Non-Standard Language – Ain’t
The use of “ain’t” instead of “am not”, “isn’t” or “aren’t” is extremely common, especially in songs.
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The use of “ain’t” instead of “am not”, “isn’t” or “aren’t” is extremely common, especially in songs.
Are you in the club?
Ok Elsa. I just wanna say for the record that I am really excited.
I am thrilled to be getting out of Arendale.
I have been wanting to get out of Arendale.
I just want to know where we are going. I don’t understand why it has to be a surprise.
And you are driving so fast.
I don’t know where you learned to drive.
I have never even been in a car.
But you seem to know what you are doing so that is good.
But back to what I was saying.
I don’t understand.
Is there any reason why I can’t know where we are going?
You are still driving so fast.
What do you say Elsa, can you tell me?
No, Anna! It has to be a surprise. No more questions.
That was a pretty firm “no”.
I just hope that where we are going is appropriate for somebody who is wearing a hat and mittens.
It seems like we have been in the car for a really long time.
I am your date!
No. You have never steered me wrong.
Ok We are here. The beach!
This is so great.
I cant believe we are here. This is so beautiful.
I just wish I had a bathing suit.
Don’t worry Anna. I packed everything we need.
Wow! I love my suit. I love yours too.
This is also nice.
Keeping me warm and cosy with my mittens and my hat.
Anna! I was protecting your beautiful royal skin from the harsh rays.
No w you go and sit over there sand I am going to get in the water.
The water felt so great.
You really should think about getting in the water
Hey Anna! How does the water feel?
I don’t know, Elsa. Still a little hot. I am wearing a hat and mittens with my bathing suit.
No problem, Anna.
Ahhh I am gonna get you for this.
What do you think she did? (Did she throw water on her?)
Link to dialogues with audio and transcript: Mosquito City
This series of conversations is slow and simple. It should improve your listening and pronunciation. Check it out!
Look at this template. Can you fill in the blanks?
Presenter: Hello I am ….
Our topic today is …
My guest today is …
Now Read and Listen:
Guest: I am very glad to be here.
Presenter:It is a pleasure to be with you. You know I think many people who speak English do not realize that our own language as well as most western languages have their origins in what is sometimes called the proto-Indo-european language, which is really the same language from which Sanskrit and the Hindu traditions are derived.
Guest:Yes, English, Russian, Icelandic, French, Greek are all dialects of a mother tongue that is spoken very widely in India and many parts of the world.
Presenter:We think of our language as being western and we think of India and its culture as being eastern but actually they have not only a common linguistic origin but a common cultural basis as well.
Guest:Yes common thought. If we divide east and west I would put the boundary between India and China perhaps. India is western, by my way of thinking.
Presenter:Well, Buddhism which was born in India and then moved to China bridges that gap as well.
Guest: Buddhism is the west and went to the east.
Presenter: There we have an example of how we are much more intimately related to eastern culture than we realize. And many many words in the English language have Sanskrit origins or origins that are traceable to the Sanskrit tradition and the earlier proto-Indo-european language.
Guest: Yes, most of the words in English go back to the Teutonic northern European Icelandic root to the Indo-european root to the Sanskrit or the Vedic …
The two speakers speak slowly.You can listen to the conversation and understand most of it if you know the vocabulary. If you do not know vocabulary, it does not matter. You can still note patterns and phrases that are familiar and develop listening skill. Listen for phrases you understand:
we think of ..
the language in which ..
the great equation
is an artificial language
spoken in the wisdom traditions
spoken in the street
a synthetic language
not the street language
a formal language
used by the priests and the philosophers
what is actually spoken in the bazaar
concepts like …
the terms are so precise
they are used
the English equivalents do not exist
states of consciousness
precision for thought and consciousness
you have translated the Upanishads
you have described to me
and then they realized
if they are written down
an oral tradition
to give you an idea
the beginning of the
the sound of the universe
everything has come out
in the world
should be enveloped
only for performing good deeds
only thus and in no other way
it actually is in some ways reminiscent ..
there is something a little deeper
the word “sutra” is interesting
means a string
a string of pearls
nuggets of wisdom
if you pause
the word “human”
a Sanskrit word
the eternal sound
everything that is alive
humanity will ..
the Vedic tradition
better times are coming
a career in theoretical physics
how the universe came about
there is a sense
the depth of insight
Did you find this helpful? Tell us how you feel about listening in the comments section. Then listen and read with the links below:
“Time after time” means “time and time again”. It is another way to say “always” or “forever”.
Poetry and song are an abbreviation of prose. Prose is ordered thought.
I am caught up in circles.
Confusion is nothing new.
It is not new.
I am having flashbacks (memories) of warm nights.
