There are various kinds of people in the world, and they form distinctive families. The family could be a couple with large age gap, parents with several children, or a gay couple. Modern Family shows three small families within a one big family. This situation comedy from the U.S. is formatted as fake documentary. The characters often talk to the camera directly, making it more realistic. Instead of emphasizing one character and putting a spotlight on one actor’s performance, this television series depends on a co-relation of all actors ? an ensemble performance. In Modern Family, routine family conversations pop up here and there, providing an opportunity to learn everyday English.
From the point of view of English learners, we would like to focus on one character named Gloria Pritchett. She is from the nation of Colombia, and the new wife of Jay Pritchett, who is much older than Gloria. Since her mother tongue is not English, she makes many mistakes when speaking. We will focus here on her attitude. As a foreigner, she is not shy about her errors. Instead, she asks why - to use one of her phrases - “it should be like that.”
As we look at an example that shows this attitude, we will spot some idioms and expressions that are not familiar to us, but are routinely used among native speakers.
▲ Gloria Pritchett & Jay
Modern Family Season 1 Episode 3
Gloria: Men need their hobbies. Manny’s father had many hobbies, like hiking in the desert, That kind of skiing that they drop you from the... How do you say in English? The...
Gloria: Yes. Once, on a dare, he even boxed with an alligator.
Jay: Wrestle. You wrestle... you can’t box with alligators.
Gloria: Are you sure? How would they get the gloves on those li’l (little) claws? Aren’t they like tiny, little hands?
▲ Phil & Luke in Luke’s birthday
Modern Family Season 1 episode 9
Phil: There he is. Big day’s coming up. What do you want for your birthday, big dog?
Luke: It’s okay. I'm good.
Phil: Come on. The sky’s the limit. Dream big, my boy.
Luke: Well, I guess I could use a belt.
Claire: A belt?
Luke: Yeah, you’re right. I don’t need it. An extension cord works pretty good.
▲ Phil & Luke
Modern Family Season 1 Episode 12
Luke: So what was the picture of?
Phil: Well, it was a woman on a tractor, and she had her shirt off.
Luke: Was it hot?
Phil: Okay, we’re being honest here. Um... This particular woman... Well, my tastes do run to the curvy, and the cowboy hat did not hurt one bit. Couple that with the cut-off jeans... And you were asking about the weather, weren’t you?
▲ Phil & Claire
Modern Family Season 1 Episode 3
Claire: Oh, go figure a teenage boy who doesn’t want to hang out with his girlfriend’s dad.
Phil: I thought we were past all that. I’m all about... I’m all about taking it to the next level.
Claire: Really? I thought you were all about keeping it real.
Phil: Yes, but the whole point of keeping it real is so you can take it to the next level. Did you really not know that?
Claire: You haven’t exactly taken it to the next level with my dad.
Phil: What are you talking about?
Claire: We’ve been married for 16 years, and you still walk on eggshells around him.
Phil: What? Are you kidding? Jay and I are total buds.
ㆍon a dare: 감히
ㆍwrestle: 몸싸움을 벌이다
ㆍ(the) sky is the limit: 제한이 없다
ㆍcut-off: 끝이 잘린
ㆍkeep it real: 진실되게 행동하다