Nigerian Ancestry in America | What my DNA reveals about the U.S.

two Nigerian women in traditional dress, representing the topic of Nigerian ancestry in America
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The craze of ancestry testing has swept the globe. Organizations like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have been on the receiving end of millions of spit samples for a time now. I sent mine in, you can believe. One of the most interesting parts of doing a test like this is learning your backstory. Not just of a family, but of an entire world. There was a whole global exchange that happened, something never seen before.

Now, I know these tests aren’t perfectly accurate and they might misrepresent ethnicities and countries. But my question is: What does our ancestry reveal about American history and identity? I mean Nigerian ancestry, in this case.

Before we get started, I just want to lay out a disclaimer; I am not a geneticist or DNA expert. Besides the science or validity of testing, I want to look more at context. How did Nigerian ancestry even get to America? And why is there so much Nigerian ancestry in so many black people? The focus today will not be about DNA itself, but about the story that ancestry tells about American history and identity. That’s because the story of my ancestry is the story of many people. Let’s take a look, shalt we?!

Sorry, that was oldschool.


How did Nigerian ancestry get to America?

Well, that one’s quite obvious isn’t it? Unless you’re living on an alternate time plane, we trust that most African heritage in the New World was brought under terms of slavery. Now, slavery was already being practiced in West Africa before Europeans showed up. 

I only mention that because when the Portuguese arrived at what is now Nigeria, they initially set up contracts with local African leaders to trade slaves across the region. (BTW, where’d you think the name “Lagos” came from? Portuguese!) That is to say, traders already had a system set up with regional leaders. Soon after, they began to take some of those slaves for themselves to Brazil, and of course, England followed suit. 

Nigerian ancestry (in America and elsewhere) comes mostly from a few groups, either Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, or Fulani, despite being home to over 250 ethnic groups. The Hausa are a very large group too, but they weren’t sent as much to the Americas. Throughout the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, most of those sent to the 13 Colonies (baby USA) were of Yoruba and Igbo origin. The Igbo captives, in particular, were known for being rebellious, violent, and even suicidal in revolt against slavery. This bad rep probably led to less of them being brought to the country over time. The ones that did make it were mostly held around the Mid-Atlantic colonies (Virginia, Maryland), according to records.

People of West African origin, including today’s Nigeria, would make a profound impact on the musical and culinary styles of the places they were sent to. In the United States, these manifested into ragtime, jazz, soul, funk, blues, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and more. Think of them as intensely Americanized versions of African music. Remember, Nigeria was not a country at the time of American colonialism and many West African cultures extended beyond their present borders.

It’s important to note that there have been a couple of waves of Nigerian immigration to the U.S., especially Igbo, since the times of abolition. One of those immigration spikes is happening right now, actually. Nigeria today is the most populous nation in Africa, and its ancestry is highly present in many black Americans, whether for recent or historical reasons. But there’s just one problem: Many black people have too much Nigerian ancestry.

Nigeria’s overrepresentation in black American DNA

So, there’s a bit of a mystery when it comes to black American ancestry — well, a lot actually, but let’s look at this one thing. I’m what most people call “mixed” or “light-skinned(ed),” but the African ancestry I do have is mostly Nigerian. By now we understand how arbitrary that is. I mean, how much of that is Yoruba, or Edo, or any of those other 250? The point is, this scenario seems to be similar for many Americans with African ancestry — at least those that have been here for several generations. 

What happened was that most slaves from today’s Nigeria were sent to the Caribbean or South America. North America … not so much. Those brought to today’s U.S. were mostly from Senegambia (Senegal, Gambia, Guinea) or Central Africa (the Congo, Angola, Cameroon), so the records say. If that’s true, then where did all these Nigerians come from?

There are a couple of theories and explanations for that. One is that Nigerian ancestry shows up more on DNA tests because a higher proportion of Nigerians partake in DNA studies compared to other African nations. So, that might boost your Nigeria score. 

Another motive could stem from the abolition of Trans-Atlantic slave trading when it became illegal to capture and bring slaves from Africa anymore. That happened in 1808 in the USA. The weird part is that part of the pressure to do this, beside moral and economic, was to put a hold on the black population which actually outnumbered whites in the South. In order to get more black slaves later on, the U.S. had to import them from other New World colonies, particularly those in the Caribbean. This continued to happen even after all slavery was abolished in America.

It seems that there was a much higher death rate among the Senegambia slaves since they were among the first to arrive. It’s like the Europeans didn’t really know what they were doing yet, and so a lot of the slaves ended up dead. There were higher death rates in the Caribbean and South American slaves, but once brought to the U.S. they usually did a little better. 

Many were probably second-generation and were already used to the hard life on plantations. It’s thought that they intermarried with the established black population or even outnumbered them in places, enough so that their gene pool would become dominant. In reality, it could be due to a mixture of reasons. 

In Conclusion

As a black-ish American, it is fascinating to me to learn more about my African heritage. There’s a lot to be proud of and a lot to feel bad about. The idea that Nigerian ancestry is likely so dominant due to Caribbean slaves being brought into the States really demonstrates how linked together black people of the New World are. We don’t have our old languages, customs, or religions, but we do have our own new dialect, our own new customs, and a rich culture that has taken the world by storm! 

As I said, I am mixed, so I’ll be going over the different white, black, and whatever else ancestry I have over the coming weeks / months. It is all a part of a quest to understand the history of this country. What shows up on our DNA tests, whether exact or not, reveals not only how America was made. It reveals how the world made America.

