I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

I hope you enjoy reading this blog
half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Because I have a ball.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

TV Shows: Everybody Hates Chris

When a friend of mine first recommended Everybody Hates Chris to me I was sceptical. I had never been a sitcom fan, nor did I like the Cosby Show. But I gave it a try and the minute I finished my first episode I was hooked.

Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009) is a sitcom produced and narrated by a stand-up comedian and actor, Chris Rock, who was inspired to create the series by his own childhood in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, New York. The show ran for four seasons and there were 88 episodes in total.

The series revolves around the life of a working-class family living in Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s. There is 13-year-old Chris, his two younger siblings: Drew and Tonya and his parents: Julius and Rochelle.

Chris is the most level-headed member of the family. He's a good and obedient kid and it is only due to his sheer bad luck that he gets into trouble at the end of each episode.

Drew is everything that Chris is not – tall, good at sports, popular at school and lucky. He can also pick up different skills such as martial arts just by copying other people that he sees on TV.

Tonya is the most bratty and spoilt kid you will ever meet. She always tells on Chris and makes sure that blame for all her bad deeds is on him. She loves watching cartoons and drinking hot chocolate

Julius is what you call a “cheapskate”. He hates spending money and loves finding it in the street. When he shops, he goes straight to the damaged food section because it's cheaper.

Rochelle is a ghetto snob. She hates food stamps and generic products and loves shopping for name brand food. She spends her days lazying about and eating chocolate turtles.

Given the time of the year, I would like to suggest that you watch the episode called Everybody Hates Kwanzaa. Unfortunately, I could only find links without subtitles:

And some general information about this holiday:

Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday celebrated between December 26th and January 1st by the African-American community in the United States. It was initiated by Maluana Karenga in the 1960s. It is based on year-end African harvest festivals The name comes from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits of the harvest”. The holiday is neither religious nor political. It is meant to celebrate the African-American heritage and culture.

The seven-day holiday is based on seven principles: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith that are represented by seven symbols:

  • the crops (fruit, nuts and vegetables),
  • a place mat,
  • corn,
  • seven candles,
  • a candle holder, (kinara)
  • the unity cup,
  • gifts.

It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa.


to give something a try – spróbować czegoś
an episode – odcinek
hooked – uzależniona
stand-up (comedy, comedian) – when a single person tells jokes
Bed-Stuy – short for Bedford-Stuyvesant in central Brooklyn, New York
in total – w sumie, razem
to revolve around – opowiadać o czymś/ koncentrować się wokół czegoś/ kogoś
working-class – robotnicza
siblings – rodzeństwo/ a sibling – brat/ siostra
level-headed – zrównoważony (calm and able to deal easily with difficult situations)
obedient – posłuszny
sheer – zwyczajny (complete)
bad luck – pech
pick up skills – nabywać umiejętności
martial arts – wschodnie sztuki walki
to copy – naśladować
bratty – rozpuszczone, rozwydrzone
spoilt/ spoiled – rozpieszczone, zepsute
to tell on somebody – skarżyć na kogoś
deeds – uczynki
a cheapskate – sknera
damaged – uszkodzone
food stamps – kartki, za które można kupić jedzenie/ kartki żywnościowe
generic food – niemarkowe, wyprodukowane pod marką danego supermarketu (a product that is advertised with the name of the shop where you buy it, rather than the name of the company that made it)
name brand food – markowe
to laze about – leniuchować
given – biorąc pod uwagę, zważywszy
subtitles – napisy
a community – społeczność
to initiate – zapoczątkować
harvest – żniwa, zbiory
heritage – dziedzictwo
principles – zasady
self-determination – wolna wola (the ability or power to make decisions for yourself)
collective – zbiorowy
cooperative – wspólny
purpose – cel
crops – płody rolne, plony
a place mat – podkładka pod talerz
a candle holder – świecznik
some – około

Saturday, December 24, 2011

English in Pics: Where's the Christmas Tree at ? Let's Design it up!


You didn't think I was going to snub you and not wish you a Merry Christmas, did you? :)

Merry Christmas!
May all your wishes come true at this magical time of the year :)

I'm going to throw in a few Christmas-related pics now :)
I hope you like them.


Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas is the guy in red, with an impressive 'stache and a beard who snacks on milk and cookies. He might leave you quality presents but most of the time it's just another gift set you will pass on to your mum.


For Christmas some families have their picture taken professionally. Then they add a few lines of wishes and send it in the form of a Christmas card. It may come out cute, awkward or totally wrong.


A gift set is a compilation of useless products that you would never buy for yourself but which, for some reason, you are more than willing to buy for your family member or a friend because it seems so cute and creative and nicely packaged.


Traditional candy canes are cane-shaped, red and white peppermint-flavoured sweets but you can find them in different flavours and colour combinations too. This year I got candy canes for my students. It was funny to look at how some of them examined them suspiciously while others popped them into their mouths, totally unfazed.


The most famous gingerbread man is Gingy from Shrek. Whatever you do, don't touch his gumdrop buttons.



Egg nog is a traditional Christmas drink made of milk (and/or cream), sugar, eggs and liquor, and spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg.


Whether it is a real fir, spruce or pine tree or a fake plastic one, you think that yours is the most beautiful one and deserves some kind of a Christmas-tree-of-the-year award. 

The one at the Rockefeller Center in New York might seem impressive to others, but you just think it's too flashy for your taste.


If there ever was a Christmas special on Santa's entourage, Rudolph would hog the camera. Although there are eight other reindeer that pull Santa's sleigh, it is Rudolph who is the most hyped reindeer. Despite there being Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, it is Rudolph who gets most buzz. All this talk of him being bullied and called names seems like a well-fabricated story. Just saying!


I had to include Christmas lights in my post just to be able to post this photo.

DITTO – me too; I agree; likewise

Whatever you do, please keep in mind what happened to Mr Clark Griswold in the movie Christmas Vacation.


A Christmas stocking should be filled with small boring gifts such as sweets (candy) or fruit. Don't even try stuffing your stocking with bulky objects. That is not going to work!

Unrealistic-looking stocking


Around Christmas I am always jealous of how some people seem to be gift wrapping wizards. They need a bit of wrapping paper and a few seconds to turn a regular present into a work of art.

If you are like me – a hopeless gift wrapper – just stick to gift bags or have your gift gift-wrapped.

Below the classic gift-wrapping scene from Love Actually:

to snub zignorować, zlekceważyć
to throw in – dorzucić
a 'stache – short for moustache – wąsy
to snack on – podjadać, przekąszać
quality presents – tut. fajne prezenty
a gift set – zestaw upominkowy
to pass something on to – dać, przekazać dalej
awkward – niezręczne, kłopotliwe 
cane-shaped – w kształcie laski
peppermint-flavoured – o smaku miętowym
to examine something – dokładnie oglądać, analizować
suspiciously – podejrzliwie
unfazed – niezrażony (not surprised or worried)
liquor – alkohol
nutmeg – gałka muszkatołowa
fir – jodła
spruce – świerk
pine tree – sosna
fake – sztuczna
flashy – krzykliwy
for somebody's taste – jak na czyjś gust
a Christmas special – odcinek świąteczny, świąteczne wydanie
somebody's entourage – orszak, świta
to hog okupować
a sleigh – sanie
to hype – robić szum, reklamować
buzz – rozgłos
to bully – dręczyć, znęcać się
to call names – przezywać
fabricated – zmyślona, stworzona (to fabricate – to invent or produce something false in order to deceive)
to keep in mind – pamiętać, wziąć pod uwagę
to stuff something with something– wypychać
bulky – olbrzymi, o dużej objętości
a wizard – geniusz, czarodziej
hopeless – beznadziejny
to stick to something – pozostać wiernym

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Books and Movies: The Hunger Games

Hello :)

March 23rd 2012 can't come soon enough and I'm going to explain why.

Over the summer I read a series of books called the Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins. Ok, you caught me. I didn't read them. I listened to them, but is there really any difference? Books, audiobooks, same difference if you ask me :)))


The Hunger Games is an adventure science-fiction series that consists of three books: the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay (2008-2010). The story takes place in Panem, a country that stretches across the area that used to be called North America. In Panem there is the Capitol, where everybody is rich and beautiful and leads a comfortable life, and there are also twelve districts, where people are poor and hungry and work just to cater to the Capitol's needs. 
In school, they tell us the Capitol was built in a place once called the Rockies. District 12 was in a region known as Appalachia.

