24 Apr

[Series 1] a story about sandwich

Who taught: Mike

sub sandwich

Sub (source: http://www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com/)

Have you read my old post about ordering a sub sandwich? If not, check it out! As you can notice, it has been more than two years and now I learned a new thing about it.

When it comes to names of things, you do not question it because it is just what it is and how it is called. So, I have not really questioned why sub sandwich is called sub.

A few days ago, I had a chance to talk to Mike. He has a whiteboard in his office and there was one thing that caught my eyes.

“Sub -> Submarines”

I asked him, “What is that?” He said, it is about why sub sandwich is called sub. And he went on, saying “It is because sub sandwich looks like submarine.”

I never thought about it. Interestingly, he also told me that people in Boston or New England area do not call it sub. Instead they call it “grinder.” The reason being that it needs a lot of chewing (grinding) to eat.

I have never been to Boston but I will definitely visit the city soon. You know what one of my plans is? I am going to go to a restaurant where they sell grinders and order one but I will not say I want a grinder. I will say, “I want to order a sub.” What would be their reaction? Do you think they would understand? I doubt but it will be fun. Ahh…. the joy of learning another language. 🙂

P.S.: I will update you later with what happened in Boston.

17 Feb


Who taught: Mike

Haggling (source: http://girliegirlarmy.com/)

Today’s expression is very fresh. I just learned it from my friend, Mike. Yesterday night, I made an offer on a house that Jessy and I like. And, as we expected, there was a counter offer from the owner. And…. I am now in the middle of negotiation over the price. It is actually happening pretty fast. I thought it is going to take a few days but it looks like it will take only a few hours to either reach an agreement or not. Speaking of negotiation, there is a saying in America, “Everything is negotiable.” There are so many things you can negotiate in America and the most common items that you have to negotiate in America are cars and houses. To be able to negotiate, it is important to do your own homework and of course be able to speak English. 🙂 Which one is harder? I am sure speaking English could be harder for many non-native English speakers.

Frankly, it would be actually advantageous to not be able to speak fluent English to negotiate. You can simply say, “This amount or NO!” Sounds easy, isn’t it?

Going back to my conversation with Mike… I told him the story of my negotiation for the house price and he said, “No body is really buying a house now. So, you can probably haggle over a price easily.” As I hear, I showed my trademark, a curious face. Then, Mike realized that I do not know the word, haggle. So, he started to explain it to me, saying “Haggle is like bargaining.” What an easy word. Everybody knows what bargain means, right? Well, now I added another word in my vocabulary. 🙂

So, what should I haggle over? Hmm… How about my salary? 🙂

02 Jun


Who taught: James and Mike

Raining cats and dogs

It is raining cats and dogs now. It is a pretty scary storm with thunder and lightning. Hope everybody is safe!

Near my desk, my company’s UX (User Experience) team members nest together to do team coding work to meet the deadline of the new version release of the software. There is also a big white board that they use for keeping track of all of the work items. Today, I noticed a piece of paper stuck to the other side of the board. It reads, “Everyone here is a certified genius.” But, for some reason, someone covered two words of the sentence so that it became, “Everyone here is certified.” I bet Jake did it. Jake, it’s you, right? Well, by looking at it, I was curious. “Why someone covered the words here?” I asked to James. He said, “It might be something related to the word, ‘certifiable’.” “What’s up with ‘certifiable’?” I asked again. He told me that if someone is certifiable, it means he/she is insane. “So, when I see this sentence here, it sounds to me, ‘Everyone here is insane’,” James said.

The origin of the expression is from “certifiably insane.” And, at some point, people decided to drop ‘insane’ and make it shorter. People should not do this. It makes non-native English speakers harder to understand. Seriously, let’s not do that, shall we?

So, next time if you see someone is really out of his/her mind or mentally ill or just crazy, try to say, “Dude! You are certifiable.” Now, I am not sure whether this is very serious or it has a feeling of pulling someone’s leg. My friends! Should I be careful using this one?