Thanks for reading! As always, take care out there. 😉  

Further Reading and Resources

Abolishing African Slave Trade

African American Music

Nigeria Country Profile

So Much Nigerian Ancestry

Lots of Americans with Nigerian Ancestry

Overrepresentation of Nigerian Genes

Ancestry Profile of Nigeria

Nigerian Americans

The Many Meanings of Catch (Catch on, Catch up, a Catch, & more) | English Dialogue

Heads up … catch! This seemingly (or should I say “deceptively”) simple word is stuffed and loaded with different meanings. Do the many uses of “catch” confuse you? Here I want to look at the traditional meanings, as well as some common slang and figurative uses of the word. There are also short and realistic dialogues to help. So, are you ready to catch some knowledge? Let’s do it.

The normal meaning of Catch

Normally, to Catch means to receive something that is thrown or has fallen. As people, we mostly catch things with our hands.


 — “Look, Charles, I got you a new iPhone charger. Catch!”

While attempting to grab the charger, Charles accidentally dropped his phone onto the floor.

 — “Gee, thanks! Now I’m going to need a new iPhone too.”

 — “Well, you should have caught it before it hit the ground.”

Catch something (figuratively)

As you can imagine, “catch” also has several figurative and even slang meanings. As a verb, you can catch something not visible such as an illness or some attention.


 — “Did you hear what happened to Kevin Hart? He said he caught the ‘Vid’,” Charles said to his friend, Jonah, sitting behind him. Jonah gave him a firm Shhh! 

 — “Be quiet, man! Whenever I talk in class, I catch an angry look from Ms. Delaware. You’ll get me in trouble.”

‘Catching’ someone

Another meaning is when you catch someone, or find them. Usually, this is while they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

 — “Hey, Sheila. Do you think we could take your little bro out for ice cream?”

 — “I don’t know. He got caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar last night. I think he’s had enough sweets.”

 — “Well, we could always take him to the Salad Bar,” Charles suggested.

 — “Oh, no. You won’t catch me anywhere near that place.”

Still, catch can be about meeting another person, in general. This is usually at a designated time or place.

 — “I hope we can hang out soon, Sheila. What do you think?”

 — “For sure! I’ll catch you after our game tomorrow.”

Other random meanings of Catch

To catch can be to understand what someone else said or what has happened. It’s usually said as a question to check for comprehension or as a way to show a lack of understanding.


Jonah’s mind wandered as he daydreamed about the upcoming game that night. Suddenly, he realized Charles had been mumbling at him for the past five minutes.

 — “Sorry, what did you say? I didn’t catch that.”

 — “I was telling you about my plans to quit working for this lousy school. Did you catch it this time?!”

… Or, going to see something, such as an event. 


 — “Do you want to catch a movie after you get off work?” Charles asked Sheila. She turned at him and grinned.

 — “Yeah … Or, we could go to the game like everyone else.”

Or, boarding a transportation vehicle. 



Sheila gave Charles a big hug.

 — “I have to catch this bus. If you want to see a movie, it’s fine. Can we talk later?”

 — “Yeah, either way is fine. Let me know. Maybe we can catch a ride together.”

Phrasal verbs: Catch on, Catch up

And that’s just “Catch” by itself. Of course, there are also phrasal verbs like catch on — to begin to understand something — or catch up — to reach a desired point in understanding or place from behind.


 — It used to be so much fun to speak in German around your friends. I think they’re starting to learn now.

 — Right, especially Mark didn’t use to understand our conversations, but now he’s catching on.

 — It’s about time! Why is Mark so far behind in his German, anyway? He needs to catch up!

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A Catch, as a noun

All verbs aside, there is also catch used as a noun. A catch is a hidden condition or problem when something seems too good to be true.


Charles looked at his neighbor in disbelief. 

“You’ll give me this car for four hundred bucks and all repairs are up to date? What’s the catch?”

 — “No catch! It’s a good car, man. What, you don’t believe me?”

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A catch can also be a person who seems like a perfect match, or a great person to be in a relationship with. They are like the ideal partner.


 — I don’t know why you’re so in-love with Sheila. Look at Jenny. She’s the boss of her own business, helps her community, and owns a Benz. She’s a catch, for sure.

 — “Uh-huh, Jonah. Total catch.”


**These are just some of the main uses of “catch”. Can you think of any others meanings? Can you think of your own examples for these words? Share it with us and spread the English love! Thanks for reading and learning. Take care out there.

Read More:

Contact or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com

Places in Nunavut – Gallery Images, Videos, & Profile | Earth’s Face

territory Flag of Nunavut
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NUNAVUT

ᓄᓇᕗᑦ

English:

/NOO-na-voot/ /NUU-na-vuut/ /NUH-na-vuht/

Listen

French:

/noo-ne-VOOT/

Listen

Inuktitut

/NOO-nah-voot/

Canadian Provinces and Territories map, Nunavut highlighted in red
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satellite map of Nunavut
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Name Origin

from the Inuktitut language meaning “our land

Population

< 39,500

Main Languages

Mostly Inuktitut (~ 63%). The second most spoken language is the local variety of English (~ 31%). French and Inuinnaqtun are also official in the territory.

Capital & Largest City

Iqaluit

Location

Northern Canada, a federal territory in the general Arctic region. Has a lot of Arctic Ocean coastline along with islands in the Arctic Archipelago and throughout Hudson Bay, including Canada’s largest, Baffin Island. Location is split between the mainland section and its many large and small islands.

Biogeography

Nearctic Realm

Part of Canada’s Arctic tundra, taiga shield, and Arctic Cordillera mountains. Home to some of the world’s largest islands.


