Learn English with Emma: vocabulary, culture, and the first conditional!

I will use one topic to teach you important English grammar (the first conditional), as well as vocabulary. You’ll also learn a lot about North American culture. I’ll teach you all this stuff by talking about superstitions. Is the number 13 bad luck in your culture? If you break a mirror, will you have bad luck? If you find a penny on the ground, do you think you will have a good day? Every culture has beliefs about luck. We call these beliefs superstitions. Some superstitions are common around the world, but many are very specific to a particular country or culture. My mom is really superstitious, so I grew up with a lot of these beliefs. In this video, I’ll give you some examples of common North American superstitions, and in the second half of the video, I’ll use this topic to teach you how to use the first conditional in English. Watch this video now. If you don’t, your computer might get a virus.

Take the quiz! https://www.engvid.com/learn-english-superstitions-first-conditional/


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video we are going to be talking about three different things. Okay? So, we are going to be learning some new vocabulary that have to do with superstition, and I’ll explain what superstitions are; we’re going to be learning about culture, and Western culture, and North American culture; as well as grammar, today we are going to be learning about the first conditional. So this is a great video because you are going to be learning a lot by the end of it, hopefully.

So, let’s get started. First I want to tell you about superstitions. I love the topic of superstitions; I think it’s very interesting. So, what a superstition is, is it is a belief, and this belief, it’s usually cultural, but it can also be personal. Okay? And this belief is not based in science, so it’s not scientific. Oftentimes when we’re talking about superstitions we’re talking about supernatural things, we’re talking about good luck, bad luck, curses, you know, we’re talking about things maybe from our culture’s history and a different way of seeing the world. So if you’re confused about superstitions, don’t worry, when I give you examples you will start to really understand what a superstition is.

Okay, so let’s start off with an example. Imagine this: I took a test and I did really well. I got a very high score on my test. Now, why did I get a high score? Maybe you think: “Oh, you probably studied well.” Okay? So that might be kind of a scientific explanation. “Oh, Emma studied, so she did well on her test.” Well, maybe I brought a pen to the test and it’s a very lucky pen or a very lucky pencil, and I think anytime I use this pen or pencil I’m going to do well. It’s my lucky charm, it’s my lucky pen or pencil. If you think I did well on my test because I have a lucky pen, then that would be an example of a superstition. It’s like a ritual you do to get good luck or to keep bad luck from happening, and it’s a belief about these types of things. Okay? So, if for example, I say: “I did great on my test because I brought a lucky pen to class.”, “I did really well on my test because it was, you know, at 7pm and 7 is a lucky number so therefore, you know, 7pm means I’m going to do well on my test. And I wore green, and green’s a lucky colour, so all these reasons helped me on my test”, you would say I’m superstitious. Okay? So, “superstition” is a belief, it’s a cultural belief that explains something in the world, but not based in science.

A person is “superstitious”. We use “superstitious” to describe people. My mother is the most superstitious person I know. She is very superstitious. In our house there are many superstitions. Okay? And that’s true. I grew up in a very superstitious household. So let’s look at some Western superstitions I grew up with. These are the ones that were in my own experience and my own culture. So, one example of a superstition is if you walk under a ladder, this is very bad luck. Okay? So when I walk down the street, if I see a ladder, I never walk under it because I’m also very superstitious. If you find a penny, so a penny is a type of… It’s a type of currency or a type of… It’s a form of money, it’s a coin, and if you find a penny… If I ever find a penny, I always pick it up. Okay? I pick it up off the ground because I think the penny will give me good luck. Okay? A little crazy, I know, but a lot of people in North America do this. 13 is considered a very unlucky number. In Western culture you’ll notice a lot of apartment buildings do not have a 13th floor, and that’s because people think it’s so… They think it’s very unlucky, so they don’t want to live on the 13th floor because they think they will, you know, have bad luck. I know in China the number 4 is very unlucky, and so it’s the same thing. In China you don’t see… In apartment buildings you usually don’t see a 4th floor because it’s very unlucky. Okay, so we’ve talked about some good luck and some bad luck.