English Language Lessons

Tips and training suggestions for learning English as a foreign language.

Are you plugged in?

Posted by englishlessons on August 18, 2007

An idiom is a group of words with a special meaning of its own that is not clear from the meanings of the individual words. Idioms are used extensively in conversations, email, presentations, newspapers, magazines, and films. If you don’t understand the idiom, you can feel left out of the conversation or presentation since the idiom is often the “point” of the sentence.

All languages have idiomatic expressions; however, idioms are used very frequently in American culture, especially American business culture. You can learn idioms over time after immersion in a culture, but it can really speed things up to have a systematic approach. Once you become more aware of idiomatic expressions, you will notice them more easily in conversations and newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, which is an excellent source for idioms.

Our approach to teaching idioms also helps improve listening comprehension and pronunciation in English. We present the idioms in the context of a story or dialog. This helps you to hear the idioms in a more natural setting. Audio tracks for each page include four different native speaker models. Then we have a page devoted to each idiom. This page presents the definition and examples of how the idiom can be used in a sentence. We also show how the concepts we teach in the Pronunciation In English program apply to idioms. The pronunciation notes demonstrate how stress, intonation, focus words, reduction and linking apply to each idiom. Idioms in English reinforces all of the concepts presented in the pronunciation program in a new context.

Every idioms page is followed by a scored dictation practice and a focus word exercise, both of which help build listening comprehension. At the end of every chapter is another scored dictation exercise. Once you learn all the idioms, you can check your knowledge with the final exam at the end of the program. It is a lot of fun to spot idioms you’ve learned in everyday conversations, in the newspapers, and in movies. Learning about idioms in English will help you become more fluent in the language as it used every day by native speakers.

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