I was almost left behind.
I have a suitcases of memories.
If you are lost, you can look and you will find me.
I will be waiting.
Time after time.
If you fall, I will catch you.
Time after time.
I will be waiting.
Time after time.
You said: “Go slow”.
I fall behind.
I get left behind.
I am too slow.
The second hand unwinds.
There are three hands on a clock face. They are the hour hand, the minute hand and the second hand.
The hour hand, which measures the hours, is not really a hand. It is an arrow.
The minute hand moves faster than the hour hand.
I saw you on the subway ..
James Blunt is British but he uses the American term for the urban rail system. Which variety of English is more popular in your region, British or American?
Link to London Accent
Link to French Accent
I won’t lose no sleep on that
I won’t lose any sleep over that
I was fucking high – I was stoned.
Was he high (stoned) on marijuana or just “high on life”?
What do you think?
I saw your face in a crowded place
I don’t know what to do
I will never be with you
Rhyme is used in Poems. Listen to this poem. Banjo Player’s Brother
In “You are Beautiful” James Blunt writes (and sings) about somebody who he saw on the subway. He was deeply effected by the experience of having seen beauty. Whether it be a human being, a natural place, an object or an idea, the experience of beauty can have a powerful and transcendent effect on our emotional life.
When we arrive at a new mental state we can be aware of what has changed our mood or emotional perspective, but we can also be aware of the mental or emotional state which we were in before the experience of beauty and the change that it wrought.
If the earlier mental state is significantly different from the later one, then it seems more significant for the extent of the change which has come upon us.
Perhaps the author was feeling low or cynical or unable to believe in the possibility of love. Perhaps he was alone or lonely and felt down and dejected and his vision was locked on to a limited perspective of what life can be.
But then he saw a beautiful human being and his perspective was changed. He became aware of another possibility. If somebody as beautiful as this existed, perhaps he could find her or someone like her to fill an emptiness that he felt in his life. Perhaps.
When a person is surrounded by beauty such as when one lives in a magnificent city with an exquisite urban panorama or a hidden valley where the wonders of nature are abundant and ubiquitous, might one become blase and immune to beauty? If one is able to see beautiful things every day, might one become inured to it and in a certain sense, immune to it?
Certainly lack of exposure to beautiful things and the experience of ugliness, whether visual or emotional, will create a certain mental framework which makes the experience of beauty all the more remarkable. And if the beauty which one beholds is human beauty, then how wonderful that moment when one senses the existence of beauty, particularly as one emerges from an ugly place.
Surely human beauty is the supreme expression of that quality which touches our hearts. Human beauty is allied to the faculties of admiration, desire and love. It hints at the possibility of a different life, which is, after, all just another way of viewing this life that we already have.
When we look into the eye of another with trust and admiration and love, do we gaze on god?
A gallows is a frame to hang a man. Hanging was used to kill convicts in the US. Was the death penalty ever used in your country? Is it still used?
“Yell” and “shout” generally mean “speak in an extremely loud voice” for example when shouting for help. “Scream” is usually an expression of emotion which has no intelligible words. But it can also be “a scream for help”.
Well, they gave me some beans for my last meal with twenty-three minutes to go.
Do you like baked beans? They cause flatulence.
And nobody asked me how I feel – I got twenty-two minutes to go.
I sent for the Governor and the whole durn bunch – I got twenty-one minutes to go.
Johnny Cash is from the southern US and often uses southern turns of phrase.
Link to North and South.
and I called up the Mayor but he is out to lunch – I got twenty more minutes to go
“He is out to lunch” can also mean “he is not mentally acute” or “he is a fool”.
and the Sheriff said “Boy, I am going to watch you die” with nineteen minutes to go.
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye with eighteen minutes to go
Note the non-standard use of the verb “to spit”. It us usually “spit spat spat”
Now here comes a preacher for to save my soul with thirteen minutes to go
Note the non standard use “for to save” which would usually be “to save”. Is it a grammatical borrowing from Spanish because the southern US is near Mexico where Spanish was spoken? Much of the southern US once belonged to Spain and Mexico. Do you speak Spanish?
and he is talking about burning but I am so cold – I got twelve more minutes to go
It is hot in hell. We talk about “burning in hell”.
Of course heaven exists, but does hell really exist or is it just a creation of the mind?
Well they are testing the trap and it chills my spine with eleven minutes to go
A “trap” is a trapdoor that you fall through.
Have you ever used a trap to hunt animals. (different meaning of trap)
and the trap and the rope, well they work just fine – I got ten more minutes to go
I am waiting for the pardon that will set me free with nine more minutes to go
A pardon is a message to exonerate you from a crime. It comes from the Governor or the President.
but this ain’t the movies so forget about me. I got eight more minutes to go.
