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)
(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 …
JERRY: Did you look at this picture carefully?
JERRY: Because I’m not sure and, and, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I see … a nipple.
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.
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?
ELAINE: Well come here and take a look.
KRAMER: Yeah, so?
ELAINE: So, what’s that?
KRAMER: That’s a nipple.
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?
NEWMAN: All right, see 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.
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.
I don’t get it – I don’t understand.
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:
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.”
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!