Join us for the holidays in Center City Philadelphia in the holidays this year and learn lots of useful English vocabulary along the way.
We’ll take you to see:
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular Show
The Christmas Village
City Hall and Dilworth Park
You’ll also learn some differences between British and American English like:
different meanings for ‘tuck in’
‘walker’ and ‘zimmer
Hi everyone. We have visitors.
And we thought we’d go out and see what’s happening in Philadelphia for the holidays, and you can come too.
The first place we’re going is the Comcast Tower, which is a very tall skyscraper in Philly.
Comcast is a large media company that has its headquarters here.
And inside in the foyer …
It’s a British and American difference. In the foyer there’s a large wall that looks like it’s wood a lot of the time but…
But then images appear because it’s actually a huge high-definition LED screen.
So you suddenly see panels move, and then you might see someone walking across the wall. It’s not a real person, it’s just a video but it’s high-definition so it looks very realistic.
During the holidays they put on a free show for the public and lots of people go to watch it. But there was no show last year because of the pandemic.
And this year, it’s still too dangerous for people to gather indoors, so they put a screen up outside the building.
So Christine, what did you think of the show?
I thought it was quite cute. It was fun. First there were a lot of graphics about the wintertime. And then there were parts that featured apparently local ballerinas and dancers, and I think that was maybe my favorite part – the dancers.
But what was your favorite part, Scott?
Well, I grew up in the Philadelphia area so I liked seeing the aerial views, maybe that they were able to capture by drone, or some of them were maybe computer generated, but it’s really fun for me to see, you know, the whole city. And also it’s changed a lot over the years and even since the pandemic. The landscape… the skyscrapers and …
The cityscape has changed. Yeah.
We use landscape to talk about how a large piece of land looks, but it usually describes countryside.
When we’re talking about how a city or a large urban area looks, we say cityscape.
The cityscape was my favorite bit of the show too. You always see Santa, or Father Christmas, as I call him, flying in first, and then there’s a shot of the cityscape.
You like looking for our house.
Yeah, we live very near the Comcast Tower. OK, so after the show we all moved on to Love Park.
Oh, speaking of love, there’s something I need you to do. This is very important. Hit the subscribe button.
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V: OK. Love Park. Philadelphia is also called the City of Brotherly Love. I think the word Philadelphia comes from the Greek words for brother and love.
Perhaps some Greek viewers can confirm that for us.
What do you guys know about Love Park?
Why is it called Love Park?
There’s an iconic statue there. An iconic sculpture that spells the word love with L-O on top and V-E underneath. And the 0 is just titled a little bit. You can always just see it when you think of it. It’s one of two places I can think of that everybody gets their picture taken. They just go into this little square. Right, people pose under it.
Notice this verb. When you pose, you stand in a particular position for a picture or photograph.
Yeah. Like this, or this….
Cristine, had you seen it before?
You know, when we walked through Love Park, I recognized immediately the image of the ‘LOVE’ but I didn’t have any idea it was in Philadelphia. In fact, I remembered it from postage stamps. The ‘love’ on the postage stamp. I remember that image, but I didn’t realize it was here in Philadelphia.
It’s so popular that it has been replicated in several places around Philadelphia.
I used to eat my lunch at another LOVE statue when I worked at the University of Pennsylvania.
There’s one on the university campus?
Yeah, and there are other cities in the world that have love statues too.
Maybe you’ve seen one. Tell us if you have and where.
We were doing some filming while we were there and somebody recognized you Christine. What happened?
We… There were a lot of folks waiting to take their photos and I offered to take a photo of a family, and I could hear them all speaking in Spanish. They started talking about a movie.
And then we asked ¿Qué película? Like what are you talking about? Which movie?
What are you talking about? And apparently they thought that I looked like and actress.
In a show called ‘Cable Girls’. And they were certain that apparently I looked like her.
And I had never heard of this person.
Well then we looked her up. And we just have to change the tint of your hair, a little bit redder, it’s pretty much a dead ringer for Ann Pulverosa.
OK. We heard an idiom there – a dead ringer. Can you guess what it means?
If someone looks exactly like someone else, then they’re a dead ringer for them
So Christine is a dead ringer for the Spanish actress Ana Pulverosa.
She really is!
Now something else happens at Love Park at this time of year.
Oh yes. The Christmas Village is happening right now.
It’s all these shops, and they’re these little shacks, these little huts, and in each one there’s a vendor selling a different kind of thing. Maybe some clothing.
Some of them sell food and hot drinks.
It’s actually a German company that comes in every year and sets it up based on Christmas Villages in Germany.
So it’s kind of fun to go to.
OK. And then we moved on. Where did we go next?
City Hall. It’s just across the street and there we found another set of vendors.
Selling inverse s’mores and….
Hang on. You have to explain what s’mores are to our audience.
S’mores are graham crackers,
A cross between a cookie and a cracker, and then a piece of chocolate inside, like it’s a chocolate sandwich with graham cracker bread.