In the past there was a rebellion, in which thirteen districts fought against the Capitol and failed. As a result, District 13 was annihilated and a new law introduced: each year the twelve remaining districts must select two tributes: a young girl and a boy to represent them in the Hunger Games, where they are going to fight to the death against representatives of the other 11 districts. Only one person can be named the winner. Only one person survives. Others die.

The Hunger Games take place in an outdoor arena and are televised across Panem to the entertainment of the Capitol and as required viewing to the twelve districts.

The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland.

The main character of the book is Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12, or the coal district. We get to know her on the reaping day – the day when names of the contestants are to be drawn.

You better run now, Fire Girl,...

Katniss is not a typical teen book character. She's not a softie or a girly girl by any means. Katniss is a tough cookie, a fighter. She knows how to use a bow and an arrow. She can climb trees and find her way in the woods. Her internal monologue is not annoying or childish. It is refreshingly mature and relevant. At no point in the series are you bored with this character or fed up with her behaviour. Quite the opposite, you want to get to know her better, to go camping with her :).


What you are going to find in the Hunger Games is extreme cruelty, oppression, hunger, rebellion and fight but also bravery, friendship, love, sacrifice and unity. The description of life in the Capitol offers some food for thought when it comes to aesthetic surgery, eating disorders, gossip or celebrities. The fast pace of the story and its multiple twists will keep you interested and wanting more. The Hunger Games series is a true page-turner!


Getting back to the big day (March 23rd 2012). On that day the movie adaptation of the first part of the series – the Hunger Games, is slated to hit movie theatres. And while the teaser trailer was a real snoozefest and fell short of everybody's expectations, the actual trailer did not disappoint.

I'm particularly excited about casting Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. The actress seems to be a perfect fit with her down-to-earth quality that Katniss has.

teaser trailer:


something can't come soon enough – nie mogę doczekać się czegoś
same difference – bez różnicy (comes from combining same thing and no difference)
to stretch across – rozciągać się wzdłuż
a district – okręg, dystrykt (w pol. tłumaczeniu książki)
to cater to (somebody's needs) – zaspokajać (potrzeby)
the Rockies – Góry Skaliste
Appalachia – region Appalachów
a rebellion – powstanie, bunt
to fail – ponieść klęskę
to annihilate – unicestwić, zgładzić
remaining – pozostałe
a tribute – dosł. danina, haracz; trybut (w pol. tłumaczeczniu książki)
a reminder – przypomnienie
required – obowiązkowy
vast – rozległa
a wasteland – nieużytki, zniszczona ziemia
coal – węgiel
the reaping day – dożynki (w pol. tłumaczeniu książki); to reap – zbierać plony
to draw – losować (draw, drew, drawn)
a softie – mięczak (a kind, gentle person who is not forceful, looks for the pleasant things in life and can be easily persuaded to do what you want them to)
not by any means – w żadnym wypadku, wcale
a tough cookie – twarda sztuka (not easily hurt by what people say or do)
a bow – łuk
an arrow – strzała
somebody's internal monologue – monolog wewnętrzny
refreshinglyożywczo, przyjemnie
mature – dojrzały
relevant – istotny, tut. na temat
be fed up with – mieć czegoś dość
oppression – ucisk
sacrifice – poświęcenie
food for thought – materiał do przemyśleń
aesthetic surgery – chirurgia estetyczna
eating disorders – zaburzenia odżywiania
gossip – plotki
a fast pace – wartka akcja (pace – tempo)
a twist – nieoczekiwany zwrot
a page-turner – książka, od której trudno się oderwać

slated – wyznaczony (na jakiś termin)
to hit movie theatres – trafić do kin
a teaser trailer – pierwszy zwiastun (emitowany na długo przed premierą)
a trailer – zwiastun
a snoozefest – nuda (to snooze – drzemać, a fest – festyn)
to fall short of somebody's expectations – nie sprostać oczekiwaniom
actual – właściwy
to cast somebody as– obsadzać kogoś w jakiejś roli
down-to-earth – przyziemny, trzeźwy
quality – cecha

Polish titles:

The Hunger Games Igrzyska Śmierci
Catching Fire W pierścieniu ognia
Mockingjay Kosogłos