I live in a local area.
Now as we all know, the word 'local' is used in Japan quite a lot.
You can see it every day on the trains.
ローカル線 A local train line
Here's part of the Tsukuba Express Train Announcement
Thank you for using the Tsukuba Express Line.
This is a local train for Akihabara.
We will soon be stopping at station number 15, Moriya.
The doors on the right side will open.
But in daily English conversation I often hear the word being used and I think to myself, hmm.. that doesn’t sound quite right...
Let’s look at the reasons why in a bit more detail
First we must take a look at what the word 'local' means in English.
It can be used as an adjective, a noun and an adverb.
As an adjective it means related to a restricted area. You know, like in your own neighborhood.
If you are talking about the place you are in, it means somewhere close to here. It’s not far from here.
We could say
My local supermarket.
Our local school.
He is a local celebrity.
Local calls are free.
A really good way to remember the meaning of local is this.
Do you know what this means?
Well If you have an operation, you might get a 'local anaesthetic.'
Here’s the meaning in Japanese
This is only for one part of the body, isn’t it?
For the whole body, we say 'general anaesthetic.'
This puts your entire body to sleep.
Oh, and also in the UK, we call the pub we regularly go to as just 'THE LOCAL.'
As a noun it means a person or people who live in that particular area.
We can say 'a local' or 'the locals.'
Ask a local to recommend a good restaurant.
The locals were really friendly.
Some of the locals were unhappy with the new mall.
As an adverb we use it after a verb
We can say 'locally.'
I always try to buy my vegetables locally.
(A) Do you live locally?
(B) Yup! Just down the road.
You can hire ski equipment locally.
Now here’s the key point from this lesson, so please pay close attention.
When I’m talking to people in Japan, I get the feeling a lot of people think that the word 'local' can sometimes mean
But in English it never means that.
And I mean NEVER.
'Local' can be used for a big city like Tokyo or a really small village out in the sticks somewhere.
(A) I live locally.
(B) Ha! Ha! That’s not so cool!
(B) Where do you live exactly? Tochigi? Ibaraki?
(A) In Shibuya
(B) 何ですって?!? それってローカルなの？
Do you see where I’m going with this?
So let’s go back to the original sentence.
I live in a local area.
A lot of people probably want to say this
It doesn’t make any sense to use the word ‘local’ in this situation.
So what should we say?
I live in the countryside.
I live out in the country.
I live in a rural area.
I live in an agricultural area.
In a more negative way you can say
I live out in the sticks.
I live out in the boonies.
I live in the back of beyond.
I live in the middle of nowhere!
We’re here in Ibaraki, which a lot of people think is out in the sticks. Well I suppose it is really. here are a lot of rice fields and I love it!
Let’s take a look at 5 example sentences
(1) Everyone hates to see the countryside ruined by new developments.
If something is ruined, then it is destroyed. I mean like it’s made much much worse than before.
(2) One thing I love about living in a rural area is that there is always plenty of parking.
This is especially true in convenience stores. They even have a special parking area just for trucks and buses in our local Family mart!
(3) When you take a trip somewhere exotic, it’s always nice to try some of the local cuisine.
The word exotic means something very new, different from your own culture. It’s usually used in a positive way.
Here's a picture of me trying some of the local food at the night market in Taiwan.
(4) There is a trend of moving out to the country and having a self-sufficient lifestyle.
To be self-sufficient means to do everything by yourself - just like in the old days
(5) If you buy things locally, it helps support local businesses and reduces the carbon footprint.
To reduce your carbon footprint, means to
- reduce the amount of energy you use
- eat fewer animal products
- shop locally
- travel smart
- reduce your waste
As the word 'local' is used in Japan in a slightly different way, it's best to make sure you know how it's used in English. It's a small point, but makes a big difference in taking your English to the next level. Please watch the VIDEO LESSON on YouTube!
Thanks for reading!
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