Americanisation: Lessons in American

Culture and Language

Angus Woodward


Biti Namoeteri, an enterprising young man from “South America’s Lichtenstein,” comes to the US to get a graduate degree in Spiritual Geography, never expecting to become a multi-level marketer or to fall in love with a woman named Janet Broccoli. But he does just that, and then discovers that personal-injury lawsuits can be the keys to both success and failure. Woodward’s narrative strategy is both accessible and experimental in this comic novel posing as a textbook.

ISBN: 978-1-60489-085-3 Trade paper $21          Sale: $8.50

ISBN:  978-1-60489-084-6 Library binding $32     Sale: $14.00

 200 pages

About the Author: 

Angus Woodward is the author of a short story collection, Down at the End of the River (Margaret Media, 2008). His work has also appeared widely in journals and anthologies. He teaches writing at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, where he lives with his wife and daughters.

 Excerpt From the Book:

Americanisation: Lessons in American Culture and Language by Angus Woodward

Chapter One: The American Airport

Before you start

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to complete your arrival process to any large American city. Vocabulary activities will help you to navigate the American airport, including baggage claim, a typical airport restaurant, interactions with security personnel, and ground transportations. The chapter ends with guidance and vocabulary for the first moments in your new American apartment.

Vocabulary 1: Airport Terminology

Arrival: A complex process as gradual as the ripening of pears.

Jetway: A carpeted hallway on wheels, which attaches itself to the aircraft moments after docking at the gate. Do not expect to emerge into the American climate and descend to American concrete as a long-armed American woman drapes a chain of flowers about your neck and plants a damp kiss upon your lips before guiding you inside, helpfully answering your questions about the so-called “baggage claim area,” then grasping your hand and skipping ahead to the terminal where she might guide you through the entire airport to point out shops and lounges and new furniture until you find yourselves in a deserted tavern, exchanging whispers over a dim candle which you’ll sweep aside for the first of many long, passionate kisses. Instead, you will merely walk from the chilly, carpeted interior of the aircraft to the chilly, carpeted interior of the arrival lounge via the chilly, carpeted interior of the jetway.

Mens: Although it is not in any dictionary, “mens” is widely used as a label for men’s restrooms.

Touchless: Be warned that American airport toilets, “urinals,” faucets, and paper-towel dispensers no longer require travelers to push buttons, turn handles, or move levers. Unseen personnel monitoring hidden cameras operate these devices for you.

Baggage Claim Area: When departing your home country, you will have been given a small certificate displaying a code which may be matched to the code on a small certificate attached to your valise. Upon arrival, follow signs to the Baggage Claim Area. It is a large vestibule containing a long row of mechanisms that carry baggage in a continuous loop until travelers collect it. The area is staffed by men in uniform; do not mistake these men for military personnel, despite American involvement in overseas combat, which is continual. Most of these baggage men are too old for combat in any case.

Cafeteria: A type of American restaurant in which customers choose food from glass cabinets while propelling plastic trays along waist-high metal runners. Most cafeterias offer a startling array of foods, including hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, noodles, fried meats, stews, casseroles, cooked vegetables, salads, and rich chocolate desserts. Most American airports contain many restaurants, including at least one cafeteria.

Security: American airports operate in a state of heightened awareness, whatever the state of warfare abroad. Just as the baggage men are not to be mistaken for soldiers, security personnel are not to be mistaken for injured veterans. Many Americans, including security personnel, wear dark glasses when indoors, and it easy to mistake a man with a large dog, a uniform, and dark glasses for a blind veteran of the current overseas conflict. In fact, such a man is on alert, and his dog is trained to defend him and pursue wrong-doers. Do not make the mistake of offering money to such personnel.