Fun English: American Christmas with TV Shows (Seinfeld)

In the United States this time of year almost everyone, religious or not, is celebrating Christmas. During Christmastime, it’s common to decorate the house with lights and a tree with ornaments, make sweets like cookies and toffee, drink hot chocolate, play in the snow, and exchange presents with loved ones.

Today I have a fun, hilarious lesson for you that explains one Christmas tradition, Christmas Cards. It’s common around Christmas that people take a photo, often with family and mail it out to friends wishing them Happy Holidays.

This clip comes from a popular American TV show from the 1990’s called Seinfeld (learn why TV shows are such a great resource for your English here).

Here’s how I recommend you learn with this lesson in 5 steps: (1) Watch the clip, (2) Read the transcript, (3) Look at the notes (with important vocabulary, pronunciation, and cultural references), (4) Re-watch the clip for higher understanding, (5) Improve pronunciation and flow by picking a character and mimicking him or her exactly (use pronunciation notes for aid!).

Now enjoy this funny lesson and learn a bit about Christmas! (Note: if you are easily offended, you may want to read one of our other articles)

Video:

Transcript:

(Vocabulary in blue, pronunciation/connected speech in red, cultural notes/grammar in green)

JERRY: Look at what we have here. A Christmas card from Lainey (Elaine). You didn’t have to go to all that trouble.

ELAINE: It was no trouble. My assistant did the whole thing.

JERRY: I didn’t even see the picture. How did it come out?

ELAINE: Well, you know. It’s a picture.

JERRY: Oh yeah. Look at that. Looks good. Kramer did a good job.

ELAINE: Yeah, well. How hard is it to take a picture?

JERRY: … um …

ELAINE: What?

JERRY: Did you look at this picture carefully?

ELAINE: Carefully?

JERRY: Because I’m not sure and, and, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I see … a nipple.

ELAINE: What?

JERRY: Here. Take a look. What, what is that?

ELAINE: Oh my God! That’s my nipple.

JERRY: That’s what I thought.

ELAINE: That’s my nipple. My nipple’s exposed. I sent this card to hundreds of people! My parents. My boss. Uh, Nana and Papa.

JERRY: Didn’t you look at the picture?

ELAINE: Oh God I didn’t notice. Oh, what am I going to do? You know your whole life you go through painstaking efforts to hide your nipple and then BOOM, suddenly hundreds of people get their own personal shot of it.

KRAMER: Hey!

ELAINE: Have you seen the card?

KRAMER: What card?

ELAINE: This card.

KRAMER: Yeah, yeah. Of course. I took it.

ELAINE: Well did you notice anything unusual about it?

KRAMER: No.

ELAINE: Well come here and take a look.

KRAMER: Yeah, so?

ELAINE: So, what’s that?

KRAMER: That’s a nipple.

ELAINE: Right!!

KRAMER: Ooo!

ELAINE: Aw, great!? Didn’t you see that?

KRAMER: Aw, no, no I didn’t notice it. no, uh,

ELAINE: It’s because you made me wear that stupid shirt.

JERRY: Well, maybe no one noticed it. You didn’t notice it. Let me go get Newman. We’ll see if he sees it.

ELAINE: No. I don’t want him looking.

JERRY: Oh what’s the difference. Everybody else you know has it.

ELAINE: Oh my God. I sent one to the super in my building. My mailman. My ten year old little nephew. Sister Mary Catherine. Father Chelios. Oh my God Fred! I sent one to Fred.

NEWMAN: Okay. What is it?

JERRY: Take a look at this card. Tell me if you notice anything unusual about it.

NEWMAN: Your nipple is showing.

JERRY: Okay. Thanks.

NEWMAN: Anything else?

JERRY: No.

NEWMAN: All rightsee you later.

JERRY: What? So what? It’s a nipple. It’s a little round circular protuberance. What’s the big deal? Here everybody’s got them. See I got them.

KRAMER: I got them too.

JERRY: Everybody’s got them.

GEORGE: Hey. How come I didn’t get a Christmas card? Everybody else got one. Jerry got one, Kramer got one. I thought we were good friends. I don’t get a Christmas card. I don’t get it.

ELAINE: You want a Christmas card? You want a Christmas card? All right here. Here’s your Christmas card.

Notes:

Vocabulary: 

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christmas cardLook at what we have here – Used to show someone is surprised by something

It was no trouble – Showing it was not a problem or something difficult to do

Come out – In this case, that a photo looks good

Nipple  – Ducts that secrete milk in female mammals

Exposed – Made visible

Painstaking – Employing great care or thoroughness

Boom – A loud noise, in this case used to show something happened suddenly

Shot – Short for ‘snapshot’, a photo.

