Lance Johnson's Multi Award-Winning

What Foreigners Need To Know About
America From A To Z

As Featured in Publishers Weekly, Aug. 27, 2012

Selected Reading for Fulbright Scholars

What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z is for anyone who interacts with Americans in the US or abroad and anyone--immigrants or visitors--who want more effective social or business relationships with Americans.

               

 

Montaigne Medal Winner

A to Z is an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller.
A to Z is a Silver Global EBook Award Winner.
For metadata on these books.

A to Z is now published in Simplified Chinese in two different Chinese speaking countries,
and in English and Ukrainian (as shown above).

Endorsements from

  • Clark T. Randt, Jr., US Ambassador to China
  • Zhou Wenzhong, China Ambassador to US
  • Mohammad Vazeeruddin, India journalist
  • Jay Gajjar, India language professor
  • Sarah Kim, Korean-American business owner, Los Angeles

"A to Z is by a scholar of globalization...the message is clear, the language is easy to understand." ~ Dr. Stephen Gill, literary critic

"[The author] has handled these [American] complexities  with candor and valuable insight." ~ Five-star review from Terry Whalin, editor, writer, publisher and top Amazon reviewer

"I used Lance Johnson's text "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A to Z" in my Summer Cultural Program, a program dedicated to advanced studies for international students traveling from South Korea and China. The text was perfect in the sense that it was accommodating as an easy read for students who were being introduced to English reading and writing. The information was useful for starting discussions with students about their transition as international students in American society. I've undergone a number of different texts to bring out important facts and figures about American culture, but Johnson's text was most helpful in assessing readily available information that was both informative and important for international students. I highly recommend this book to other teachers/professors who teach in similar programs." ~ Five-star review from Kitsy Dixon, university Fulbright professor

Select Reviews Available on this Site.

 

Quote from the Author...

Before I wrote A to Z, foreigners and students in the 81 countries and the 49 states I visited always sought my recommendation for a book that would answer their questions about America. There wasn't one with the intellectual underpinning I viewed as necessary to truly understanding America, its culture, its language, and its people. That's why I wrote A to Z, which is unique in tone and comprehensive in scope, unlike most that are written like travel guides or textbooks.

 

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A To Z

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About 
What Foreigners Need To Know
About America From A To Z

When you enter a country, find out its customs. – Chinese proverb

       Each of the 26 chapters’ brush strokes contributes to the final painting of what America is all about and who Americans are. The chapters are grouped into four sections. (Individual books are also available for each section.)

Section I – America’s Heritage. This defines the historical background of why America and its people became who and what we are today. To understand complex America, it is important to gain this understanding.

Section II – America’s Culture. This smaller book focuses on who we are as a nation and how we conduct our everyday lives, ranging from customs and etiquette, to what’s on the minds of Americans, to education, literature, movies, and a whole lot more. It even includes what we think of foreigners and what they think of us.

Section III – America’s Business. The third book explains our complex business environment, operations, customs, and why American businesses are successful around the world. It also provides information for dealing with American business personnel in the US and abroad, for starting and operating a business of your own as many foreigners do, and for increasing your chances of being hired by an American employer here or abroad.

Section IV – America’s Language. These chapters discuss practical ways for English-as-second-language speakers to improve their grammar, speech, writing, and communication skills, including accent reduction. Common English grammar and speech errors made by foreigners are identified with simple tips for overcoming them and improving the image they create.

Note: The author uses tricky and often-used idioms in a natural conversational setting to help English as a second language learners better understand one of the trickiest aspects of the language.


Review 
of
A to Z

By Tianchi Lu,
Director-Suzhou Education Research Institute

           The Suzhou Education Research Institute, of which I am the Director, has the task of improving the quality of education in the schools of Suzhou, China. One of our many projects was the exploration of ways we could improve the level of English taught in our schools that begins in the first grade. To achieve this objective, we realized we must first improve the skills of our teachers.

            Teachers of English from eight of our schools were selected to attend a unique and extensive course in which Mr. Lance Johnson was our educator. Not only did we want our teachers to improve their command of English grammar and speech, but as a backdrop we wanted them to learn more about America, its people, and its culture. He used his A to Z book as a guide for his classes.

            We were extremely pleased with the knowledge our teachers gained from this program. Their level of listening, reading, speaking, and writing of English increased dramatically. They also gained confidence using the English language and understanding Western ways.

            His chapters on English grammar and speech identify common problems for foreigners and provide easy ways they can overcome their shortcomings. His book also summarizes many important aspects of America that foreigners should know more about, including customs and culture. This unique approach to learning was fun and informative for our teachers and gave them a deeper understanding of America. In turn, they will impart this knowledge to their students.

