Sunday, October 21, 2012
I came across an amusing book, designed for children mostly, that provides an interesting trip down memory lane, to use a cliche. (I know, authors are supposed to avoid cliches). The book is called There's a Frog in my Throat . The cover itself is hilarious. The book depicts, in illustration, 440 idioms involving animals from horses to sheep to pigs. Some date back a hundred years or more--have you heard of something being 'the cat's pyjamas'? Many you will have heard of but generally idioms go in and out of favour with new ones coming along, often from movies or songs.
I have tested some of them out with elementary age children and most are unfamiliar to them yet it is something they will come across in books as well as actual conversation. Adults and children from other countries, trying to learn English, often find idioms puzzling and they are usually one of the last language elements an immigrant to this country will master (if ever). It's the idea that a group of words, usually quite improbable sounding, have a meaning that is not apparent in the phrase. Sometimes you can puzzle your way through them. To describe someone as being like A bull in a china shop surely conjures up an image of a clumsy, uncoordinated individual. What about happy as a pig in mud?
Here's a few more to test yourself on:
- She has a bee in her bonnet.
- snug as a bug in a rug
- lower than a snake's belly
- cat got your tongue?