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broden

A Novice's Guide To Foreign Idioms

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broden

i get Smithsonian magazine

 

and in the latest issue there was what i thought to be an interesting article .. and seeing as how we have people on this forum from all over the globe i thought it might be interesting to many and perhaps even lead to some discussion and sharing of various idioms, slang and what not

 

as issues of language and it's usage pop up here from time to time i thought if nothing else it might be thought provoking and even perhaps entertaining to some

 

A Novice's Guide to Foreign Idioms

If you think learning foreign idioms is easy, just try combing the giraffe

 

By Tom Bodett

Smithsonian magazine, April 2010

 

 

Some years back I was invited to speak at a black-tie event for the French-American Chamber of Commerce at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Because the audience would be primarily French nationals, I was advised to avoid using American idioms in my address. This is a fine kettle of fish, I thought as I sat down to purge my vocabulary of American idioms. What I was left with at the end of the day was

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Alan S

Some of the best books to learn about idioms and idiosyncracies of speach, plus learn a lot about the English language at the same time are:

 

Mother Tongue, Journey Into English, and Made In America, all by Bill Bryson.

His "Troublesome Words" is a book that every writer should have beside him while he writes.

Apart from being informative, his style is amusing, making the books fun to read.

 

 

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

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sam12six

With foreign idioms, I can usually tell what they mean by context - not WHY they mean that, but what they mean in general.

 

Ironically, the one expression that gives me the most problem (at least online) is simple and very common. When I hear it in person from someone with an Aussie or Brit accent, my mind translates the word "pissed" into the correct meaning for it.

 

When I read it though, I give it the American translation (which is angry).

 

Sometimes, someone will post something on a forum like, "My brother got arrested yesterday for running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady - but we all do things like that when we're pissed.".

 

For a second or 30, I'll sit there making odd faces while I try and figure out what kind of person thinks that's normal behavior for an angry person - then I'll get the Ohhhhhh moment when I realize what regional meaning they're using for the word.

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Alan S
running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady

 

Errrum, isnt that normal behaviour anyway?

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sam12six
running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady

 

Errrum, isnt that normal behaviour anyway?

 

Of course not!!

 

A lampshade. A pair of underwear. A small wastebasket - all perfectly acceptable but a flowerpot? On your head?!?

 

Ridiculous!

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KennyF

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

 

A great read. I wish there were more like this.

 

K on C

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Nangulo

 

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

 

Oh, yeah. I take my copy (nearly) everywhere I go.

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Jay
running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady

 

Errrum, isnt that normal behaviour anyway?

 

Of course not!!

 

A lampshade. A pair of underwear. A small wastebasket - all perfectly acceptable but a flowerpot? On your head?!?

 

Ridiculous!

 

Unless you're a member of Devo.

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Athena
running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady

 

Errrum, isnt that normal behaviour anyway?

 

biggrin_01.gifbiggrin_01.gifbiggrin_01.gif ......... you think so ????????? welllllllllll ............. remind me to have my camera on the ready when we met in person Alan ........ biggrin_01.gifbiggrin_01.gifbiggrin_01.gif

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broden
running about town naked with a flowerpot on his head and addressing everyone he passed as M'lord or M'lady

 

Errrum, isnt that normal behaviour anyway?

Alan you should of showed them your picture from when you ran for office

sillyparty.jpg

 

 

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

 

Oh, yeah. I take my copy (nearly) everywhere I go.

don't have it need to get it

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RogerDuMond

 

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

 

Oh, yeah. I take my copy (nearly) everywhere I go.

don't have it need to get it

 

http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Nearly-Everything/dp/B001I1UVWC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270820480&sr=1-4

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broden

 

(Whilst off topic, his A Short History of Nearly Everything is also well worth reading.)

 

Oh, yeah. I take my copy (nearly) everywhere I go.

don't have it need to get it

 

http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Nearly-Everything/dp/B001I1UVWC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270820480&sr=1-4

thank ya Roger1998594599_545de48c30_m.jpg

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RogerDuMond

thank ya Roger1998594599_545de48c30_m.jpg

When I saw the title of this thread I thought you were talking about me. Then I saw that you said idiom not idiot.ROFLMAO.gif

Edited by RogerDuMond

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broden

thank ya Roger1998594599_545de48c30_m.jpg

When I saw the title of this thread I thought you were talking about me. Then I saw that you said idiom not idiot.ROFLMAO.gif

don't be silly Roger you're not a foreigner to me

:P :P smiley-gen121.gif

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