            I strongly recommend Mr. Johnson’s book to anyone who wishes to learn about America and Western culture, its people, customs and language. It will certainly benefit those going to America for work or school, or those who do business with or have contact with Americans either in their homeland or in America.

Tianchi Lu, Director,
Suzhou Education Research Institute, Suzhou, China

For More Reviews Go To Lance's Review Page.


The Book's Concept

A Personal Note from the Author

          I’ve witnessed my foreign heritage friends in America struggle to adjust to a new culture that’s in stark contrast to their own. There is so much for them to learn as they get new jobs, open businesses, enter school, and make friends. Even our rules of etiquette pose difficulties for them.

          When I teach overseas and travel the world, I’m always amazed at the interest people have in all things American. Our language, government, people, music, and films. Our behavior. Even our negative image on the world stage. They want to know why the rules for our crazy English language are not more consistent like their languages. They’re puzzled why the U.S. feels it must be the policeman of the world. They want to know why Americans feel they are better than the rest of the world. Why we dislike foreigners but like wars.  Why we don’t share our wealth with the rest of the world. Why we are all fat and drive such big cars and if the two are related.  I’m especially amused when they ask me why we say "excuse me" for the slightest of things because I don’t think we do that as often as we should.

When we discuss my culture I learn about theirs, too. After years of these exchanges I searched for a book that I could recommend to them that condensed and simplified what America is all about. There wasn’t one. So I began thinking about writing one, not quite sure I wanted to tackle such a big undertaking. That soon changed.

I was on a cruise ship in Asia and worried that our itinerary called for two stops in Vietnam. Didn’t they still consider us their enemy? At one stop in Ho Chi Minh City my tour group and our Vietnamese guides ate box lunches in a park. Off in the distance I spotted hundreds of schoolgirls in immaculate white dresses riding rusty bicycles down a dirty street over lorded by dilapidated buildings.

Because the Vietnamese lived under communism, I assumed these girls would be repressed just like their depressing surroundings. I was wrong. Smiling and chatting, they waved merrily to us as they peddled their way to school. Sitting there, I wondered how many other misconceptions I had about this country fourteen time zones away from home.

One tour guide sat down next to me and had non-stop questions about America. In order to advance in his job, he said he had to improve his knowledge about America and our language. He asked if I knew of a book like the one I had envisioned. His disappointment showed when I shook my head no. He then asked if he could e-mail me more questions about my country. Much to his delight I nodded yes. That was it. His infectious dedication became my dedication to start this book.

I not only wanted my book to enlighten those who merely have a curious interest about the world’s last remaining superpower, but also to help further the personal lives of those who have dealings with Americans, either in the U.S. or abroad, like my new friend. Perhaps one day one of the school girls in white.

I learned other lessons from that visit. I assumed the Vietnamese still hated America for the devastation we wrought on their country four decades earlier, as did the French before us. We lost fifty-eight thousand soldiers. They lost millions. People were missing arms and legs. Buildings were still riddled with bullet holes. Twenty percent of the country had unexploded land mines that had killed 40,000 people since the war ended.

In spite all these losses, these same people—even those with missing limbs—were genuinely friendly to us Americans. The tour guide explained, “The war is long over. We have all moved on.” How nice it would be, I thought, if we all could follow the example set by these people. Maybe, just maybe, my book would help a little. More reasons for starting the book.

          Alone that night in the silence of the ship’s wood paneled library as we headed for Bangkok, I listed the objectives for my book that might someday be sitting on a foreigner’s bookshelf. Maybe in my tour guide’s hand. Here’s what I wrote.
 

           To serve the reader, this book must:

     Be an easy-to-read, fun resource for those who want to learn what America is really like, in ways that will increase understanding between peoples, whether they reside in their native countries or come to live, play, work, or study in America.

 

       Use simple language and sentences because English might be the reader’s second language. (I made a note to myself with our slang word “KISS” that means keep it simple, stupid.)

       Use and explain slang words and sayings that foreigners might encounter and actually use themselves.

     Provide some good honest explaining on my part about America and about foreigners with no sugar coating. (I made a note to myself using another one of our slang sayings: “Be a straight shooter.”)

 

       Make the reader feel he or she is one-on-one with me, just as my young friend was in the park.

 

       Provide comparisons of how we do things in the U.S. versus how they are done in other countries. I’ve learned from acting and teaching culture that comparisons are excellent learning tools.

      Have “From A to Z” in the title to convey the broad scope of the book, yet group and condense the 26 most important aspects about America so they are easily understood.

      Identify the true character and values of the American people. Discuss what’s on our minds today and how we compare to people in other countries.

       Explain the underlying forces that helped mold our culture so others can understand the reasons why we are the way we are.

      Provide practical tips for enhancing one’s daily experiences for those who visit or reside in America.

 

      Provide additional learning tools such as the names of recommended books, magazines, newspapers, films, and Internet sites.

      Explain how readers can improve their English grammar and speech if they have that need. Their ability to do this will enhance the image they project to Americans and other Westerners and perhaps further their chances for success.

      Provide important information for the millions of foreign students who attend school in the U.S. Explain our admission process and how they can improve their experience once here.

      Discuss our business environment for those who work for an American employer here or abroad, or for those who want to start a business or get a job in the U.S.

 

       Encourage readers by introducing them to many of America’s leaders and achievers who have come from other countries.

 

      Provide pictures to further illustrate topics and make the reader feel at home.

 I also reflected on a discussion I had with an American executive I sat next to on my flight to Asia where I was to board the cruise ship. He was in charge of overseas operations for a major U.S. corporation and lamented the difficulty he had teaching American business concepts to his foreign managers because of differing cultures. I told him I was thinking about writing a book for foreigners that would include a few pages on business matters. He said he would definitely have them read it if I should write it, but he suggested I expand the scope of my discussion on business. He said this would make the book an even more valuable training aid that he could give to his foreign managers and executives. “Good hard facts,” he said, “culture, plus the big picture, plus the details so they understand the how and why of our business culture, something we keep trying and trying to drive home, but because of cultural differences, they just don’t get it and revert back to local customs.” I took his advice.

When I returned home, I began my A to Z book that would take two years to write. Halfway through my writing, research, and consultations with dozens of experts in some fields, a major overseas publisher acquired the book’s rights. I finally had the confirmation I wanted: What I was doing was indeed important. Another year and this undertaking would be finished and I knew it would be of help to that young Vietnamese tour guide and hopefully millions of others around the world.

----

That was the past. Today, this updated version of that book is for everyone around the world who wants to learn more about America. And that includes Americans! Even I learned a lot about America from the research I did.

The importance of understanding our culture and the subtleties of our difficult English language cannot be overstressed for those who deal with Americans. As you learn about our culture and language, you will become more comfortable and confident in your relations with us, and that just might lead to further success for you and perhaps indirectly for us, too.

           With this better understanding, we will all feel more positive and have mutual respect for one another. It has worked for my students and it will work for you.

            With all of our cultural differences though, you’ll be surprised to learn how much our countries—and we as human beings—have in common on this third rock from the sun called Earth. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is “It’s A Small World After All.”

           Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. Thank you for allowing me to share my America with you. And thanks to all of you who shared your country with me.

Peace.
LJ

Photos Above: #1 Author at Giza right after the Arab Spring demonstrations in Tahrir Square
 


Metadata for Lance's A to Z

 

RECENT PUBLICATION in Ukraine

(Ukrainian)
Osnovy Publishing

Darwin str. 10, office 25A

Kyiv, Ukraine  01004

Publisher: danapavlychko@gmail.com

 

UPCOMING PUBLICATION in mainland China

(Simplified Chinese)

Tianjin People's Publishing House,

Room 514, No. 35 Xikang Road,

Heping District, Tianjin, 300051, P.R. China

Contact: wenxinxin0906@163.com

 

FORMERLY PUBLISHED in mainland China
(Simplified Chinese)

Oriental Press

 

COMMENTS (from Amazon.com)

         “I teach English as a Second Language and this is a source from heaven!”

         “We distributed copies to 100 international students at our business school, and the feedback has been universally positive. ‘A To Z’ is both easy to read and contains enough material to serve as a reference for Americans and non-Americans alike. I highly recommend this book!”

         “This is one of the most comprehensive books on America for foreigners.”

         “It's a fascinating book giving insight into the US culture that we as Americans don't see.”

         “The best book I've read on immigration. It helps me to better understand US culture and to be accepted in this society with ease.”

         “I am planning to develop a presentation for my students based on this book. Compared different cultures very well. Very entertaining.”

 

Read about Lance's Legacy Award from Eric Hoffer.
 


Contents
for
A to Z

For those with special needs or interests,
the sections of this book
are also available separately:

Book 1 - America's Heritage

Book 2 - America's Culture

Book 3 - America's Business

Book 4 - America's Language


Contents

A Personal Note from the Author   ix
Let’s Get the Most out of This Book   xiii
Importance of Understanding Cultural Differences   1

 SECTION I – AMERICA’S HERITAGE

AWE THE PEOPLE    13
Spirit of the People   13
The American Dream   14
Immigrants   15
Population   16
Families   17
Languages   19
Standard of Living   19
Social Equality   22
Foreign Heritage Roots   23
The Asian American Experience   27
Foreign Heritage Influence in Our Cities   28

BGOVERNMENT   31
Federal Government   33
State Government   36
County and City Government   37
Political Parties   39
What We Think About Our Government   42
Foreign Heritage Americans in U.S. Government   43

C GEOGRAPHY   45
Mountains   48
Rivers and Lakes   49
Geographical Regions   51
Other Regions   54
Our Largest States and Cities   55
Climate   55
National Parks   56
Trivia Quiz   61

D HISTORY   63
The 1500s – Exploration   63
The 1600s – Settlement   64
The 1700s – Independence   65
The 1800s – Expansion    70
The 1900s – Conflicts and Reforms   73
The New Millennium   74
Immigration History   80

E – LAW   85
Legal Vocabulary for You   87
Our Different Courts   88
Courtroom Alternatives   89
Legal Assistance   90
Legal Status of Foreigners   91
Law Profession   92
Rulings That Changed America   93
Famous Court Cases   96

FRELIGION   99
Christianity   103
Protestant Churches   104
Roman Catholic Church   106
Eastern Orthodox Church   106
Judaism   106
Other Fundamental Religions   107
Non-Mainstream Religions   107

G – MEASUREMENTS   109
Weight   110
Volume   110
Length   111
Surface or Area   113
Temperature   113
Money   114

            SECTION II – AMERICA’S CULTURE

 H – CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE   119
Foreign vs. American Customs   121
How Other Nations View Americans   123
Influencing Factors   125
Greetings Customs   127
Social Gathering Etiquette   132
Conversation Customs   135
Telephone Etiquette   138
Drinking and Smoking Customs   141
Automobile Customs   142
Environmental Customs   145
Pet Customs   146
Walking Customs   147
Superstitions   148
Thank You Customs   150

IEDUCATION   153
Lower Level School Fundamentals   156
School Divisions   158
College Fundamentals   164
College Rankings   168
Applying to an American College   169
College Financial Assistance   171
Free Colleges   173
Foreign Students in American Colleges   174
Cultural Courses for International Students   176
Kahn Academy Assistance   178

JRELATIONSHIPS   179
Dating and Courtship   182
Engagement   191
Wedding   193
Divorce 

K – LITERATURE   199
Historical Perspective   200
Selected American Authors   201
Other Notable Authors   206
Best Selling Fiction   207
Foreign Heritage American Writers   208

L – FILM   211
Top 20 American Films   213
Other Public Favorites   219
Foreign Contributors to Film Industry   220

M – ART   223
Selected American Artists   224
Other Artistic Achievers   230
Favorite Museums   230
Foreign Contributors to American Art   231

N – SPORTS   235
Baseball   237
Football   242
Basketball   245
Golf   249
Fan Favorites   252
Other Foreign Heritage Sports Figures   253

O – FOOD AND DINING   255
Everyday Food Terms   259
Regional U.S. Cuisines   260
Dining Out   261
Table Etiquette   263
National Fast Food Restaurants   270

P – DRESS AND APPEARANCE   273
Dressing Tips for Foreigners   277
Dressing Styles   279
Fashion Magazines   283
Clothing Sizes   284
Foreign Heritage Designers   285

Q MEDIA   287
Newspapers   291
Magazines   294
Radio   296
Television   298
Internet   301
Foreign Heritage Americans in the Media   303

R – HOLIDAYS AND TRADITIONS   305
Federal Holidays   306
National Celebrations   315
Religious Celebrations   317
Fun Days   318
Ethnic Celebrations   320
Other Dates and Traditions   321

S – WHAT AMERICANS THINK   325
Most Admired People   325
Top Government Accomplishments 1950 - 2000   327
Government’s Top Priorities in 21st Century   329
Top Events of the 20th Century   329
Other American Beliefs   330
How We View Our Future   354

T – WHAT FOREIGNERS THINK ABOUT AMERICA   355
The Ugly American   356
A Frenchman   357
Foreign Exchange Students   359
An Englishman   361
An Asian Teacher   363
Muslim American Survey   363
A Vietnamese Immigrant   364
Foreign Students in the U.S.   365

SECTION III – AMERICA’S BUSINESS

 UBUSINESS AND FINANCE   369
Capitalism   370
Government Involvement   371
International Differences   374
International Trade   378
International Business Models   379
Business Ethics   382
Definitions and Terms   384
Business Structures   386
Small Businesses   390
Entrepreneurs   390
Accounting Systems   391
Financial Reports   393
Business Organization   395
Labor Unions   400
Banking and Finance   401
Investments   402
Retirement Investment Plans   408
Business Publications   409
Kings of Business   410
Other Innovators   413
Successful Foreign Heritage Business Persons 414

V – BUSINESS CUSTOMS   417
Making Your Business Appointment   417
Preparing for Your Appointment   419
Business Greetings and Introductions   421
Business Meeting Conduct   422
Small Talk   424
Talking Business   425
Business Entertaining   429

W OWNING A BUSINESS   431
Starting a Business on Your Own   433
Purchasing a Business Opportunity   434
Purchasing an Existing Business   436
Running Your New Business   440

X GETTING A JOB   443
Finding Job Opportunities   443
Preparing Your Cover Letter   446
Writing Your Resume   448
Your Interview   452
Quitting Your Job   457
Job Market Today   458
Paying Your Taxes   458

SECTION IV – AMERICA’S LANGUAGE

 

Y – LET’S USE BETTER ENGLISH GRAMMAR   463
Common Foreign Errors   464
The Alphabet   465
Levels of English Usage   466
Six Types of Words   467
The Sentence   471
Making Your Sentences Correct   473
Verb Tenses   483
Common Verb Errors   486
Other Common Errors   487
Understanding English Words   493
The Most Commonly Used English Words   498
English Trivia Quiz   498
Congratulations! You Are a Wonder!   499

Z – LET’S SPEAK BETTER ENGLISH   501
Vowel Sounds   504
Consonant Sounds   507
Ending Sounds   514
Syllables   517
Sentence Stress   519
Sentence Tone   523
Abbreviations   525
Slang Sayings   526
Good Speaking Tips   529
Practical Advice for English Learners   542
Impressive Words   543
British English vs. American English   546

APPENDIX     

1.      Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address   551

2.      Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges in America   552

3.      Top 50 Universities in America   553

4.      Colleges with Largest Percentage of  International Students   554

5.      Sample Income Tax Form 1040   555

6.      The Pulitzer Prize for Literature   557

7.      Academy Awards – Best Picture   558

8.      Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus   559

9.      The 50 U.S. States    560

10.   U.S. History Government Quiz   561

INDEX   567


  Tip from A to Z
From the chapter on doing business in the US.

Note: The author puts slang terms, with their definitions, in his chapters
throughout the book. It is a wonderful way to become familiar with
American slang and so help folks adapt to our culture.

SMALL TALK

We generally chat a bit before we talk business in order to learn more about each other and establish a bond. We call this “small talk,” which is discussed in Chapter H – Customs and Etiquette. Such conversations are brief. If your counterpart is interested in small talk, be sure to ask some questions of him or make statements, such as: “Have you been to my country?” In some cultures it is acceptable to ask personal questions, such as how much money someone makes. Do not do this in American business meetings because we think it is "none of your business" (a private matter).

 

Hint: You might want to take an 8”x10” copy of your nation’s map you can leave with him that has an X to denote your city. Americans know little about the geography of many other countries and it might help you with small talk. Stapled to it might be a photo of your hometown or even you and your family to personalize it. This will give the impression that you prepare for your meetings. Americans like preparation so we can move things along. We have a saying that exemplifies this: Go the extra mile.


Lance's Language and Culture Credentials

University Study Teaching Expertise  Travel and Study
  • University of Utah, BS
  • Columbia University, MBA
  • Oxford University, post graduate study, drama
  • Business seminars, several awards for speaking/teaching
  • Teaching English teachers for the Suzhou, China, school district.
  • Travel associated with teaching, research, pleasure trips and acting in 81 countries.
  • Lived in China during stints filming and teaching.

The author teaching English and culture in China.


About the Author

      Born and raised in America, Lance Johnson has long been fascinated with the history and culture of America and foreign countries and how they differ. Having visited 49 of the 50 U.S. states and traveled in 81 countries, he’s learned among other things that the Black Sea, Red Sea, and the Blue Danube do not reflect those colors, and that Iceland might better be called Greenland and vice versa. He’s also learned how America and its people are perceived abroad both correctly and incorrectly. And how America’s perception of the rest of the world can vary, too.

A student of cultural differences, his travels also allow him to explore the difficulties foreigners face understanding American ways and language, and how that affects their success in dealing with us. He consults, teaches, and conducts seminars about the subjects in this book. He has an Ivy League graduate business degree and has studied at Oxford University in England.

The author and lecturer was a manager with an international management consulting firm and a corporate president for 26 years before taking up acting and writing. He now volunteers his services to nonprofit organizations and immigrants. He has appeared in movies, stage plays, national commercials, and TV dramas, including a lead American role in a 28-part China TV production.

