Hi everybody! This is your friendly neighborhood ESL and accent reduction tutor, with a new short instructional video on how to make the /s/ sound as in sigh and the /ʃ/ sound as in shy.
I hope everybody had a really excellent Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that makes people feel truly American. (That and the Super Bowl!) Many of my students have told me that they really did not feel that they had "made it" in America until they were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey and stuffing and all the fixins.
Thanksgiving is a holiday when everybody has a celebratory meal to thank Providence or G-d, or good fortune or Fate for what they have, and their good fortunes in the previous year. Nearly everyone can find *something* to be thankful for. Myself, I am thankful for my family, friends, and loved ones, for the gift of music that G-d has given me to give to other people, and for all the blessings in the previous year.
Thanksgiving is traditionally the start of the Holiday Season in the US--Christmas and New Years. Typically, most people who put holiday lights on their houses do so the weekend after Thanksgiving. Its also the weekend many people go to Christmas tree sellers (often found at roadside stands on major highways or in the parking lots of supermarkets) and select their perfect Christmas tree, which they bring inside and string with lights and popcorn and ornaments. Traditionally a Christmas tree is topped with a star, representing the Star of Bethlehem, or an angel.
The Jewish festival around this time is the eight-day festival of Hannukah--the Miracle of Lights and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd Century BCE after the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
A more modern holiday typically celebrated by African American intellectuals is called Kwanzaa--Kwanzaa is of modern origin, modeled after African harvest festivals (Kwanzaa is Swahili for "first" meaning the first fruits of the harvest).
Pretty much the entirety of the United States gets into the Christmas spirit, although some religious sects do not celebrate it. Muslims likewise do not celebrate it, although many of my Muslim clients enjoy it quite a bit. Its a festive season; people are happy and in the spirit of brotherhood. It would be a great thing if we could dedicate ourselves to the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood with our fellow mankind on all days of the year. At Christmas, we try to consider that idea.
If anyone has any cultural questions about Christmas, Hannukah, Santa, Dreydls, proper greetings, office Christmas parties, appropriate gifts, or anything else regarding Christmas in America, or you want to discuss ESL or accent reduction lessons for yourself or as a gift to a loved one, give me a call at (732) 807-5424 or hit me up on Skype at david.berlin.esl. Or for more information, check out my website at David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training or check out my American Idiom of the Day Twitter feed or my ESL and Accent Reduction YouTube Channel. The Twitter feed and YouTube Channel contain more great tips on how to reduce your accent.
All right? All right. Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, and a warm and loving holiday season.