What’s the difference – Showing that something doesn’t matter.

Super – Short for Superintendent, someone who manages something, in this case an apartment building.

Protuberance – Something that protrudes from something else.

What’s the big deal? – Common expression meaning that something isn’t important.

seinfeld-christmas-card-nippleHow come? – Why?

I don’t get it – I don’t understand.

Pronunciation:

didn’t have to go – dih-din av-duh-go

How did it – How-dih-dit

Hard is it – har-dih-zit

Did you – dih-ju

But I think – Buh-dy think

Take a look – tay-kuh look

What I thought – wuh-dy thought

Look at the – loo-kah-thuh

Going to – gonna

Shot of it – Shaw-duv ih

Have you – Ha-vyu

Did you – dih-ju

That’s a nipple – Tha-tsuh nipple

Didn’t you – dih-din-chu

Notice – no-diss

Let me – leh-me

You know – y’no

Little – li-dul

What is it – Wuh-dizzit

About it – abau-dit

Nipple is – nih-pulz

All right – aw-riht

See you later – see-ya-lay-dur

I got them – ay gaw-dum

Get a Christmas card – geh-duh kris-mus card

Want a – wanna

Grammar & Cultural Notes:

OMGOh my God! – Very common exclamation used even by those that aren’t religious. Some people who are religious find this offensive and prefer to use the milder, “Oh my gosh!”

Nana and Papa – What Elaine calls her grandmother and grandfather respectively. Common nicknames for grandmother are grandma, nana, gam gam, gammy, or granny. Common nicknames for grandfather are grandpa, papa, grandpapa, baba, or pop pop.

I got them – The way Jerry uses this here is technically grammatically incorrect. Because he is showing possession, he should say, “I have them” or “I have got them.” This is a mistake commonly made by native speakers. This is correct, however, if we are talking about “got” meaning “receive something,” as is shown by George at the end of the clip “Jerry got one, Kramer got one.”

Watch Clip Again

Improve your English with TV Shows

Television shows are an amazing way to take your fluency to the next level. They help you with listening and pronunciation, connect you to the culture, and help motivate you to keep learning. It can make a great part of your learning routine  because it’s fun and stress-free.

Need some help to make your English learning with TV shows more effective to maximize your learning? Then you should definitely learn more about our popular course Fluent with Friends and see if it is right for you.

What’s your favorite show to learn English with? What clip would you like me to break down next? Let me know in the comments below, aww yeah!

10 Comments

  1. Hung on December 20, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Hello !
    I just want to say thank you.
    First of all, please forgive me if I made mistake writing English here because I am not good at English and I still improve it everyday. I must say that this is the most useful video I’ve ever seen, you has explained in details and very clearly especially in cultural and pronunciation. I really want to speak English fluently one day, but I have not found any suitable program for me, Even it was hard writing like this. That was great if who can tell me How should I do and How long I can get it.

    Thanks for your work. Best wish to you !

    • Ethan on December 21, 2015 at 1:39 am

      Hey Hung, first, never apologize for your English. It’s not easy learning another language and you’re doing a great job. Making mistakes is NORMAL and just a part of the process.

      If you enjoyed this lesson, I’d definitely recommend checking out our course, Fluent with Friends. It teaches the language in a very similar manner to this with the TV show Friends. You can find more information in our Fluency Center. And let me know if you have any questions 🙂 http://reallifeglobal.com/fluency-centre/

  2. ana Paula costa on December 20, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    That was amazing vídeo, super hilarious!! I’d love to speak fast like them. Some expressions is a little bit difficult to understand without subscribing but in general, I got it perfect!! Thanks Ethan!

    • Ethan on December 21, 2015 at 1:37 am

      You’re very welcome Ana! If you wanna speak like them, I recommend you start watching the show, from episode 1! Seinfeld is a great show to connect with American culture and language, and even though it’s around 15 years old, it’s still got a lot of relevant references. Plus, it’s just so funny and creative! I’ve seen each episode at least twice, and I still crack up every time I watch.

      • ana Paula costa on December 21, 2015 at 9:59 am

        Ok Ethan, I’ll follow your advice and watch the other episodes , I will look them up on youtube . Tks for your attention. Hug

        • Ethan on December 22, 2015 at 1:40 am

          Great to hear 🙂

  3. Omar on December 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Dear frinds this video is very intersting and i like this please send us alot video in order to became great listiner, thank you all

    • Ethan on December 22, 2015 at 1:43 am

      Hey Omar, I’ll keep creating some lessons like this. If you want even more and more in-depth lessons, definitely check out the Fluent with Friends Course: http://reallifeglobal.com/fluency-centre/

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  5. […] Fun English with the TV Show “Seinfeld” […]

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