October 20, 2014 21:08 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Words and Their Stories: Nicknames for Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles as seen from the Baldwin Hills section of the city
Downtown Los Angeles as seen from the Baldwin Hills section of the city

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Now the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

A nickname is a shortened form of a person's name. A nickname can also be a descriptive name for a person, place or thing. Many American cities have nicknames. These can help establish an identity, spread pride among citizens and build unity. Nicknames can also be funny.

Los Angeles, California is the second largest city in population, after New York City. Los Angeles has several nicknames. One is simply the city’s initials, L.A. It is also called the City of Angels because Los Angeles means “the angels” in Spanish.

Los Angeles often has warm, sunny weather. So another nickname is City of Flowers and Sunshine. New York is called The Big Apple. So Los Angeles is sometimes called The Big Orange because of the fruit that grows in that city’s warm climate.

The American motion picture and television industries are based in Los Angeles. So it is not surprising that it is called The Entertainment Capital of the World. Many films are made in the area of Los Angeles called Hollywood. Millions of people visit the area. No trip to Los Angeles is complete without seeing the word "Hollywood" spelled out in huge letters on a hillside.

Many movie stars live in Los Angeles. The city is sometimes called Tinseltown. This nickname comes from the shiny, bright and often unreal nature of Hollywood and the movie industry.

Another nickname for Los Angeles is La-La Land, using the first letters of Los and Angeles. This means a place that is fun and not serious, and maybe even out of touch with reality.

The city of Los Angeles is part of Los Angeles County. There are many smaller cities in the county. Beverly Hills, with its rich people, is one of them. So is Pasadena, with its Rose Parade each New Year's Day. So are the coastal cities of Santa Monica and Malibu, where people like to ride surfboards on the Pacific Ocean waves.

A good place for watching unusual-looking people is Venice, an area on the west side of Los Angeles. A system of waterways designed after the Italian city of Venice has been built there.

Many people love Los Angeles for its warm sunny weather, beautiful mountains and beaches, and movie stars. That includes Randy Newman, who sings about his hometown.

(MUSIC - Randy Newman - "I Love L.A.")

This program was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Barbara Klein. You can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at voaspecialenglish.com.

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