Chatterbox #29 – Urban Legends, Old Wives’ Tales, and Superstitions

In this episode we are talking about interesting, funny, and strange beliefs in North American culture. Robin and Maura share a couple scary stories that they have known since they were kids. They also review popular old wives’ tales like, An apple a day keeps the doctor away. They also talk about some superstitions that some people still believe in today, including Robin! This is a great episode is you are interested in learning more about North American culture.


Expressions included in the learning materialsurbenlegend

  • urban legend
  • urban myth
  • old wives’ tales
  • superstitions
  • around the campfire
  • do the talking
  • all by herself
  • widespread
  • classic
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • cure
  • Swallowed gum will stay in your stomach for 7 years
  • Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay like that
  • The 5- or 10-second rule
  • If you hear ringing in your ears that means that someone is talking about you
  • That’s just an old wives’ tale
  • superstitions
  • If a black cat crosses your path it means bad luck
  • Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck
  • the number 13
  • to creep out
  • knock on wood
  • jinx

Sample transcript

Robin: The first thing we’re going to talk about today is something called an urban legend or an urban myth.
Maura:  Yes, so we’re definitely talking about culture today, and after we talk about urban legends or urban myths, we’re going to talk about old wives’ tales.
Robin: Old wives’ tales, indeed. And this is…it’s a similar sort of thing. It deals with myths, once again, and stories.
Maura: And if you don’t know what it is, keep listening and we’re going to explain it.
Robin: Absolutely. And the last thing we’ll talk about today deals with superstitions. It’s a big word, superstitions.
Maura: Right, so some general superstitions that most Canadians know about and maybe some believe in a little bit.
Robin: Absolutely.
Maura: OK, so let’s start with the first topic, which is urban legends or urban myths. So it’s two names for the same thing.
Robin: What is an urban legend or an urban myth?
Maura: An urban legend is a modern story that’s a scary story or a horror story. Most of them are scary and you usually hear about them from friends. So a friend tells another friend a story, this scary story, and you don’t know where it started, you don’t know where the story came from.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips