AITA TAIGER TALLINN UNIVERSITY LANGUAGE CENTRE 2012 CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 2. THEORY: WHAT ARE IDIOMS? TYPES OF IDIOMS REGISTER HISTORY OF SOME IDIOMS 3. PRACTICE: IDIOMS CONNECTED WITH FOOD AND EATING PRACTICAL EXERCISES FOR USING IDIOMS IN CLASS INTRODUCTION ENGLISH AS SPOKEN BY NATIVE SPEAKERS IS RICH IN METAPHORS, CULTURAL REFERENCES, PHRASAL VERBS AND IDIOMS THAT CAN BE QUITE CONFUSING TO FOREIGNERS. A former British Prime Minister once caused panic among interpreters when he referred to a “STICKY WICKET” at an international meeting. At another diplomatic session, an interpreter bewildered the participants when he rendered “OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND” as “blind and mad”. So, even if understanding idioms is not as vitally important in the classroom context as it is in conference interpreting, wouldn`t it be good to know what your native speaker colleague means when he says, “ ARE YOU TRYING TO PULL THE WOOL OVER MY EYES?” or “IT`S LIKE PIE IN THE SKY” ? Teaching and learning idioms may prove to be inspiring, challenging and funny for the teachers and students alike. And in FL teaching it definitely is one way of expanding the students`vocabulary. TO BE ON A STICKY WICKET OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND TO PULL THE WOOL OVER SB`S EYES PIE IN THE SKY TO BE IN A DIFFICULT OR EMBARRASSING SITUATION WHEN YOU DON`T SEE IT, YOU DON`T THINK ABOUT IT TO TRY TO TRICK OR CHEAT SOMEONE BY GIVING THEM THE WRONG INFORMATION SOMETHING YOU HOPE TO BE ACHIEVED BUT IS UNLIKELY TO BE WHAT ARE IDIOMS? Idioms are fixed expresssions which you learn and understand as units rather than as individual words, as the meaning of an idiom is often difficult to guess from the meaning of each individual word. THE MEANING OF IDIOMS Occasionally the meaning of an idiom is fairly obvious: HAVING EYES BIGGER THAN YOUR STOMACH, EATING LIKE A HORSE or DRINKING LIKE A FISH clearly suggest over-ambition or exaggeration when helping yourself to food or drink. However, if you say “ I PUT MY FOOT IN IT THE OTHER DAY WHEN I ASKED JANE IF SHE WAS GOING TO MARRY PETER”, it is difficult to know exactly what the sentence means. (To say something accidentally which upsets or embarrasses someone) TYPES OF IDIOMS Idioms can be grouped in a variety of ways: • By meaning: (e.g. Idioms describing people`s character etc.)You are a pain in the neck. • By verb or other key word: (e.g. Idioms with make)- Most politicians are on the make. • By grammar/ structure: e.g. verb+ object- Don`t poke your nose into my affairs!; prepositional phrase- It happened in the blink of an eye. ; simile- After a holiday in Italy, Tom was as brown as a berry.; binomials- It`s good to leave the hustle and bustle of the city at the weekend.; trinomials- She tried to stay cool, calm and collected.; whole clause or sentence- Please join us. The more, the merrier. • Some idioms are euphemisms ( avoiding words which may offend sb or be unpleasant)- I`m just going to powder my nose. REGISTER Idioms can often be rather informal and include a personal comment on the situation. They are sometimes humorous or ironic. So, use them carefully. Some of them, for instance ``It`s raining cats and dogs``can be a bit dated and very rarely used by British people. In a formal situation with a person you don`t know, don`t say, ‘’ How do you do, Mrs Smith. Do take the weight off your feet.’’ Instead say, ‘’Do sit down.’’ or “Please have a seat.” HISTORY OF SOME IDIOMS WHICH IDIOM DOES THIS PICTURE REMIND YOU OF? IDIOMS CONNECTED WITH FOOD AND EATING the apple of sb`s eye eat humble pie spill the beans go pear-shaped butter sb up on the breadline stew in one`s own juice eat like a horse make a meal of it have a finger in every pie dog`s breakfast out of the frying pan and into the fire cream of the crop sb`s bread and butter full of beans have egg on sb`s face be cheesed off eat like a bird like hot cakes sugar the pill bear fruit take the biscuit in a nutshell the icing on the cake IDIOMS IN SENTENCES After the evidence was presented the thief had to eat humble pie. He is always asked to comment when the economy goes pear-shaped. I think he`s trying to butter me up to get what he wants. As people have lost their jobs, many families are still on the breadline. Yes, I was wrong but don`t make such a meal of it. If you want to know what`s going on, ask Dave. He has a finger in every pie. I`m sorry but this essay of yours is a dog`s breakfast. All the people here are great specialists. You`ve just met the cream of the crop! Tourism is the island`s bread and butter. He had egg on his face after he had presented the wrong figures at the sales meeting. She looked really cheesed off when the meeting finally ended. The tickets are selling like hot cakes. When it comes to irresponsibility, he really takes the biscuit. EXERCISES FOR YOUNG LEARNERS I MATCH THE IDIOMS IN THE TWO COLUMS: 1. as red as a a. cucumber 2. as brown as a b. beetroot 3. as cool as a c. berry II COMPLETE THE SIMILES: 1. as red as a ......................................................... 2. as brown as a ......................................................... 3. as cool as a ......................................................... III EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF THE IDIOMS: Peter eats like a horse. She eats like a bird, that`s why she`s so thin. Don`t put all your eggs in one basket! It`s a piece of cake! I had to eat my words. It`s a hard nut to crack. Katy spilled the beans and told us about the surprise party. Don`t worry, they won`t bite your head off. It`s just a storm in a teacup. Horror films are not really my cup of tea. IV WRITE A STORY USING AS MANY IDIOMS AS YOU CAN V ARE THERE ANY EQUIVALENTS IN YOUR MOTHER TONGUE? HANDOUTS Food idioms and eating idioms: exercises from various sources Miscellaneous: suggested activities for working with idioms and exercises from the resource book How Idoms Work by Yvonne Clarke IDIOMS OF DECEIPT http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/la nguage/theteacher/2011/12/111230_teacher_new_year.s html THANK YOU!