Saffle Says --- Lessons for English Learners

Here you can find out all the information you need about the Michael's ESL podcast and blog. Post questions and comments as you wish. I value listener and reader comments so don't be shy! The questions you ask me more than likely will be questions others want to know the answers to!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

What Makes a Great Jingle?

Hello and congratulations for making it through another week! In the U.S.A. and other countries around the world, we have been mostly self-quarantining ourselves in our house this week. Social Distancing is the new phrase in our collective zeitgeist and boy-howdy, can it be a challenge. Our family lives in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and we have closed our schools and have been directed to work from home. The good news is that working from home is possible for both my wife and I so we can continue to provide for our children. It does make it difficult to work though when you have two young children in the house and you have to not only keep them entertained, but also educated. As a former Junior High School and Elementary school teacher I have some experience, but it's definitely a full-time job.

One of the things I have been doing is playing old commercial jingles for my children. If you are like me, you don't really watch a lot of live television anymore. We mostly watch on-demand programing. Netflix, YouTube and the like. So we don't generally ever see any commercials anymore. For my children, these old commercial jingles are just short songs. And I think that's what makes them so memorable. Some of the best jingles are very very old. One of the shortest but memorable is the one for Jello which has been around for almost 100 years.

So I thought I would link to a few of my favorite jingles here for your enjoyment.

Here is one of the oldest Jello radio commercials. Back in the 1930s radio programs would have one advertiser for the entire show. The Jack Benny Show was sponsored by Jello for years and years. 

Classic commercial from my youth, Kit-Kat! One of the world's most popular candy bars. Now I was one.

I have never bought this cat food but I will never forget this jingle! Classic!

And maybe the most famous one of all! The Coke commercial that was translated into many different languages. Did you have this one in your country?

Hang in there if you can't leave your house! Send me your favorite commercial jingles!

- Michael

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Sunday, March 08, 2020

To Lick Someone's Boots - What? Why?

Why would someone want to lick someone else's boots? Well, this idiom refers to someone who is trying to please a person, usually a superior at work, often in order to obtain something, often not seen as genuine to others.

An example would be "Roger is licking the manager's boots in the hope of obtaining a pay rise." 

It can be easy to see why this would be a negative idiom, in the sense you wouldn't use this to compliment someone. We have other idioms similar to this one. To "butter up" someone is to complement them in order to curry favor. Though not 100% positive, it's far better than the image of licking someone's footwear.

We can assume the the original message behind this week's idiom is that when spoken, we are to see what the "boot licker" is doing is not condoned appropriate or is irksome. If you find yourself in a conversation with a co-worker and this idiom is being used, know that this isn't friendly banter, this is someone angry with another and letting you know about it.

Does your language have something similar? I would love to know!



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