Sunday, October 18, 2015


I think about how difficult it is for a non native English speaker to learn the idioms of our culture. Once, many years ago, I was asked to tutor an 18-year-old Korean young man in English. His family owned a local restaurant, and he had just come from Korea. He was attending public school, and they were reading the book Rumble Fish by S. E. Hinton, which was full of idioms and colloquialisms... so much slang. He absolutely couldn't read the book even with my help because his English was so limited and he couldn't get any of the meanings of those phrases. The big picture couldn't be seen because of stumbling all the time over them. I ended up reading the book, chapter by chapter, and telling him the story.

I really enjoyed working with this young man, and I felt that his ESL teacher was out of his/her mind for having these students try to read this particular book!

This particular idiom might be a little easier to explain to someone...

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