Idioms. Are they the best thing since sliced bread? Are they a far cry from sprucing up the English language, or do they actually bring new life to what could be mundane conversations? Let’s dive a little deeper into this.
Learning any language often can be an excruciating task, especially when it’s in addition to your native language. People often claim the English language is one of the hardest to learn for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the straw that breaks the camel’s back in this case is the overuse of idioms. This reason is what I usually hear when people say the language poses problems for newcomers. At first, I did not realize just how many idioms we use on a daily basis. It was not until I took a course in linguistics and we studied idioms that I saw the light and understood how complex they make the English language.
First of all, let me cut to the chase. What exactly makes an idiom an idiom? Idioms can be defined as a phrase that’s meaning cannot be established based upon the given definition of each of the words in that phrase. If you’re still with me, hang on tight, because it’s about to get even more complicated. But, please have an open mind. Don’t be a fuddy-duddy. Go out on a limb with me, here. I’ve got a gut feeling that the rest of what I have to say will just be the icing on the cake when it comes to idioms.
Let’s try a common scenario in the English language and explain an idiom with more idioms. That sounds like fun, right? Of course I’m right. Now, fasten your seatbelts because here we go. . . .
I’m currently inspired by the weather outside.
One might say that it’s raining cats and dogs.
Oh, you’re not sure what that means? Well, let’s just say that a real storm is brewing out there.
I was as right as rain—on cloud nine so to speak, but now the weather seems to be raining on my parade.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that every cloud has a silver lining, but it seems to me that when it rains, it pours.
Now, I’m quite literally under the weather.
Wasn’t that a joy to read? Could you imagine trying to explain all of this to someone who is not a native English speaker? It’s times like these when I gain new perspectives and understand how hard it can be to learn all that a language has to offer. So, now that I’ve given you some ideas, jump on the bandwagon and try to speak a conversation in idioms and see how far you can go! As for me, I better hit the road, but thanks for letting me bend your ear on idioms.
Associate Student Representative, Southwestern Region, 2017-2018
Omicron Mu Chapter
Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR