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Tainan City Government and AITK introduce their co-production of 2016 American Pop Culture Words


The video series of 2016 American Pop Culture Words, co-produced by Tainan City Government and the American Institute in Taiwan Kaohsiung Branch Office (AITK), was introduced to the general public at a press conference in Tainan City Hall on December 8. Consisting of 15 mini-episodes, each video teaches a different American pop culture phrase in a lighthearted, humorous manner, and is part of the city government’s 10-year campaign to establish English as Tainan’s second official language. 
Liu Shih-chung, deputy secretary-general of Tainan City Government and director of the Office of English as the Second Official Language, remarked at the press conference that the purpose of making these comic, creative films was to attract people’s interest in learning English and to help English learners use American pop culture phrases in daily life. “We are delighted to have cooperated with AITK in producing this film. Through these videos, people will not only learn English but also get to see many of Tainan’s local features,” said Liu. 
The 15 phrases taught in the film are: “nail it,” “photobomb,” “nitpick,” “in the weeds,” “knock yourself out,” “not set in stone,” “guinea pig,” “rhetorical question,” “shoulder-surfing,” “call ‘shotgun’,” “blast from the past,” “with a grain of salt,” “drop a bombshell,” “re-gift,” and “bucket list.” These phrases were skillfully woven into the stories or the settings of various renowned locations in Tainan, including Guanziling Hot Springs, Chimei Museum, Barclay Memorial Park, Ten Drum Cultural Village, Jingliao’s Wumile Community in Houbi District, Anping Tree House, Chih Kan Dan Zai Noodles, Sunset Platform, Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields, National Museum of Taiwan Literature, Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park, Guanmiao Pineapple Park, National Cheng Kung University’s Small West Gate, Fort Zeelandia, and Xiao Man Shi Tang (a diner). 
AITK Chief Robert Dewitt, who taught the phrase “nailed it” in one of the videos, and whose grandchildren also had parts in it, said it took nearly a year to plan and complete the production of all episodes. “This is the first time AITK has worked with Tainan City Government on such a project. I am very glad that we have done it. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the planning of the film and all who performed in it,” he added. The script of the film was written by John Slover, Public Affairs Officer of AITK, who appeared in several cameo roles in the episodes. 
A number of Tainan’s famous personalities also showed up in the videos. Uncle Kun-Bin, who became a celebrity after the documentary film Let It Be chronicled his labor and fortitude as a rice farmer, appeared in the episode teaching “nitpick.” Joining the press conference to share his experience of taking part in the project, Uncle Kun-Bin said he had learned to say the English words “okay” and “rice,” and found learning English wasn’t so scary after all.
To encourage more Tainan citizens to learn American pop culture words, Mayor William Lai has posted a number of the episodes on his Facebook page. The videos will be aired on Channel 3, a local TV channel in Tainan, from December 12. They can also be viewed on AITK’s official website and YouTube, as well as at Kaohsiung MRT stations and McDonald’s.