Street Talk 3
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Preface To the outsider, idioms seem like a confusing “secret” code reserved only for the native speaker of English. Idioms are certainly tricky beasts because it is the sum of all the words in the phrase which must be interpreted, not each word by itself. In other words, the listener must never confuse the literal translation of an idiom with the underlying meaning of what is really being expressed or symbolized. If you are told “Get me a pizza…and step on it!” you are not being instructed to go trample on a round piece of cheesy bread. You are simply being told to hurry, since “step on it” refers to “pressing down on” the accelerator of a car. In addition, a common idiom such as “to bend over backwards” has nothing to do with acrobatics or flexibility. It’s simply a colorful way of conveying that someone has to expend a great deal of effort in order to do something. example: I bent over backwards trying to help Richard translation: I exerted a great deal of effort trying to help Richard In short, idioms are simply an imaginative and expressive way to communicate an idea or thought. In order to be considered proficient in English, idioms must be learned since they are consistently used in books, magazines, television, movies, songs, American homes, etc. For the non-native speaker, learning the information in Street Talk 3 will equal years of living in America and reduce the time it takes to absorb the intricacies of slang and colloquialisms. For the American, you’re in for a treat as we explore the evolution and variations of some of the most common and hilarious idiomatic expressions that have been with us, and will stay with us through the years. Street Talk-3 is a self teaching guide made up of fourteen chapters, each divided into four primary parts: Dialogue: Ten popular American idioms (indicated in boldface) are presented as they may be heard in an actual conversation. A translation of the dialogue in standard English is always given on the opposite page followed by an important phonetic version of the dialogue as it would actually be spoken by an America. This page will prove vital to any non-native since, as previously demonstrated, Americans tend to rely heavily on contractions and shortcuts in pronunciation. Vocabulary: This section spotlights all of the slang words and expressions that were used in the dialogue and offers two examples of usage for each entry, including synonyms, antonyms, and special notes. Practice the Vocabulary: These word games include all of the new terms and idioms previously learned and will help you to test yourself on your comprehension. (The pages providing the answers to all the drills are indicated at the beginning of this section.) Dictation (Test your oral comprehension): Using an optional audio cassette (see coupon on back page), the student will hear a paragraph containing many of the idioms from the opening dialogues. The paragraph will be read as it would actually be heard in a conversation, using frequently contractions and reductions. Note: Some chapters offer a special section where the reader will be given an up close look at common idioms pertaining to a specific category such as alliterations, repeating words, proverbs, and survival idioms.
At the end of each five chapters is a review exam encompassing all of the words and expressions learned up to that point. If you have always prided yourself on being fluent in English, you will undoubtedly be surprised and amused to encounter a whole new world of phrases usually hidden away in the American-English language and usually reserved only for the native speaker…until now! David Burke Author