Gallery Images & Videos: Places in Nunavut

Inuit structure in the snows of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Rankin Inlet – m e a n d r e a
stony river and waterfall at Ukkusiksalik National Park, place in Nunavut
Ukkusiksalik National Park – Gierszep
polar boar walking on icebergs in Nunavut, Canada
Ansgar Walk
Inuit inuksuit statues on a bay near Iqaluit, capital of Nunavut territory
Iqaluit – Isaac Demeester
the Igloo Cathedral in the town of Iqaluit, Northern Canada
Igloo Cathedral – Jennifer Rector
Inuksuk statue overlooking the town of Iqaluit
Jeremy Rahn
icy landscape at dawn somewhere in Nunavut territory
annelope
urban art mural of a smiling inuit woman, Iqaluit
Axel Drainville
tabletop mountains in Auyuittuq National Park, dawn and snowy landscape, place in Nunavut
Auyuittuq National Park – Nuno Luciano
hikers in a valley ahead of towering mountains in Auyuittuq National Park, Canada
Peter Morgan
flying over sweeping white scenery and snowy mountains and canyons in Nunavut, Ellesmere Island
Ellesmere Island – NASA ICE
Hiking the rocks below the Stoke's Range in Qausuittuq National Park, place in Nunavut
Qausuittuq National Park – Paul Gierszewski
station overlooking snowy plains with a weak morning sun, northern tundra of Canada
Buie
Bylot Island from sea ice, crack in the ice leading to the mountains, Sirmilik National Park, Nunavut
Sirmilik National Park – Paul Gierszewski
snow-topped mountains and cliffs in Quttinirpaaq National Park, far-northern Canada
Quttinirpaaq National Park – Ansgar Walk
Arctic fox running in the snow, Quttinirpaaq National Park
Ansgar Walk
icy waters ahead of the mountainous tundra on an island in Nunavut, Canada
Ralph Earlandson
Mount Thor, Akshayuk Pass, Baffin Island, Canada
Mount Thor – Paul Gierszewski
cliffs at the Tip of Prince Leopold Island, place in Nunavut
Prince Leopold Island – Timkal
people sitting on a Qamutik sled on a snowy day in Nunavut
Qamutik sled – Ansgar Walk
solar-charged igloos at night
Mike Beauregard
bright red mosses on the gravely ground and view of the bay in Cape Dorset, place in Nunavut
Cape Dorset – Se Mo
view of the town of Pond Inlet covered in snow ahead of mountains, Nunavut, Canada
Pond Inlet – Ansgar Walk
boats sailing a section of the Northwest Passage viewed from the coast of Nunavut
Northwest Passage – Martha de Jong-Lantink
a vast snowy landscape with small arctic plants at sunrise, arctic Canada
Steve Sayles

About the Nearctic Realm – What is it? | Culture & Biogeography

world map with question marks on it, related to biogeography and the nearctic realm
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Realm? What are we, crossing through the wardrobe of Narnia? It sounds a bit fancy, but Biogeographic (or Zoogeographic) Realms are a way that scientists have divided the world to connect its main biological and geographic features. The continents in all their glory can be a confusing and misrepresentative way to look at the world. We’ve discussed if Bio-Realms might be a better way to divide our planet before. Here, I want to go deeper into one realm in particular, including some of its main physical and cultural features. Don’t mind me, I just love geography–and biogeography, apparently.

world map highlighting the nearctic realm in green
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What is the Nearctic?

The Nearctic Realm is a part of the wider “Arctic” Biogeographical Realm that stretches across much of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s Ne-arctic, as in “New,” because it’s in the New World. That is, the world that was unknown by Eurasians and Africans up until a recent point. That is, the Americas. Put together with the Palearctic (“Old World” Arctic), they can be called the Holarctic (or the whole Arctic!). The Nearctic happens to coincide with what most people think of when they picture “North America.” It includes everything in that continent starting from the Arctic — including Greenland — and goes down until we reach the tropics. In the Southwest, this cutoff is somewhere in the middle of Mexico, while in the Southeast, the cutoff is Central Florida. 

Since we’re talking about the limitations of the realm, let’s look at the political geography. Only two countries take up the bulk of the Nearctic:

  • Canada
  • the United States

A good chunk of Mexico is in the Nearctic, though most of the country probably isn’t (it depends on definitions). Nearctic Mexico would be the deserts, shrublands, and temperate mountains in the north. The Kingdom of Denmark sneaks its way in by way of the massive constituent country, Greenland. France also has a piece by way of a tiny territory off the coast of Newfoundland called St. Pierre & Miquelon. Otherwise, that’s it!

Geography of the Nearctic

The Nearctic is known for having large, somewhat continuous biome types. Some major ones to remember are the Arctic tundra, Boreal forests / taiga, the Great Plains, the Nearctic (or North American) deserts, and the Eastern temperate forests. Much of those forests have been heavily urbanized or used for agriculture, but there are still some trees if you look. Oh, it’s not that bad.

cacti and flora in the sonora desert, southwestern nearctic realm
Sonora Desert – Brian Henderson

The realm is home to tons of lakes, big and small, with the largest (Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, etc.) being in the Great Lakes region. There are also some seriously long rivers here too, with some notable mentions being the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Yukon, and the Rio Grande.

forest, lake, and mountain scene in the rocky mountains, a major feature of the nearctic realm
Rocky Mountains – G. Lamar

Major mountain systems include the famous Rockies, the Pacific Ranges (or Cordillera), the East and West Sierra Madres, and the Appalachians. They are all very extensive too. The Rockies stretch from the Southwest United States up into Northern Canada. The Pacific Ranges basically run up the entire Pacific Coast. Depending on definition, the Appalachians go from the hills of Mississippi to the rocky shores of Newfoundland. Another big one is the Arctic Cordillera, a set of rugged mountains that stretch from Northern Labrador and Quebec all the way up to Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. 

unique temperate rainforest in the pacific northwest region of north america
Temperate Rainforest, Pacific Northwest – Tjflex2