As a second-generation American, he shares his love of history and culture with visitors at a leading museum of history where he is a docent. He also golfs and skis, adores his grandchildren, and plays with Malibu Barbie, his third Great Dane, and Max, his Bulldog-Pug mix. He has also mentored underprivileged youth.

His American heroes include American visionary presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, and inventor Thomas Edison, all of whom had significant roles in the development of America and its culture as we know it today.

Equally important on his list are those foreigners who came to America and despite overwhelming discrimination, sacrifice, and deprivation contributed to the rich history of the early settlement of America. The legacy of all these immigrants resides throughout America today.

Equation of life: Knowledge + Understanding +

Acceptance = A Better World for All. - Lance Johnson

 

Photo: Author at Yunnan Stone Forest outside Kunming, China


Excerpt
The Intro from a Chapter on
Language and Accent Reduction

Americans are not a people like the French, Germans, or Japanese,

whose genes have been mixing with kindred genes for thousands of

years. Americans are held together only by ideas. – Theodore White, writer

           This is an excerpt from the book--the first page of Chapter Y that helps readers improve their English grammar. It was one of the first I wrote to share with my friends overseas and here at home, just as they have shared with me. 

Chapter Y
L
ET’S USE BETTER ENGLISH GRAMMAR

Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.
- Thomas Mann (20th century author)

The purpose of this chapter is to identify typical grammar problems foreigners have with English and how they can overcome these stumbling blocks. In order to do this, it is necessary to discuss our basic rules of grammar. Grammar defines how the various components of a language are used correctly. In Chapter Z – Let’s Speak Better English, we deal with how you can become a more effective English speaker. The two chapters go hand in hand.

Correct use of grammar will help you better communicate with Americans and you will improve the image you create for yourself. This is important for those foreigners who deal with Americans, or if English is used in their country like India. But, even as some Asian Indians are learning (and I discovered there), though they think they know English, they still have problems communicating with Americans.

As you may know, English grammar rules are full of generalities and the generalities are full of exceptions. Even the exceptions have exceptions. This is why English is one of the most difficult languages to master. In fact, a recent European study discovered that most children master the basic elements of their language within a year or less of starting primary school. However, English speaking children require two to three years of learning to reach the same level. Why? It is believed the difficulty is created by the complex syllable structure (a single-sound unit in our words) and the inconsistent spelling system of English, both of which we address in this and the next chapter.

 

Hint: In the interest of simplifying a complex subject, advanced English speakers may not find all the exceptions in our language discussed in this chapter. The focus is on general rules, not on all possibilities, in order to identify and explain common errors made by foreigners. For those seeking all possibilities, they should obtain an advanced book on English grammar.

 

Most of my foreign friends and students who speak English as a second language (ESL) have either studied the language in their countries, have taken English classes in America, or done both. Most of them have an understanding of our grammar rules, but still have problems making their sentences grammatically correct. I even found this true with the teachers of English I taught in China. Part of the problem is foreigners do not have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom or from books by speaking English to native English speakers. So, they might do well on basic grammar tests as my teacher-students did, but stumble when actually trying to assemble what they have learned about grammar and actually using it.

You will become a better writer and speaker using this chapter, even if you think you have sufficient knowledge of our grammar. Please keep an open mind and don’t skip over it. Also, because of the chapter’s linear organization, please take your time and understand one section before going on to the next.


Praise
for
A to Z

Your book covers a broad range of topics that I am sure many…will find very useful. I certainly agree with you on the importance of mutual understanding, which [this] book serves to promote. ~ Clark T. Randt, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to China
 

I congratulate you on writing this timely work. This will promote better mutual understanding between America and Asia. ~ Tommy Koh, Singapore Ambassador to the U.N. and U.S.

 

I greatly appreciate your efforts in sharing with other people your opinion and experience on the exchanges between different peoples and cultures. It is so important for us to better understand each other while striving to build a better world for all. ~ Zhou Wenzhong, China Ambassador to U.S.

 

A to Z is by a scholar of globalization. Raised and schooled in India and widely traveled, I believe that discrimination is based on ignorance. [This book] tears at this veil and is as objective as is humanly possible. The message is clear, the text has flow and the language is easy to understand. Readers will find this book useful, no matter which portal they would like to enter from. ~ Dr. Stephen Gill, poet, novelist and literary critic

 

Misunderstandings often happen needlessly due to ignorance and differences in cultures. I really wish I had read this book when I lived in China in order to learn more about the U.S. Since moving to America and getting my MBA, it is not too late because there is so much to learn from A to Z. I highly recommend this book that could change your life! ~ Lily Lang, financial analyst, Washington, D.C.

