Often times astute observers of international news, a category you likely include yourself in, will hear that some politician or government minister has commented on such and such country trying to “peg” or fix their exchange rate to a certain value versus another country’s currency. You may be asking yourself what the big deal is if Mexican Pesos are fixed at ten per two British Pounds, let’s say. I’m glad you asked!
If Mexico’s central banking authority (these countries were chosen purely for the sake of argument) decides that they don’t want to allow the value of their currency to rise and fall with market conditions on the world exchange rate market, they may take steps to ensure that the value of their currency is artificially stabilized versus some other country’s. In so fixing the value of the Peso to the Pound, what has in effect happened is that goods produced in Mexico will be less expensive than goods produced in England.
In pegging or fixing the exchange rate between the Peso and the Pound, what the Mexican central bank has in effect tried to do is stabilize trade relations between their countries and also stabilize the value of their currency. In so doing, however the Pound rises and falls, the Peso will do so in at the same rate. This is most often done in smaller nations whose markets are tied to larger ones.
The biggest problem with this arrangement, from the British view, would be that goods from Mexico would permanently become less expensive than goods produced at home in real terms. As such, items that are manufactured in the United Kingdom would be, all other things being equal, consumed at a lower rate than those produced in Mexico by the British markets. This can lead to a trade imbalance, which can have consequences for both countries.
While there are many payment methods abroad, a popular option especially among larger transactions is by check. A check, or cheque, is a piece of paper which allows the writer to make a promise to pay another person. Checks are slightly different from the “I owe you” note in that a check actually allows a payee to collect money from the writer’s account. At the bottom of the check is a line of numbers written in magnetic ink. This is called a “micr line,” and is useful as it displays the routing number, account number, and check number of the individual check. This information allows the person who received the check to “cash” or get funds from the check.
Specialized forms of checks include the electronic check, the cashier’s check, and the money order. Money orders and cashier’s checks are also called official items, in that they are guaranteed by the bank or company that produced them. The bank where a cashier’s check is made in effect promises that the check is valid, because they have already been paid for the item. The same is true for money orders. Electronic checks are created when a vendor has been given permission by the owner of an account, either through a contract or verbal agreement, to take funds from their account.
The three numbers at the bottom of any check are the routing number, which in effect gives the electronic address of the writer’s bank, the account number, which gives the maker’s account number at that bank, and the check number, which is the number of checks that the account owner has written up to this point. However, just because someone has written you a check does not mean that there is enough money in their account to pay the check. If someone gives you a check, you should always take it to the bank it is drawn on if you feel it may not be good. The bank that appears on the check will be able to tell instantly if there are enough funds available for the check to be paid, as the check comes from one of their accounts. If you deposit a “bad check”, one that was written without enough money to cover the purchase, into your bank account, you may be subject to fees.
If you make a friend when you start learning English in the United States, what to call them can pose a bit of a challenge to someone unfamiliar with English slang. You can always call this person “friend” or “my friend,” but these words can seem a bit stiff and formal for the type of friendship you’re hoping to establish.
Some great words for friend in the United States include “bro,” which is short for brother and only to be used with men, “buddy” which can be applied to both women and men, “man” which ironically can be applied to both men and women, “girl” or “girlfriend” can be used to describe a female friend, but it’s important to note that “girlfriend” can mean a girl that you have a dating relationship with. People have preferences for particular slang words to describe themselves based on their age and social grouping. For example, Americans in their forties and older would likely call their friends “buddy,” “man,” “girl” or “girlfriend.” Those younger than forty are likely to feel more comfortable with “dude”, and those under thirty are likely to be familiar with “bro.” This is not to say that you can’t say “buddy” to a nineteen year old, but rather suggests that certain words are more appropriate to certain age groups. Before referring to anyone under these terms, it may also be prudent to first wait to see how you are referred to before using nicknames as different words can have various meanings depending on the person.
English slang words for friend vary by age in the United States because slang words come from pop culture. As each generation comes up with different forms of music and new movies and television shows are introduced, the words that are used commonly also change. For example, “dog” was popularized in the nineteen nineties through hip hop culture, while “man” became popular initially in the nineteen seventies because of rock and roll.
All English slang develop and change so what may work one year, may not work a few years later. There are some great websites out there which deal with the origin and proper usage of slang. Urban dictionary is one of the best, but there are many others out there.