Chatterbox #132 – Death and cultural traditions

When learning another language, we need vocabulary for all kinds of situations. That’s why we decided to do an episode on a more difficult topic. We also got a request from a listener! In this episode, Harp and Andrew talk about expressions that you can use when someone you know has a friend or family member who has passed away. They also share their own experiences with funerals in Canada. This is something that is very cultural!

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Expressions included in the Learning Materials:death

  • Stoked
  • To pass away
  • Expressions to use when someone has died
  • The best way to go
  • A wake/a viewing
  • Open-casket and closed-casket funerals
  • Funerals
  • In lieu of
  • Yeah, no
  • Mkay
  • Sikh funeral traditions

Sample transcript:

Harp: Yup. So let’s get started. OK. So I want to start with talking about some pretty simple, but very important vocabulary, because talking about death is quite difficult and it’s awkward. It’s awkward for us, so we’re going to try to make it a bit easier. And for me, I think, one thing I do when I find out, let’s say, a friend’s father has died, I always use the expression pass away. I’m so sorry to hear your father passed away. I don’t like to say dead. It seems very harsh to me.

Andrew: Mmhmm. That’s a good point. The verb to pass away means just to die, but it’s much softer and it’s a nicer way to express that someone has died, has passed away. So, yeah, I would recommend using this verb, to pass away, instead of to die when you are talking to somebody about a relative or a family member or even somebody that they know that has died.

Harp: Yeah. Exactly. So, if it happens that someone who I know has passed away, I usually contact their family, or if it’s a friend that I know, I will contact them to express my condolences.

Andrew: Mmhmm. And what is a condolence, exactly? When you express your condolences, what are you doing?

Harp: Well, it’s basically an expression of my sympathy, because they’ve lost someone important in their life, so I’m just expressing my sympathy to them.

Andrew: Mmhmm. So when somebody passes away and you want to reach out… Maybe your friend’s mother passed away, for example, and you want to reach out to your friend and express your condolences, your sympathy, for your friend’s loss that her mother has passed away.

Harp: And like I said, these are just awkward conversations to have, but they’re really necessary ’cause you want to show your friend that you’re there if they need anything so you call to express your condolences.

Andrew: All right. So what we’re gonna do right now is just share some expressions that you can say to someone when someone that is close to them has passed away.

Harp: The expression that I usually use is I’m so sorry for your loss.

Andrew: That’s right. I’m so sorry for your loss. And so you’re saying that you’re sorry. And when we usually use this word, it’s because we’ve done something wrong and we’re apologizing, but in this circumstance, it’s a bit different, and obviously you’re not the one who caused the death so you’re not sorry in that way. You just have a feeling of sympathy that you want to express and t

english PodcastPodcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast, Image Culips