There are a couple of biomes that stand out from the rest of the realm. The Pacific Northwest is home to the biggest — or longest — temperate rainforest in the world. On the other end, Appalachia is home to pockets of temperate rain and cloud forests. A large section of the Gulf Coast, especially around Louisiana, is home to vast wetlands and swamps called bayous. 

ice cap in the arctic tundra of canada
Ice cap in Canadian Arctic – NASA ICE

Another distinct area is Greenland’s Arctic desert (that’s right, they can be cold). That biome is a dry, snowy wilderness covered in snow year-round. Since we’re in the “Ne-Arctic,” the weather is just about everything but tropical. As we saw, it ranges from moist forests to dry prairies and arid deserts. Mediterranean climate is common in the matorral and chaparral shrublands of the West. Parts of the southeastern Nearctic aren’t quite tropical, but do have a humid subtropical climate. The main ecoregions include subtropical forests, temperate mixed and conifer forests, boreal forests, temperate and subtropical grasslands and plains, tundra, Mediterranean wood and shrublands, deserts, and even mangroves off the coast of Northwestern Mexico.

Ecology of the Nearctic

The Nearctic is home to many plants and animals. Some of the common big fauna are antelope (pronghorns), bison, wolves, foxes, bobcats, lynx, cougars (or mountain lions), deer, bighorn sheep, moose, bears, and musk oxen. There are also tons of rodents like rabbits, gophers, and squirrels, as well as beavers and porcupines. Armadillos, peccaries, and opossums came from further south. There are lots of bovids (cows) and horses too, but those were mostly introduced later. Camels, horses, and even a kind of cheetah were native to this region but endemic species have all died out.

turkey, an endemic and common fowl in the nearctic zone
Turkey – Tim Lumley

Alligators are common in some parts, as are many other reptiles, amphibians, and everything else. Major birds are crows, cardinals, turkeys, and hummingbirds, as well as many owls, hawks, eagles, ducks, geese, condors, and pelicans. Different berries and flowers, as well as specialized desert, tundra, and temperate zone plants are also found here. See this article for some interesting flora in North America.

Let’s Get Some Culture … of the Nearctic

As I mentioned before, one of the cool things about Bio-Realms is how they kind of coincide with human cultural interactions too. The dominating cultures in this realm tend to be this “Neo-Anglo” culture of the North American variety (it’s quite different from Neo-Anglo culture in the Caribbean, for example), and a Latin American culture, also of the North American variety. Neo-Anglo culture is strongest throughout, especially in much of the U.S. and Canada. Still, Latino culture is strong in the Southwest of the region. This is mostly in Mexico (duh!), but also in bordering U.S. states and several urban areas throughout the realm. 

“Neo-Franco” culture is strong in some areas like Canada, especially in Quebec province. It also has some influence in parts of Louisiana or St. Pierre & Miquelon, of course. Besides being a part of the same three countries, these areas are heavily influential in each other’s history and contemporary identities. They receive many immigrants amongst one another and share languages, slang, music, and cuisine across borders. 

Indigenous cultures are also still around, though much subtler than in the Neotropical Realm. Their cultures are more visible in the Western United States and Mexico or rural Canada. This is also true of the Arctic where the many Inuit peoples have a distinct culture and identity. Match that with Greenland where there’s this funky mix of Inuit and Danish cultural cues. 


We’ve come to the end of the Nearctic Realm, but there’s so much more to explore. What other cultural ties do the people of this realm share? Are there any other cool animals, plants, or geographic features you can think of in this realm? Had you heard about the Nearctic before? Tell us in the comments!

Follow if you enjoyed the article and feel free to read more posts. Thanks as always for stopping by. Sending you good vibrations. Peace!

**Ask me more or collaborate with CulSurf: tietewaller@gmail.com; Give Me a Shout!

Topic: Why Shoulda, Coulda, Should of, Would of? | English Speaking Habits

Pronouncing Modal Verbs in the Past


Modal verbs? What? As English speakers, we have lots of funny speech habits. To the average person, they may not seem like a big deal. But what about those that have decided to take on learning this complex language?

“Take on me-e … take me o-on!”

You can almost hear English singing in the shower. You might have heard such words as “shoulda” or “coulda” before. Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

What are Modal Verbs, after all?

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary (or helping) verb. This just means their purpose is to help other verbs to make sense. Modal verbs themselves are used to show a necessity or possibility. These are words like could, should, may, might, would, and so on.

In the past tense, modal verbs are often followed by the word “have.” This lets us know they are modals instead of a regular past tense verb. How do we know that “could” is acting like the past tense of “can,” or if it is expressing a possibility? We know it’s a possibility when it’s next to “have.” Look at this:

  • When I was younger, I could run a mile without stopping. (past tense of “can”)
  • I could have been a track star. (past tense of the modal verb “could,” shows a possibility)

Remember, modals don’t always need “have.” Adding it is used to show that this necessity or possibility was in the past. The same goes with should have, may have, might have, would have, and more.

You Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda … Used Correct Grammar

The habit I told you about earlier is that many people turn “have” into a simple shwa sound (“uh”) when talking. They basically get rid of the “h” and “v” sounds. This makes could have sound like coulda.

  • I coulda been a track star. (could have)

This is so common that we have an expression to mimic this; shoulda, coulda, woulda. Or coulda, shoulda, woulda. Woulda, coulda, shoulda? I guess it doesn’t really matter what order you say it in. Some people say this to express when it’s too late to do something and the opportunity has passed. Similar expressions are “that’s too bad,” “too late,” or “keep dreaming.” 

 — You know, I could have been a track star.

 — Yeah! Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Should of, Could of, Would of

To take it a step further, “have” can completely change and turn into “of.” This isn’t grammatically correct, but it happens because some people might pronounce the “could-a” like “could-uv.” This happens when we mean to contract “could have” and say “could’ve.” The pronunciation of the “of” sounds very similar to that final “ve” sound, so it’s easy to confuse the two in everyday speech. Many people who even know the correct grammar might make a mistake when writing or speaking and say “of” instead of the short “‘ve” because of how easy it is to switch the two. 

More info:

  • ‘Should have’ and ‘should of’ on Quora

*Try saying could of and could’ve out loud. Do you notice how similar they sound? 

Here are some more examples!

See, you shoulda / should of been more careful. 

I coulda / could of been a millionaire. 

She musta / must of been crazy to adopt a lion.


Thank you for reading! Check the Blog to see similar posts.

**Have a question about another English speaking habit? Is there something you don’t understand about the way people talk? Tell me about it and I’ll write a post for you, and offer other resources to better understand!

Contact me to collaborate or send a personal message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me Shout! page.

10 Everyday(-ish) English Expressions about Cars & Driving | part 3

We are hitting the road on another adventure! Well, it’s just an article, but you get the point. Learning a language is a long and arduous process, but it’s easier when made fun. One cool thing about English is all the varied expressions it uses to describe daily happenings. There seem to be an interesting (or suspicious) amount of terms derived from cars and driving, as you could see in parts 1 and 2. In today’s article, I intended to describe even more of these kinds of expressions. However, I realized a lot of these are a bit more specific than your average terms.

Read more:

  • Parts 1 and 2 of Expressions about Cars and Driving

Still, these are useful, so why not give them a try? These are 10 more words and expressions about driving and cars … oh, and some can be used in other situations too. Enjoy! 

Fender Bender

Making a “whoopsy”

This term is very helpful in the specific case that one gets into a minor car accident. It’s not quite a “wreck” but there is a little bit of damage. It’s less common, but sometimes this expression can be used to refer to a minor accident off of the road, too.

Hits & accidents

  • Terry got into a fender bender last night on the highway. I sure hope he wasn’t drinking. 
  • Sometimes we get into little bumps and fender benders that we have to overcome. 

Crash Course / Collision Course

On the road to chaos

In some cases, these two expressions can have a similar meaning. Being on a collision course (or a crash course) towards something is like being on the road to disaster. This danger can be on an actual road or on a metaphorical “course” in life. Something bad is coming, and there will be conflict if nothing is done to stop it. 

In other contexts, a crash course can specifically be a highly intensive academic course or class. Just like this channel I love on YouTube called Crash Course! I’m sure you all will love it if you don’t already.

A crashing lesson

  • When the truck’s emergency brake failed, it went on a collision course down the hill until it eventually hit a wall.
  • If we don’t put John and Michael into separate classrooms, they are going to be on a collision course until one of them throws the first punch.
  • I’m taking a crash course next week on thermodynamics. Wish me luck! 

Hit the Road

Go away! Or not

“Hit the road, Jack!” Pretty much everyone knows this song, and by consequence, the meaning of those famous words. Saying this can be the same as telling someone to leave or go away. Usually, though, the meaning has to do with traveling or beginning a trip.

Get going 

  • You need to hit the road, Jack. I don’t want you around here anymore. 
  • Come on, kids! Let’s hit the road. Disneyland isn’t coming to us. 

Get the Show on the Road

It’s showtime!

Following the theme of roads, here’s another useful expression to bring up. When someone says, get the show on the road, it means to begin some process or to proceed with it. The “show” is normally a reference to something important like a major event, a meeting, a procedure, and so on. Sometimes, it’s used in a similar sense to “hit the road,” or in other words, let’s start this trip! 

Move along, now

  • We need to get the show on the road, so don’t worry about the microphone. You can start without it.
  • Come on, kids! Let’s get this show on the road. Disneyland won’t wait for us.

Joyride / Joy Ride

Bad joy

Joyriding is such a “joy!” Well, for some. Going on a joyride usually involves stealing a car or using a car that doesn’t belong to the driver. The new driver may do other illegal activities with the car or just use it to ride around with friends without any particular motive. This obviously isn’t a joy for whoever got their car stolen. 

Riding dirty

  • Carla loves to joyride in other people’s cars. One day she’ll get caught.

Road Hog

The hateful hog

A road hog is someone who drives in multiple lanes and likes to take up lots of space on the road. This recklessness usually puts other drivers in danger, but it is always super annoying. Road hogs are normally careless drivers or intentionally trying to get in others’ ways. The verb version of this is to“hog the road.” 

Danger, danger, space taker

  • Don’t be a road hog, let the other drivers pass.
  • I really wish that guy would quit hogging the road. It’s so dangerous.

Road Rage

Raging in the machine

Do you have road rage? Oh, it’s such an exhilarating disease! Just kidding. Road rage is exactly what it sounds like. This is when someone gets intensely angry, filled with rage while driving on the road. They usually perform such behaviors as honking excessively, speeding, and doing dangerous maneuvers to get around people. Road ragers may also yell or make obscene gestures at other drivers, and more. Doesn’t that just sound pleasant?!

They call me “angry driver”

  • Why do they keep honking? Just let the poor lady cross the street. Everybody’s got road rage these days.

Hit and Run

Left to hurt

This is probably the most controversial expression on this here list, if there is such a thing. A hit and run is what happens when a car hits another car or person, and then “runs” or drives away. The person at fault often drives away out of fear, but the accident oftentimes causes serious injury, property damage, or even death in the saddest cases. 

This nature of “cause damage and flee the scene” is sometimes used in the context of relationships. A hit and run in this sense can mean that someone had relations (usually sexual) with another and left without saying anything. A similar expression in these cases is “hit and quit.” 

Whether it’s a car or a relationship, the impact on the “victim” has a familiar feeling of being abandoned and vulnerable. 