 

I found this book refreshingly different from the general run of books in this genre because it shows both Americans and foreigners warts and all! ~ Mohammad Vazeeruddin, India journalist; former Associate Editor, The Tribune

 

The A to Z chapters are nicely written and are very informative. The language is simple and lucid and presented in a nice manner with fine sequence. The writer’s efforts of thorough research are praiseworthy. It is, in short, a realistic bible of modern America. ~ Jay Gajjar, India language professor, writer of three hundred short stories

 

I’ve lived in America 20 years. I took ESL [English as a second language] classes for three years and studied five years with a tutor. Until reading A to Z, I never found a book to help me with my grammar, pronunciation, phrasing and other essential speaking skills. It also helped me understand important American culture. So many of the questions I have always had about America and its people are answered in this book. I love this book’s generous use of helpful hints. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about America like I did.~ Sarah Kim, Korean American business owner, Los Angeles

 

[A To Z is] so inclusive!...well written...~ Mindy Philips Lawrence, reviewer, author, publicist

 

Nothing could be worse than nudging a nave neophyte into the magnificent melting pot known as America. This book could be their salvation, but beware of the misleading title. You might think that What Foreigners Need to Know About America from A to Z contains nothing but factoids for foreigners, but you need look no further than yourself and those within your intimate circle of friends to realize that our entire population today woefully lacks a perception of etiquette, knowledge of this country’s heritage, awareness of culture, know-how about business, and comprehension of language. ~ Dave Menefee for Book Pleasures

 

"Illustrative, concise, and educations. Worthy of a place on all bookshelves." ~ Global Ebook Awards Judge (Anonymous)
 

"Interesting topic choices for entries and the appendix." ~ Global Ebook Awards Judge (Anonymous)

 

"We appreciate the wealth of knowledge and information you brought to our students." ~ Stacy Lee, International Student Department coordinator for International Education Week in November at Mt. SAC college in Walnut, California.

 

Lance Johnson was awarded a gold medal  for his A To Z book
that came in first among 82 entries in the education category.
The Readers Favorite president presented the medal at their 
Miami event in November, 2013.

 

Lance's Growing
Online Articles and Appearances

Lance is a guest blogger for author Aaron Lazar: "Genesis of a Book to Help Foreigners Understand Crazy America."
~

Review from award-winning author Leora Skolkin-Smith.

~

Featured author at Book 'Em Writers Conference, North Carolina, 2012. Online listing at http://bookemnc.net.

Please contract the author at info@AmericaAtoZ.com for articles, interviews, podcasts and other guest appearances. Please note he is an actor and voiceover professional.


Buy Links for A to Z

Amazon Links
for
Paperbacks and Kindle
 Worldwide

Austria

http://www.amazon.de/What-Foreigners-Need-About-America/dp/1468172360/

 

Canada  -

http://www.amazon.ca/What-Foreigners-Need-About- 

America/dp/1468172360/

 

France -

http://www.amazon.fr/What-Foreigners-Need-About-

America/dp/1468172360/

 

Germany -

http://www.amazon.de/What-Foreigners-Need-About-

America/dp/1468172360/

India -
http://www.amazon.in/What-Foreigners-Need-About-America/dp/1468172360/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372449725&sr=8-1&keywords=what+foreigners+need+to+know+about+america

Italy -

http://www.amazon.it/What-Foreigners-Need-About-

America/dp/1468172360/

 

Japan -

http://www.amazon.co.jp/What-Foreigners-Need-About-

America/dp/1468172360/

 

Spain

http://www.amazon.es/What-Foreigners-Need-About- 

America/dp/1468172360/

 

United Kingdom -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Foreigners-Need-About-

America/dp/1468172360/

 

United States - http://amzn.to/ForeignersAmericaUS

 

For those with special needs or interests,
the sections of this book
are also available separately:

Book 1 - America's Heritage
Find it on Amazon at
http://bit.ly/AmericasHeritageBook1

Book 2 - America's Culture
Find it on Amazon at
http://bit.ly/AmericasCultureBook2

Book 3 - America's Business
Find it on Amazon at
http://bit.ly/AmericasBusinessBook3

Book 4 - America's Language
Find it on Amazon at
http://bit.ly/AmericasLanguageBook4

The above volumes are also available on Amazon in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

A to Z Equation of life:
Knowledge + Understanding + Acceptance =
A Better World for All
.
~ Lance Johnson

Available at Vroman's and other fine brick-and-mortar book stores
and at Harvard and other university
bookstores--both on campus and online.

Other Recommended Books for
Grammar and Accent Reduction:

 


                                                 Contact   ~    Media Kit

Printed matter, illustrations, and other images on this site are copyrighted.
The author is generous with permission for use when contacted.


