eslHQ Home
User Name Password
Lost Password? | Join, it's FREE!
View today's posts
Search Extras Help   

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 22nd, 2006, 06:07 am
emile's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 339
emile is on a distinguished road
Default Idioms for idiots

Do you find that the students tend to screw up when they try to use idioms?

Either that, or they come up with outdated idioms that they've got from somewhere. One of my North Korean students came up with "sock him in the puss" - oh dear
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 23rd, 2006, 07:17 am
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,406
susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Idioms for idiots

I think idioms can be very "dangerous" for a language learner. If they're either outdated, as you say, or slightly wrong, they're liable to cause amusement (which may be well-intentioned but can be embarassing) or just meet with blank incomprehension. A more serious problem can be when they're used in a stylistically inappropriate context.
If students are learning English as a Lingua Franca, or so called "international" English, they really don't matter. In fact, they are more likely to impede communication if the other participants in the conversation don't recognise them than to facilitate it. But native speaker English is highly idiomatic (much more so than many other languages) and any learner who expects to have contact with native speakers needs at least a high receptive knowledge of idiomatic expressions.
With my students, who are learning English mainly for business purposes, I teach idioms receptively, but warn them off using them unless they're 100% sure of both their accuracy and appropriacy, or in a situation (eg talking to friends rather than in an important negotiation) where they don't mind taking a risk and it doesn't matter if they say something weird.
An ELT Notebook
The DELTA Course
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 23rd, 2006, 07:37 am
clivehawkins's Avatar
Clive Hawkins
Join Date: Aug 1st, 2006
Location: Italy
Posts: 454
clivehawkins is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Idioms for idiots

I've just bought the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms (ISBN 0194315452)and also Phrasal Verbs (ISBN 0194315436) mainly because I have one group who seem obsessed with learning idioms, even though they'd be better off trying to master the simple stuff first. They're pretty good.

You're quite right about usually getting it wrong and it does raise a smile or two on my part. I try to steer them away from idioms but they seem to have got this strange idea in their heads that this is the key to learning English.

The dictionaries are left in the classroom and they can consult them till the cows decide it's time to go home (or something like that) :-)
Free audio files and worksheets - improve your listening skills:
ESL PodCards

Get TEFL qualified in Sardinia!:
Tefl in Sardinia
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads Replies
IS there a difference between American and English idioms? 6
body parts idioms 0

Find the Best TEFL, TESL, TESOL & CELTA Certification Courses - User Submitted Ratings & Reviews for Online, Distance & Abroad TEFL Courses. Over 3,500 reviews of 100+ TEFL schools!

Teach English in Thailand - Onsite and Combined TEFL certification courses in Phuket, Thailand.

Free ESL Flashcards

Similar Threads Replies
IS there a difference between American and English idioms? 6
body parts idioms 0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:53 am.

All materials from this website are for classroom-use only. Digital redistribution of materials, in part or in whole, is strictly forbidden!

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2