Note the use of “ain’t”, which means “is not” here. Life in Hollywood is not the same as reality.
with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose – five more minutes to go
Won’t somebody come and cut me loose?
four more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the sky. Three more minutes to go
and it is too durn purty for a man to want to die. I got two more minutes to go.
Note the non-standard pronunciation of “too durn purty” which means “too damn pretty”
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows with one minute to go
Crows and buzzards are types of birds which eat carrion (dead bodies)
and now I am swinging and here I go o o o o
(the sound of applause)
Thank you … all right!
You can video, audio and notes on culture at this link: North and South.
Here is a link to another Johnny Cash Song: Man in Black
First guy: Gentlemen. Excuse me. My girlfriend of six months is going away to Paris, France for three months. She is beautiful, young, intelligent and very conscientious. She says she loves me and that she will miss me terribly. She has also got this ex-boyfriend in Paris.He is real smart, talented successful. He is a real nice guy.
Before she leaves, she wants me to tell her if there is a future for us. For me and her. My question is, am I wrong in wanting more time, more proof. Is it wrong of me to be so scared?
Second Guy: It is important to keep the girl constantly within your sphere of influence. Of course this is difficult to do if she is in another country. I would write many letters, daily if possible. And I do not think it inadvisable to let her know frankly and before she leaves that you have these fears of losing her. She is young. Perhaps she is impressionable. This sounds manipulative but remember she is not just going anywhere. She is going to Paris, France.
Third Guy: Relinquishing a hold on someone is an act of love. The giving of affection and the determination to provide comfort are the two practisable elements of love. Love requires no proof. Seen in this light love is a sort of faith since a faith that requires proof wouldn’t be a faith at all. But I will make this distinction: Love is an act. Faith is an ability.
Fourth Guy: The best of all possible approaches to this dilemma is for the two of you to firmly embrace reality for what it is; cruel brutal cold and totally unconcerned with the individual.
Third Guy: I don’t want to sound despairing or at a loss of ideas but the fact is you can do nothing to retain this girl’s love except be the best man you know how to be.
Do you like reading? Read extracts of literature to increase your vocabulary:
Mailer – The Naked and the Dead
Do you want to find Love? Link to the Romance Page
Do you need advice? Link to the Advice Page
Some words have many meanings. Learning a few different meanings can stop confusion and increase your vocabulary. This gives you more power to express yourself and also more power to read and understand other people. Look at the word “beat” in this song:
The word “beat” has many meanings. In the song above we hear Buddy Holly sing about the beat of his heart. Listen to the song and read the lyrics.
Look at these words and phrases related to heartbeat:
his heartbeat is irregular
he has no heartbeat
my heart beats for you
My heart is beating faster and faster.
My heart misses a beat when I see you.
with every beat of my heart, I think of you
Kriemhild’d heart beats only for Siegfried
Link to a conversation about medical research with audio and transcript.
In the song “beat it” , the phrase means “Leave!”, “Go away!” or “Get out of here!” Listen to the song and read the lyrics.
The verb “beat” can mean “subdue” or “defeat”. Look at these phrases:
The Yankees beat the Mets.
The Yankees were beaten by the Mets.
Dimitrov beat Federer in the tennis.
Federer was beaten by Dimitrov in the tennis.
Note that the the past simple tense of “beat” is “beat”. The pronunciation does not change and the spelling does not change. The present tense and past tense forms are identical.
The government forces beat the rebels.
The rebels were beaten by the government forces.
When the army marches to war, the drummer beats a drum and the soldiers march in time to the beat of the drum.
A counterculture movement called the Beat Generation was the predecessor of the hippies. Jack Kerouac talks about the Beat generation and the meaning of the word here at this link: The Beat Generation
You can read an extract of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel of the Beat Generation here: On the Road – Selected Readings in Literature
“Don’t beat around the bush!” means “Don’t delay!”, “Get to the point!”
Look at these phrases:
“I am beat” means “I am tired”.
“Somebody beat him up” means “somebody hit him many times”.
He is unbeatable – nobody can defeat him.
He remained unbeaten for his whole career and retired as the world champion at the age of 45.
He beat me in the test this time but I beat him last time and I will beat him again next time.
His heart has stopped. There is no heartbeat. Call the ambulance.
Listening to songs is a good way to develop pronunciation ability and improve vocabulary.
Listen to the song and read the lyrics.
Look up new words in the dictionary.
Johnny Cash is a famous American singer and song writer. He died in 2003.
Do you like the song? Did you learn any vocabulary?
Do you have any questions?
If you have a question, write it in the comments section below.
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