Jazz up your English with Fresh and Lively Idioms
Oct 2, 2008 Grammar 1791 Views
English language is loaded with non-standard phrases, which rooted so deeply in its vocabulary that at times cannot be distinguished from the accepted Standard English terms. On the one hand, they jazz up the language of native speakers, making it very lively, natural, and authentic.
However, on the other hand, non-standard phrases make a pile of understanding hassles to English learners, who helplessly try to gain an understanding of all intricate words and phrases, invented by the language speakers impromptu.
This really stands for some reason, because the most difficult aspect of learning another language is not a great bulk of its vocabulary, but an extensive number of non-standard phrases.
Non-standard phrases, used here to denote idiomatic expressions, which make up a considerable part of the lexicon of language users.
The best advice to the English learners is not to make many efforts, trying to remember tons of idioms at one sitting, but to learn the most common ones gradually and naturally through the learning material or lively communication with native speakers. Remember that it is much better to be accurate in the non-idiomatic English than inappropriate when using idioms.
It is a well-known fact that English is heavily idiomatic. The phenomenon of vast idiomatic basis of the English language is rather explanatory. First, English is a multicultural language, that's why it comes under the influence of different languages and borrows new phraseological units extensively. Second, as new concepts are developed, new terms are needed for their indication, so instead of creating new words, we simply put together already existent words, which acquire new sense in combination.
Idiomatic expressions come across all over the place. Even a cursory scanning of the newspaper headlines and perfunctory watching of television shows or news broadcast clearly reveal the extent to which idiomatic language is a part of day-to-day life and communication. Being stripped of the non-standard phrases everyday language will lose its flavor and become pedestrian and dull.
What is especially interesting about idioms is that they can be defined in different ways, depending on the functions they fulfill. Idiom can be a figure of speech, which means that the words in idiomatic expressions are used figuratively, rather than with their literal meaning.
When we say that someone is in the soup, instinctively we feel that there is no real soup involved. We know that here the meaning of the word soup is figurative, and we guess from the context that someone who says it implies that a person is in trouble and has some serious problems.
Native speakers got so used to figurative language they speak that they don't realize of how large a proportion of what they say and write is metaphorical. A great number of idioms which is used in everyday language are colloquial metaphor. Wikipedia offers very clear and to the point example to illustrate this statement: get lost! - which means go away or stop bothering me.
Idiomatic expressions are extremely common and are found in all kinds of English, both formal and particularly informal. After all, frequent occurrence of the idiomatic expressions in speech does not make them understandable for everybody. As the origin and history, standing behind them, remains enigmatic and obscure both for native speakers of the language and English learners.
The origin or also called etymology of idioms, which can be literally interpreted as tracing back to the roots of emergence of words and phrases in the language, is a vast field of unceasing debates of scholars and a fruitful ground for equivocal opinions and views of linguists.
Indeed, language users do not pay attention to the stylistic peculiarities of the phrases they use, and do not reflect much on the origin of the words they utilize on a daily basis.
Indeed, usage of idiomatic expressions is par for the course for us, and we do not notice the beauty of the language we speak. English idiomatic language is a real diamond in the rough, which has enormous topical variety of forms and fascinating and surprising origins.
So be natural in your communication, keep your language simple and be sure to polish this rough diamond perfectly well.