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Idioms with Arab students

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Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:41 am    Post subject: Idioms with Arab students Reply with quote

Topic : introducing idioms in an Intermediate to upper-Intermediate class of Arabic speakers
Problem: explanation of "what is an idiom?"
Explanation: You tell the class that an idiom is a word or several words that don't mean exactly what they seem to mean, found in every language. Like having a guest to your house for dinner and saying "help yourself", which to a native English speaker means "I regard you as one of my family", and which may mean to the culturally-different speaker "He/She has no regard for me. "
Here is what I use to explain the concept of idioms:
I ask them "what does 'shlonek?' mean?" (pretty good transliteration) This is a word used primarily in Iraq/Syria/points north of the Gulf, but they all understand it.
The students respond, invariably, "It means 'How are you'?"
I say, "I'm not so sure. I think it means "What is your color?", doesn't it?"(thereby reinforcing tag questions)
They think, and inevitably respond, with aha! looks on faces, yes it does.
Then I say "So, if someone asks me "Shlonek?", what do I say? "Blue?" "Green?" "I feel a little bit red today"?
And they get it and they laugh and we proceed with English idioms, the concept of which is now understood. It's always a happy moment!

This is one of those posts offered just in case anyone might find the idea useful.

Regards to all...and please give me any teaching tips you may have discovered for Arabic-speaking learners? Thanks very much!
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