Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

    On this program we explain the origin and usage of common phrases and expressions in American English.

    Popular culture has a strong influence on language. The expressions that come from movies and television shows can be especially powerful.

    When we use expressions that come from a movie or television experience shared by others, it can create a feeling of closeness with them. If someone says a line from one of your favorite movies, it is kind of like you both belong to the same club.

    Some of these pop culture expressions have become so common that you might not even know the shows they come from. But you can still use them!

    English has many phrases that have found their way into common usage. Today we talk about a water-based phrase and useful adjectives that relate to it.

    If I say to you, just keep swimming, I am quoting a fish -- a really famous fish.
    如果我对你说,just keep swimming,我是在引用一条非常著名的鱼说的话。

    In the movie Finding Nemo, Dory is a friendly, helpful, optimistic fish. She becomes friends with Marlin, a clown fish who has just lost his only son.

    Dory offers to help Marlin find Nemo. (Actually she does not take "no" for an answer.) The search is very difficult. Along the way, they face bloodthirsty, confused vegetarian sharks; bloodthirsty, but very clear-headed pelicans and dentists!

    Every time Marlin feels like giving up Dory says to him, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

    DORY: When life gets you down, you know what you got to (gotta) do?

    MARLIN: I don't want to know what you got to (gotta) do.

    DORY: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim,swim.

    MARLIN: Dory, no singing.

    With these words, Dory is telling her friend that he should not give up. He should keep looking for his son.

    At some point, we all face a difficult situation. We may feel frightened, sad or just overwhelmed. And we may want to give up. But then a friend says, "Just keep swimming," and it gives us the hope we need to reach our goal – to finish strong.

    The expression may come from a children's film, but its meaning is not childish. And even if someone has not seen the film Finding Nemo, they most likely will know what you mean when you say it.

    If you keep swimming you will not drown. Another expression, to keep your head above water, expresses a similar message. Don't drown. Take action to survive, even if that is all you can do.
    如果你不停游,你就不会被淹死。另一种表达,to keep your head above water,也表达了类似了意思。不要被淹死,采取行动活下去,即使这是你所能做的一切。

    English has some great adjectives to describe people and things that do not give up.

    One is resilient. Resilient people do not give up in the face of adversity. "Resilient" can refer to things, also. For example, a tree that keeps growing even after lightning strikes it, could be called a resilient tree.

    Another adjective to describe someone who will not give up is indefatigable. Now, it does have six syllables. So, you may need to practice saying it. I know I did. A lot. Just remember that the stress is on the third syllable: in-de-FA-ti-ga-ble.

    So, would I say "just keep swimming" in a very serious situation or to a very serious co-worker who I don't know well? Probably not. But we do have other words of encouragement. You can say "Hang in there!" "You can do it!" or "Don't give up!"
    那么,在一种非常严峻的情势下,或是跟一位非常严肃的同事说话,我会说 just keep swimming吗?可能不会。但是我们还有其它鼓励的话,你可以说 Hang in there(坚持下去)! You can do it(你能行)! 或者是 Don't give up(不要放弃)!

    When we use expressions or phrases from movies or television shows, it is a way of sharing culture with another.

    And that's it for Words and Their Stories! I'm Anna Matteo.