california vocab

Life in California: 7 Useful Words and Expressions

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If you’re fascinated by California, you’re gonna like this post. I collected some useful words, expressions, and geographical names connected with this topic.

Recommendation for practice:
  • Watch the video and try to understand it
  • Look through the words and expressions
  • Watch the video again, paying attention to those expressions
  • Choose words or expressions you want to use and focus on them during a week
  • Create your own sentences with those expressions and start using them

If you want to go further join the Friday Speaking meeting where you’ll have a chance to use the words and expressions. Here’s the meeting’s details.  

The sentence from the videoThe meaning in the video’s context 
The state is approximately the size of Japan and population-wise it is similar to Canada.  population-wise – in terms of population.  
When it comes to climate California has a wonderful Mediterranean climate and it’s warm all year roundwhen it comes to something – when the subject being discussed is a particular thing

all year around – the whole year 

The US visitors enjoy its quiet laid-back simplicity and beautiful views of the downtown San Diego skyline

Some people say that people in California are more friendly and laid-back than for example in New York. 

laid-back – relaxed, calm. 

skyline – an outline of buildings against the background of the sky.

At the same time, the state ranks first in the country in the number of homeless people. to rank –  to have a position higher or lower than others. 
Most major cities in California are designed for motorists and are not quite walkablewalkable – of an area or route) suitable or safe for walking.
motorist – the driver of a car.  
One of the things I’d recommend to do in California is to take one of those scenic coastal drives. coastal drive –  a trip in a car across a coast.

Scenic – having or showing beautiful natural surroundings. 

The soaring cost of living expenses in California is driving people to move out of the state. soaring  – increasing rapidly above the usual level. 

living expenses – the amount of money required to maintain a normal standard of living, including the cost of food, housing, transport, clothing, etc.  

to drive – to force someone or something to go somewhere or do something.
move out – to leave a place where you have lived or worked in order to go somewhere else. 

Geographical Names:

Here are the geographical names that were mentioned in the video. You might know most of them but the pronunciation is most likely different from your language. So it’s important to know how these names are pronounced in English.

California /ˌkæl.əˈfɔːr.njə/
West Coast /west ˈkoʊst/
Sierra Nevada /siˌɛrə nɪˈvædə, -ˈvɑːdə/
Mojave Desert /moʊˈhɑvi ˈdɛzɜrt/
Death Valley /dɛθ ˈvæli/
Los Angeles /loʊs ˈænʤəlɪs/
Hollywood /ˈhɑliˌwʊd/
San Diego /sæn diˈeɪgoʊ/
San Francisco /sæn frænˈsɪskoʊ/
Golden Gate Bridge /ˈgoʊldən geɪt brɪʤ/
Alcatraz Island /ˈælkəˌtræz ˈaɪlənd /
Sacramento /ˌsækrəˈmɛntoʊ/
Santa Barbara /ˈsæntə ˈbɑrbərə/
San Jose /sæn ˌhoʊˈzeɪ/
Silicon Valley /ˈsɪləkən ˈvæli/

If you like to know more about California you might be interested to watch LIVE we had with Daniela Przybyszewska during which she shared her perspective on living in California.  


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Let me know if it’s helpful and also what are the places you’d like to know more about? 

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One thought on “Life in California: 7 Useful Words and Expressions

  1. People are moving out of California state due to the soaring living expenses.
    I always thought that Los Angeles is California’s capital, but it turns out that Sacramento is. I’m glad I was not in a game show otherwise I’ll end up losing all the money!

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