Fleeing the scene

  • Did you hear the crash last night? I know, it was a terrible hit and run.
  • Chuck is an infamous ladies’ man. You better prepare for a hit and run. then.

Hotwire

Breaking in hot

H-o-t-w-i-r-e, Hotwire.com! No, not that kind of hotwire. Normally, this word is used to describe a crime where someone uses the electric circuits of a car to start it without a key. This is a useful skill for when one loses their keys, but it is normally performed to steal a car. Wow, this part 3 is a little dark, eh? 

One can also hotwire a system or program. In this sense, it’s not so much about stealing as it is about figuring out how to break into something for your own advantage. In an informal sense, it can have a similar meaning to “hack” or “breaking a code.”

Cracking the code

  • Vanessa is a professional car thief. She has hotwired everything from Mitsubishis to Bentleys.
  • My company’s new interface is very complex, but I’m sure I can hotwire it and figure it out within the week. 

Pumped (up) / Gassed (up)

Fill ‘er up!

Similar to pumping gas into an engine, being pumped up is feeling full of excitement and energy. It’s how I imagine a car must feel after going to the gas station. This expression works as pumped up or simply pumped. A similar term is gassed up, which is feeling high energy and excitement too. This is different from simply feeling gassed though, which is the exact opposite, for some reason. 

A gassy tank

  • The kids are so pumped about going to Disneyland. I’m sure it will be tons of fun. 
  • Many athletes like listening to music to get pumped up before a game. 
  • Let’s get gassed up, you guys! The game is about to start. 
  • We’ve been traveling all day long, I’m totally gassed. Can we please take a break?

That’s it, you guys! Thank you for reading and I hope you learned some new phrases. How would you use these in your own sentences? What is your favorite expression about cars and driving? Tell us about it. And, as always, take care of each other. Peace!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com or Give me a Shout!

Contracting Words with ‘Of’ – English Speech Habits

a pink neon question mark in a box down a dark hallway, doubts about contracting words with 'of' in English speech
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In English, like in any language, we speakers have some funny habits when it comes to using the language. Hey, at least it adds some character, am I right? Today I want to dwell a bit on this thing we do when we contract a quantifier word with the word “of”. This is similar to what happens when we combine “want to (wanna).” But first thing’s first; what in the Anglo-ing world is a quantifier?? Well, quantifiers are words that indicate a quantity (no, really!) or in other words, an amount of something. 

Contracting Quantifiers with ‘Of’

Some examples of this are: a little, a lot, many, some, a few

Read more about the types of quantifiers:

When describing an amount (or quantity) of something, some of these words are followed by “of.” 

  • a lot of cake; some of the cake; a bit of cake

Keep in mind, this is not all the time. Many quantifiers and some of their uses don’t have an “of” after them. 

  • some cake; a few cakes; many cakes

*“Some cake” and “some of the cake” can mean the same thing. Although, usually “some of the cake” sounds more specific (a piece of a specific cake) while “some cake” sounds more general (a piece of any cake)

When there is an “of” behind those quantifiers that need it, some speakers have a habit of combining the quantifier word with “of.” In this way, it forms a contraction. 

  • There’s a lotta cake left in the fridge. (a lot of)
  • Do you want to take home somma this cake? (some of)

This is more common in speech and when people are talking quickly. This habit is not a rule though, and these words are almost never spelled in the contracted way except in very informal text. It is also not universal and not everyone has this habit. Still, it is fairly common and a good thing to be aware of, say, when you talk with native speakers or watch TV. 

This plays into the larger trend of changing short words with the “shwa” sound (uh, like ‘of’, ‘to’, ‘the’) and just contracting them with a bigger word.

The most popular one of these you’ll notice in day-to-day speech will most likely be kinda. As a quantifier, it has about the same meaning as “somewhat” or “a little bit.”


Examples

Here are some other common instances of contracting quantifiers with “of.”

a bunch of

  • They’re a buncha sore losers. (They’re a bunch of sore losers.)

some of

  • Do you want somma my fries? (Do you want some of my fries?)

kind of (used as a quantity)

  • I kinda like him. (I kind of like him.)

a couple of

  • They’re just a coupla / couple’a guys hanging out. (They’re just a couple of guys hanging out.)

enough of

  • Okay, I’ve had enough’a this. (Okay, I’ve had enough of this.)

all of

  • Oh no! All’a / all’o the food is gone. (Oh no! All of the food is gone.)

We thank you for reading and learning new things! Feel free to explore more posts here on Cult-surf. Similar posts can be found on the Blog. Enjoy yourselves, and take care out there!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com; Give Me a Shout

‘Creature Love’ | a visual poem

Creature Love – Video

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Also, here’s the written version of the poem below. You can read along and listen for English practice, or simply enjoy. Thanks for coming!

Poem

Creature you in breach on me

This being rocks all living things

She swings on vines and clings on trees;

amazing beast that wildly sings

On me she puts a witch’s spell;

a dart frog poison liquid gel

My lyric-bathing, cinematic,

gnawing bone, tumbling in havoc–

Oh, and she dances I might add,

a folly, live hamadryad

Her breath is strong but never reeks;

her voice is loud, but never speaks

While bold in ears and nose and cheeks

the creature’s skin feels fine and sleek

Oh, dancer queen that rubs off bright

A brilliant lunar satellite

with actions that I gyrate with,

and commands that I am at width

to consider, if to me it tells

because I’m under witches’ spells

And lizard tongues with dragon wings

and blueish pools of youthful wells

sparkle, glitter shines on its shell

and above its hundred gleaming eyes

It makes a clear disguise because all clarity she brings

With a natural sense like vast backdrops

or cauliflower lollipops

She burns like fifty suns, the creature

An animal of circus fun

Her radiation fries my outsides,

her hide is woven lead sulfide

And eyes too deep for rocket ships

to endlessly fleet the universes,

Too bright for super nebulae

Such dark and muddy fantasy!

