... ha ha, everywhere I go now I get reminded of... that it's Christmas, and... uh.. tuh... you know, I mean, it's uh... such a jolly holly holiday, and... uh... it... you know, what is Christmas these days? Or it's all about...it's been so commercialized now. It's all... it's all-ts all... All it is now is a marketing strategy for corporations, for companies to...to pitch their...their product... to... it's... that's all it is to me, anyways.
Christmas isn't Christmas anymore, it's all about selling things and buying things for people and... uh...da... you know what?, I'm not like gonna have that anymore. You know, I'm not gonna empty out my wallet 'cause... not, you know, I don't have any money to be spending on anybody this Christmas season, you know. Money's tight, right?, you know. Uhm... I don't know.
What 'as Christmas become?, you know. It's...it's so stressful, everybody's stressed throughout Christmas, I mean... To me, honestly, it's just like any other day. Spend time with your family and... uh, you know, enjoy the time off, if you can get time off work and... uh... that, you know, that's all it should be. It's so blown way out of... out of proportion now, you know, I don't know. Just my thoughts. Have a good night pe[ople].
As you can see, this speech is full of hesitation marks, ungrammatical constructions, elisions and sentences that never end. But this is quite common in normal conversational speech, so here you have a very good example of those things. Let's comment some of them:
Pay attention to all the conversation fillers he uses. A conversation filler is a sound or a phrase that doesn't mean anything, it simply fills the blanks while you are thinking what to say, because when you are talking you can't just stop and think, you have to be saying something all the time. The fillers this boy uses more often are:
Uh... / err... / you know / I mean / right? / I don't know.
OFTEN= The standard pronunciation of this word is /ɒfən/ but many people (especially in England) pronounce it /ɒftən/, though some people consider it incorrect.
ANYWAYS= This is another incorrection which is often heard. The correct word should be "anyway", without the final -S. In this case it means "ok, let's go to the point (let's go to the topic)".
GROCERY STORE= (BrE: grocery or grocer's) (AmE store = BrE shop). A shop where you can buy food.
GROCERIES= Food you buy at the shop.
SOME BREAD FOR... TO MAKE SOME SANDWICHES= This is very common in conversation. He started a sentence and then, midways, he changed his mind and finished the sentence in a different way. In the beginning he was probably going to say something like "some bread for sandwiches", but then he changed his mind and said "some bread to make some sandwiches", so the FOR in the middle was part of the unfinished conversation, but is not part of the finished conversation. Of course, it is impossible to say "...bread for to make...".
WHATEVER= It doesn't matter, it's not important.
SNOWMAN= The figure of a man made with snow (see picture). Here, it is a toy representing a snowman.
AISLE= /aɪl/ A passageway between rows of seats, as in an auditorium or an airplane, or the corridors for people to walk between the rows of products in a shop.
ONE OF THOSE MOTION DETECTOR THINGS= The word "things" added at the end here, expresses that the speaker doesn't know much about the motion detectors or is not interested about them, so he uses the word "motion detector" as an adjective and the real noun is "things", a word which is imprecise and too generic to be important. In practice, with this construction he's expressing that he things motion detectors are rubbish.
WITHIN= Inside. We often use the preposition within to talk about a distance range, e.g: You are not allowed to go within 1 mile from the restricted area (you can't get closer than 1 mile).
I GUESS= I suppose.
IT ACTIVATES AND IT STARTED SINGING= In the same sentence, he suddenly changes from a generic description in the simple present, to his particular event in the past, so he jumps from present tense to past tense, which would be incorrect when writing, but it may happen when talking.
The verb START may be followed by infinitive with to or by –ing with no difference in meaning:
- It started to rain = It started raining.
HOLLY= The name of a plant (a bush) with spiky leaves and little red balls as fruit, commonly used as Christmas decoration (see picture). Here it is used as an adjective, "a jolly holly Christmas" is a happy Christmas with lots of holly decoration. Don't confuse holly (the plant) /hɒlɪ/ with holy (=sacred) /həʊlɪ/.
WIGGLING= To wiggle is to move with a twisting or turning motion. For example, when a dog is happy, it wiggles its tail.