Lance Johnson


Contact the Author

Lance would love to hear from you with questions, ideas, requests for interviews, etc.

Awards for A To Z

As Featured in
Publishers Weekly

Gold winner for Readers Favorite Nonfiction/ Education

Hoffer's Legacy Award, 2017

Montaigne Medal Winner

And a silver
Global E-Book Award


Assortment of Reviews
 for A To Z

For select reviews--from review sites, educators, and foreigners--go to the review page on this site.

Learn More About
Lance's Award-Winning
Plays

Lance's multi award-winning plays are award-winners that have had stagings in Los Angeles and New York off broadway!

Tip

Lance's A To Z Now Available to Ukrainians
(In Ukrainian!)

 What Foreigners Need To Know About Americans From A To Z is now available in simplified Chinese in two countries, in English, and in Ukrainian.


Quote from A to Z

We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.

Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different

hopes, different dreams. - Jimmy Carter, U.S. president 1977–1981


Endorsement

"The A to Z chapters are nicely written and are very informative. The language is simple and lucid and presented in a nice manner with fine sequence. The writer’s efforts of thorough research are praiseworthy. It is, in short, a realistic bible of modern America." ~Jay Gajjar, India language professor, writer of three hundred short stories

Article on Author's Chinese TV Series

Lance is the American lead in a 28 part Chinese TV series. Download a .pdf  about his film experience here.

Language Tip

"Those who speak English as a second language tend to forget to use our articles--those little words 'a,' 'an,' and 'the.' We understand you if you don't use them, but it's one small correction you can make that will help you sound like a native." ~ From What Foreigners Need to Know About America From A To Z

Travel Tip

"When I travel I ask people what they would like to know about America that they were always afraid of asking for fear of offending. What a great conversation starter that is!" ~ From What Foreigners Need to Know About America From A To Z

Typical A to Z Hint

"Community colleges can be excellent choices for foreigners who want to study in America. They are available to anyone who wants to study either during the day or at night, part time or full time. I have foreign heritage friends who take English language classes at these colleges at night or on weekends. They are not working toward a degree but are trying to improve their language skills.  I strongly recommend them for immigrants."

Hints like this may be found throughout the A To Z book.


Media Kit

For the convenience of the press and new media, download a pdf file of Lance's media kit.

Tip on Culture

"Our world is overflowing with hundreds of cultures and thousands of misconceptions and myths that we have about each other and our counties. America has had an enormous influx of people who brought these cultures and views with them. In fact, the U.S. allows more immigration than all other countries of the world combined. In 1970, one in twenty Americans was from a foreign country; today, one in nine. They might come to the U.S. to work for American employers, to open branch offices or factories for their homeland employers, to start their own businesses, or go to school. Others might work for American organizations in their homelands or have American teachers or neighbors there. Either way, an understanding of our culture and language can be important for them."

 

Hints like this may be found throughout the A To Z book.

Advertising

The Frugal Editor, empowering writers one at a time:

 

 

Little Known Fact: You can buy e-books on Kindle for any device you have including your PC with Amazon's free app.


Lance's A To Z
Appearances

Lance was a featured author at Book 'Em February 2013, Robeson Community College, Lumberton, N.C.

  Lance lectured  at Rancho Las Palmas Library, 2014


Lance's Suggestions for Helpful Sites and Books for His Readers

Help for those interested in Work-Study in the US.

 ~

Help for those who want foreign language help that makes a difference.

~

A historic novel about frontier life in Kentucky in the early 1800s
By Eddie Price


Lance's Growing Online Articles and Reviews

Lance is a guest blogger for author Aaron Lazar: "Genesis of a Book to Help Foreigners Understand Crazy America."
~

 Interview by Donna McDine for her blog.

  ~

Review from award-winning author Leora Skolkin-Smith.

~

Review from Donna M. McDine's review blog.

~

Five-Star Review
from Alice D. at
Readers Favorite

~

Interview at The Pen Muse

~

Review by Conny Withay

~

Review by Mary Cowper for Midwest Reviews:

"Packed with invaluable insights and information for those who are not wholly familiar with America's way of life (including immigrant citizens who may have lived in America for years but are still adjusting to different cultural practices and rules of etiquette!)..."

~

Review from Dave Menefee for Book Pleasures and The New Book Review.

~

Featured on Penny Ehrenkranz's One Writer's Journey.

 Please contact the author at info@AmericaAtoZ.com for articles, interviews, podcasts, and other guest appearances. Please note he is an actor and voiceover professional.


Honors for Lance

"Lance, congratulations!

You have one of the top 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012."

LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for playing a unique part in our community!