A globe of points tied down in one

This ache, I feel, when she has gone

like parasitic symbiont;

an avant-garde cartoon savant

with animated movie smiles in exaggerated style

The scorching that I feel before surreal peace sets me clean;

my feet turn all the shades of blue and my face turns all green

ever since the beast lent her neck and back to saddle me

From the dawn of time until the night, its fix holds on to saddle me

Read this on Inkspired

Check my channel on YouTube!

Watch other videos or read the Blog

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Bio-Realms – A Better Way Than Continents to ‘Divide’ the World?

Continents are confusing …

a world map with question marks over it, showing the confusion that comes with the current system of continents
original by Brett Zeck

There’s an ongoing question that pokes at the side of so many people in this world. Should I take my shower before or after work? Woah, not that! You dirty minds. While either way you choose has its benefits, I was thinking about the continents. Most people agree that there are seven continents … no wait, there are definitely five … maybe three real ones and a handful of small ones? 

You see the issue; it’s hard to define what a continent really is. Is it a large landmass completely separate from all others like a social-distancing master? Or, is a continent just any big chunk of land that generally fits together, separated only by a thin isthmus or huge range of mountains, for example? I get the feeling this was so much easier back in the Pangaea days.

Read more:

I’m not here to prove what is a continent and what isn’t. Instead of trying to define them, we can look at what could be a much better way of “dividing” our world — if we must divide it at all. This potentially better system is by way of the bio-realm. But first, why is the continent system so jacked up in the first place?

Why is the continent system jacked up?

For one, it’s hard to tell what a continent is and how it should be divided. The names of continents we have now were mostly named by outsiders, with proposed etymologies coming mostly from European or Middle Eastern origins. Keep in mind the names of some of these places are so archaic that they can get seriously hard to trace.

Some factors that make the continents confusing can be:

  1. There’s such a diversity of cultures and demographics on any given continent that an umbrella term can’t capture them all (“African” for Tunisia and the Congo, “Asian” for India and Japan)
  2. Many countries fall into a weird buffer zone (Is Egypt African or Asian? Is Armenia Asian or European? What is the Caribbean? The Middle East? Oceania?)
  3. Many countries can’t agree on what the real continents are anyway (North and South America, or just America? Is it Eurasia, or maybe Afro-Eurasia? Australia, Oceania, or Australasia? Good-ness!)

That is pretty jacked up. So, what are the bio-realms? Why might they be better than continents?

Into a new “realm”

Biogeographic realms, in this circumstance, are a way to look at the world by dividing it among major ecological and geographical areas. This means places that share a somewhat continuous ecology (plant and animal life, in most cases, climate and habitat types too). Plus, don’t you just love the word “realms?” It sounds like we’re traveling into some kind of fantasy dimension. 


Okay, so the bio-realms are:

  • Nearctic Realm (North America excluding the tropics)
  • Neotropical Realm (all of the Americas in or south of the tropics, i.e. Central & South America + the Caribbean)
  • Palearctic Realm (all of Europe and Asia north of the tropics, including Northern Africa)
  • Afrotropical Realm (all of Africa in or south of the tropics, including the tropics of Arabia and the Arabian Sea coast west of Pakistan)
  • Indo-Malayan Realm (all of Asia in or south of the tropics, going east from Pakistan)
  • Australasian Realm (Australia, New Zealand, and Melanesia, including Papua and Maluku Islands)
  • Oceanian Realm (Micronesia and Polynesia, generally the Asia-Pacific region)
  • Antarctic Realm (Antarctica and the surrounding seas)

*I like to separate between West and East Palearctic since the region is so huge, but that’s personal preference, not scientific or anything

One cool thing about this system of looking at the world is that it is more fluid. For example, Mauritius and Madagascar can be considered Afrotropical in terms of geography but Indo-Malayan in terms of culture and history. On a broader note, this grouping can help people get a truer sense of what the world really looks like. The bio-realms are intended to be solely geographical, but without really trying, they pretty well represent most of the historic and cultural interactions that people have had over the millennia too. 

For instance, Morocco had a lot more interaction and influence in nearby Spain than it did in faraway Uganda. Pretty much all of Latin America — and the Caribbean with which it shares many similarities — are in or south of the tropics anyway. South and Southeast Asia have been interacting with and have a lot more in common with each other than they do with the rest of Asia. North African countries have a lot more shared history and identity with Europe and the Middle East than they do with Sub-Saharan Africa in general. 

Read more:

Of course, the world is globalizing and interconnectivity between cultures is constantly on the rise. Even still, the divisions of bio-realms make a lot more sense when grouping places together based on shared geography, climate, and cultures. 

Like with the continents, there are definitely problematic zones that aren’t so easy to categorize. Places like Melanesia, the Sahara, and the Himalayas are still tricky because the cultural and geographic lines aren’t so clear-cut from one side to the other. Several countries like Mexico, China, and Indonesia would fall into two realms, while countries like Pakistan fall into three. That could get a little weird. Even with these issues, I appreciate that the bio-realms at least show how there are great levels of diversity within those countries, amplifying their special roles as doorways between realms. (See, isn’t this fun?!)

Going back to the purpose of this article, the bio-realm system wouldn’t be a way to divide people but to more accurately view the world the way it really is. They are not supposed to be a sharp clear line of separation, but rather a wide fuzzy line that combines similar areas into large general categories. The system is much more accurate at representing the world’s actual geography, somewhat better at grouping the world’s people, but still flawed like any other manmade labeling system.