WAVE= To move repeatedly back and forth or up and down or left to right. When we say goodbye with our hand, we wave it (so we can say "he waved goodbye").
EITHER... OR...= We use this pair of connectors to talk about two possibilities when only one of them is true:
- You can take either a book or a toy, but not both things.
We can also say "you can take a book or a toy", but using EITHER gives more emphasis to the idea of having two options.
The word EITHER is usually pronounced /aɪðə/ in England and /i:ðər/ in America.
SANTA= Santa Claus /sæntə klɔ:s/. Saint Nicholas was an ancient Christian bishop who lived in Myra (a city in present Turkey). In old Dutch, Saint Nicholas is said Sinte Klaas. From this name we get the modern name Santa Claus. Modern English speakers can see no connection between the word "Santa" and "Saint", so they think "Santa" is the first name and "Claus" is the surname, and they call it Santa or Mr Claus. Since American people sometimes drop the T when it goes after an N, they can also say /sænə/.
ELVES= The plural of "elf". Small magical creatures coming from ancient Celtic traditions. In present Christmas tradition, elves are nice little people, usually looking like children but may be centuries old. They have pointed ears and are dressed in traditional Lap clothes (the Laps are an ancient people living in the north of Finland, in the Lapland). They are Santa's helpers and make the toys for all the children in the world. (see picture).
RIGHT?= You can use this tag as an alternative to the usual question tags (especially in America):
- She's very nice, isn't she = She's very nice, right?
- You can do it, can't you? = You can do it, right?
- You don't like it, do you? = You don't like it, right?
You can also use this tag as a filler. In that case it doesn't mean anything (see above). You can also use it as a way to keep the listener's attention, because it doesn't mean anything, but it's a question, so the listener will automatically react to the question by thinking of an answer (although no answer is needed).
UH= A conversation filler (see above)
TUH= A conversation filler, but not a common one, just his personal mark.
YOU KNOW= A conversation filler (see above)
I MEAN= A conversation filler (see above)
IT'S ALL ABOUT= We use this expression when we want to explain what something consists of:
- Christmas is all about spending time with the people you know and being nice to everybody.
- A holiday is all about resting and having a good time.
- For many people, work is all about earning money.
- Democracy is all about giving the power to the people.
PITCH= (informal) To promote or sell, often in a high-pressure manner.
YOU KNOW WHAT?= We use this expression to create curiosity in the listener about what we are going to say, to have their full attention:
- You know what? Jessica just had a baby!
GONNA= Going to.
I'M NOT LIKE GONNA HAVE THAT ANYMORE= In this sentence, LIKE means nothing. We often use this LIKE when we want to express "it's not exactly that, but something similar":
- He was like hanging from the roof = he wasn't hanging from the roof, but it looked like he was.
- I feel like tired = I'm not exactly tired, but something similar.
In all these cases we can replace LIKE with SORT OF and the meaning is exactly the same:
- He was sort of hanging from the roof / I feel sort of tired.
WALLET= A little thing where people keep their money and credit cards when they go outside. Women often have a purse /pɜ:*s/ (see picture) and men always have a wallet /wɒlɪt/(see picture).
EMPTY OUT MY WALLET= Spend all my money.
MONEY'S TIGHT= We say this expression when we don't have much money.
I DON'T KNOW= This phrase doesn’t mean anything, it's simply another conversation filler we often use when giving our opinion.
WHAT 'AS= What has. He didn't pronounced the H of HAS, and I just reflected that in the spelling.
THROUGHOUT= /θrʊaʊt/ during the entire time or place:
- The baby was crying throughout the night = all through the night, all night long, all the night.
- She had books throughout the house = everywhere in the house.
TO ME= In my opinion.
HONESTLY= Frankly, truthfully, sincerely. We don't pronounce the H here.
THE TIME OFF= The free time, the time you don't have to work.
IT'S SO BLOWN WAY OUT OF PROPORTION= It's gone completely over the top, it has changed into something really exaggerated. The word WAY can be used in colloquial English as an intensifier (= very very).