The other thing inside is a marshmallow and normally we would put this over a campfire to melt everything inside to roast the marshmallow.
You would take a marshmallow and you would put it on the end of a stick, and then you would roast that over the fire. And once that is warm and gooey and maybe a little golden brown on the outside, you would pull it out. And then you’d take your Graham cracker and your piece of chocolate and you smoosh it all together
Smoosh. I don’t think we say smoosh in British English.
It’s pretty informal. We use it to talk about food, when we press it and make it flat.
Uhuh. And I’ve also heard you use it when you’re talking about putting things into a small space. Like we have to smoosh the coats together in our coat closet to get them all in.
Another one. People could have to smoosh together to get inside a small elevator.
And Scott and Christine discovered another British and American difference at the s’mores place.
What was the inverted s’mores about? How did you have to deal with that? All the stuff was inside it?
So apparently, the inverted s’more, the piece of cookie and the chocolate were encased in the marshmallow, so then you just had it on a convenient little stick.
Right, and so they sold you the stick and then you took off a wrapper and then they had these little kerosene flames and then you could roast it over there, or in our case, burn it over there.
And the reason they’re called s’mores is because kids would ask ‘Could I have some more?’ So they just put it together. S’more. S’more, please. S’more.
Very good. OK. Now what was… Do you remember the name of that place?
Oh yes. The name of the s’more shop was ‘Tuck in’.
And have you see that phrase before?
Well, we’ve been sitting down to have dinner with you each night this week and Vicki uses a phrase ‘Tuck in. Tick in guys’, which means ‘Dig in’. In American English I would say ‘Dig in’, which means ‘Go ahead. Start. Have dinner. Enjoy!’
But in the US, if we were to say ‘Tuck in’ we would indicate getting, usually a child, sort of snuggled up and tightly comfortably cosy in their bed.
Tucked into bed.
Tucked into bed, yeah. So Vicki would bring us food and say ‘Tuck in’ and immediately, is it time to go to bed? Who’s tucking me in?
But you could tuck a child in in British English as well, couldn’t you?
Yes, it’s getting a child comfortable in bed. It has that meaning in British English too. But for us it also means ‘Help yourself. Eat!’
OK another event at Dilworth Park is ice skating.
Yeah. In the summer when it’s hot there are lots of fountains in the ground, and kids like to play in the water to cool down.
But then at the holidays they freeze it over and it becomes an ice skating rink.
It’s fun to watch, and to go ice skating course.
Why didn’t you go ice skating?
Well it was quite crowded and from experience I know that I am not a very confident ice skater and I was going to slip and fall.
There was one condition in which you said you would go.
Well, so there were a lot of families out on the rink and a few of them had these little plastic penguins that were about this tall, so about the height of a child, with handles on either side of the penguin, and little skates on the bottom of the penguin so you could push that along and it allowed you to have some stability.
It was like a walker.
It was a penguin ice skate assistant.
I didn’t go ice skating because my feet were too cold.
That was another British and American difference. What’s a walker for you?
A walker is a person who walks, or it’s a frame with wheels on the bottom that older or sick people use to help them get around.
We could call that a walking frame in British English, but often we’ll call it a Zimmer.
So you use a brand name.
OK, back to Dilworth Park. During the holidays they have a ferris wheel there at night.
And, of course, there’s also a Christmas tree. We found them hanging the decorations on it.
The Christmas tree was quite tall and the ornaments were huge on it as well. And what I noticed that was very Philadelphian was on the very top, the pinnacle of the Christmas tree was the Liberty Bell. A replica of the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell is an important symbol for freedom and liberty.
And it’s famous for having a big crack.
Yes, it cracked the first time they rang it.
Philadelphia has and important place in US history. It’s where the Declaration of Independence and the constitution were written.
And you’ll see references to history all over the city, including on the Christmas tree.
What caught my eye immediately, speaking of the constitution, were the first words in the preamble of the constitution, ‘We the people’. And it was cut out and hung as an ornament. This phrase ‘we the people’ – and hung from the side of the tree.
OK, there was one more thing to see at Dilworth Park.
When it gets dark, there’s a holiday light show.
OK, so now we’re at City Hall where we’re going to watch ‘Deck the Hall’, the town hall in this case because it’s a light show.
Oh look it’s digital snow.
And what did you think of the light show?
I thought it was really boring in the beginning and then I realized it’s like when a street performer is waiting for everyone to gather. And everyone is curious. What is this? So we watched the same two hundred snow flakes fall over and over again. And then people began to gather, and then it got pretty cool. The projections lined up with the columns on City Hall.
It was very holiday-themed. There were a lot of candy canes and different holiday sweet treats. Yeah, it was fun and then the music was, you know, in sync with the changing of the lights.
We hope you enjoyed it too.
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Happy holidays everyone.
Yeah, happy holidays.