What do you think about the bio-realms? Did you understand this way of dividing the world? Could it be valuable to utilize this system and the continental system together? Or would you rather stick with the good old continents? 

Thank you for reading, and take good care of each other, whatever realm you reside in! 

Contact or collaborate: tietewaller@gmail.com, or Give me a shout!

Some advice on International Relationships

Originally Published: on Relationship Matters by Susan Rex

(https://relationtippmatters.wordpress.com/2021/06/18/some-advice-on-international-relationship/)

a mixed-raced couple hugging and smiling, relating to the topic of advice on international relationships, a guest post

Guest post by; Trystn Waller on what you need to know about international relationship


With so much connectivity today, many people will explore a variety of relationships. One side of this that’s been made easier by way of the internet is international couples. Some of you may have thought about, once tried, or even are now in an international relationship. And well, that makes two of us. With all the concern about how different they are, how might these kinds of relationships be like any other? What makes them more difficult, and what good comes from them? Here is a bit about these kinds of relationships, along with some advice from someone who’s in one.

Read similar posts:

Like any other relationship;

The first thing I can tell you about an international relationship is kind of obvious, but it’s important to remember. Just like with any other relationship, it requires two people (or sometimes more) who decide to be together regardless of whatever else is happening in their lives.

With that said, you can bet it’s going to require sacrifice, selflessness, some forgive-and-forget, and some good old give-and-take. Like in “national” relationships (?), involvement with the partner’s family is likely going to be a part of the deal. Another trope that’s common in most relationships is having to accept the partner’s past and “baggage,” whether that is perceived as good or bad. Understanding and comprehension go a long way.

Difficulties: The hard part;

When talking about international relationships, the most difficult thing that comes to mind has to be the distance. An overlying question, at least during the beginning stages, will be how to make time to be together. Depending on where the partner lives or on your situation, this could be a heavy financial weight on the couple.

Many countries require visas for citizens to get to their country or vice versa. Even if they don’t, passports cost money too. Some countries don’t require a passport for entry depending on where you’re coming from, but then the plane/bus/train/boat/border coyote will cost you. No matter how you look at it, just getting to your international partner will be a struggle.

Because of this, much of the communication will likely be on the internet at first. Couples might go months, if not years, just talking on the phone or by video until they can finally meet. This could mean the slightest delay in response causing you or your partner to suspect the worse.

“Why aren’t they answering? They should be at home by now. Are they cheating on me? Did they die?!”

That’s not to mention the cultural differences. Often different people groups within a country have clashing cultural traditions, so you can imagine what that looks like for international couples. And if the foreign partner happens to speak a different language then that adds another barrier and a tremendous challenge to be overcome. That is, assuming neither of the partners is bilingual.

Benefit: The good part;


That’s a pretty long list of challenges, but there is a lot to look forward to with international love. Since these kinds of couples tend to have to communicate so much more, this builds stronger communication skills. It also has the potential to create a stronger bond between the partners. Imagine if the only way you could spend time with your partner was by talking. You won’t be sitting and watching Netflix all day, that’s for sure.

That’s the kind of thing that builds trust and unity in any relationship, though it’s exploited a little more with the online nature of international couples. This kind of commitment also opens the partners up to another culture, a foreign language (or accent), and different ways of life. This can be highly enriching for the partners in that they can gain an entirely new perspective, later allowing them to consider things they never would have thought of before.

One can also feel the triumph of making it work after all the ostensible barriers get knocked down and you finally make it together. Approximating with another culture and a different lifestyle, you have the potential to gain some true sympathy for what others (especially immigrants) have to go through.

Of course, if you’re the one that will be going off to see the partner, one benefit is travel. Go and see the world, explore the country the partner lives in. It’s a chance to see another part of this wonderful planet!

Some advice: Listen if you want;


From personal experience in an international relationship, I’d say communication is number one. The key is finding, no, making time to talk with your partner. That has to be a priority because it’s the only time you have with them. Even when the couple is together, the language/cultural barrier may make things tougher than usual on one of the partners, so communication is doubly essential here.

With that said, partners should prioritize together time all the time, but especially while far apart. Whether on the phone or laptop, I and my wife always celebrated Valentine’s Day, birthdays, holidays, and whatever else together. That’s how you make it feel like you’re together.

Because the partners are so far apart, jealousy and insecurity about what’s happening on the other end could be a problem. I’d say be understanding of this and know that it’s a part of the journey. As the couple continues to grow together, they’ll trust each other more and more. It takes a constant reassurance of your presence and your commitment. “I’m here. I love you. I’m with you. I’m yours.” I know it’s a little old-fashioned, but get romantic, y’all. You just have to prove you can be trusted. Can you?

Lastly, if one of the partners speaks another language, I’d say learn that language. It doesn’t have to be too fluency, but at least well enough to communicate. This sounds like a given, but I’ve been watching 90 Day Fiancé. I’ve seen those people that just rely on Google Translate to talk to their partner. Shame on you.

But really, it goes back to respect and communicating, and you kind of need to know how to speak to do that. I mean, non-verbal signs only go so far. Beyond speaking or hearing, the ability to respect another’s culture is key too. One doesn’t have to adopt the culture of their partner completely, but having a sense of understanding and respect, being willing to hear what their culture is all about is super important. After all, showing respect earns respect, am I right?

Conclusions;


I hope this little list of pros and cons helped those of you in or considering international relationships. Or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, this is in no way to discourage or encourage anyone to love someone from another country. There are obvious and more discreet challenges, but all in all, it’s a relationship that requires the same building blocks as any other. What do you think? Would you be willing to try this kind of relationship? Or did I steer you away? Happy reading, and love one another!


**Thanks again Susan for the opportunity to host this article originally on your website! I look forward to more colabs in the future. Keep on teaching them about healthy relationships! -CultSurf