Idioms in the English language: why we should learn them
Idioms are everywhere: we encounter them when we write or speak English. How important is it to learn them and how often can we meet them in spoken English? How many should we know? How to understand and memorize them? Idioms might be confusing for language learners. But it’s not as bad as it might seem.
First of all, you definitely know or have heard a lot of them, because we often face idioms in everyday speech. For example, «break the ice» or «not my cup of tea». On the bright side, you don’t have to learn them all. But anyway, it’s a good idea to remember a few, as they reflect the unique peculiarities of the language, they help understand cultural characteristics. There’re a few more reasons for learning English idioms:
- expand vocabulary;
- diversify your speech;
- understand native speakers better;
- immerse yourself deeper in the culture and traditions;
- start thinking as a native speaker.
How to learn idioms in English
The biggest problem for learners who study idioms in English is translation. If you translate idioms word-for-word, you may get puzzled even more. Idioms — are fixed phrases, so one should perceive them as a whole and in the context, without trying to translate. Here are some simple ways to learn idioms:
Learn idioms in English by topics
Structure information, systematize knowledge and create associations between idiomatic expressions become easier. For instance, on Booyya, first, you can figure out travelling idioms, then money ones etc.
Try to find equivalents in a native tongue
Many English idioms have similar equivalents in other languages, or the same source of origin, for example, the Bible. One may understand cultural similarities and differences by comparing them. For example, «dark horse» is the equivalent of «темная лошадка», and «black sheep» — «белая ворона».
Look for associations
In this way, it will be easier for you to create an image and an association for memorizing.
Check the origin
Many idioms have no logic at first glimpse — try learning their history, and figure out the origin.
The best advice — is to apply idioms in practice. For starters, you may learn in what kind of context they are used the most often, then, start using them in your everyday speech, and messages step by step.
What are idioms in the English language?
Idioms or idiomatic expressions in the English language — are fixed phrases, for which word-for-word translation is unacceptable in order not to lose the meaning. They are used as a whole and can`t be split. They are unique for every language, that’s why, they not always can be understood or seem logical for native speakers of other languages. One idiom may be used in absolutely different situations due to the context.
What English idioms are necessary to know?
Firstly, you should accept the fact that you won’t be able to memorize all idioms. Many of them are already obsolete, besides, new phrases are constantly being added to the modern language. First, acquire the most popular ones, and those, which you will use more often in everyday speech: at work, at school etc. A lot of idioms you probably had already known before you started learning the language, that’s why it makes no sense to count a necessary amount of them.
How to use English language idioms?
As it was mentioned above, the easiest way to remember an idiom — is to apply it in practice. For instance, in mini-courses Booyya, learning was created due to the practical use: dialogues with idioms, explanations, pictures. They are grouped by topics, there`s shown the use in the context and real-life examples.