What are Idioms and Slang?
They Are The Secret American Language
Idioms are phrases that make no sense when literally translated word-for-word. Idioms bewilder
non-English speaking people, but they make sense between Americans.
For example, the phrase: “throw for a loop”: you can translate it, but it will make no sense. It
means to confound. One is “thrown for a loop” as if slipping on a banana peel and falling backward.
It illustrates that something said or seen is incomprehensible; thus, it throws you for a loop.
Idioms provide a type of “shorthand” to replace a lengthy explanation; idioms create a “mental
picture” and add some regional whimsy to our conversations.
Slang are words not found in a dictionary or, if they are, have an alternate meaning. If I say “snort,”
you might think of a squealing pig, but it also means a gulp of whisky or inhaling powder cocaine.
American slang has many regional variations: Yankees in Boston, for example, have slang words
that are different from those in the South or people in the Western states.
Casual Speech is not idioms nor slang but express an intention, such as “up to it,” meaning
“ready to participate.” (“I’m not up to going to school today.”)
Idioms are different from adages, proverbs, “old saws,” or aphorisms such as: “An apple a
day, keeps the doctor away.” (Refer to Ben Franklin’s book Poor Richard’s Almanac” for further examples.)
Command of idiom usage will help foreign speakers grasp the peculiarities of the American English language. are words not found in a dictionary or if they are, have an alternate meaning. Search many modern slang examples.
Idiom phrases and slang words origin
Imagine the English language like a large snowball rolling across the countryside. It starts with German and Latin bones, gets fleshed out from centuries of old English and suddenly jumps over to America. Its momentum picks up ethnic words and cultural phrases creating a deep and varied vocabulary It rolls across the vast United States picking up momentum from immigrants mangling words and adding phrases. Grows fat from regional dialects and never stops. Today new slang and casual speech springs from each nook and cranny of the nation, broadened even more by tech innovations and the world wide web.
American English keeps evolving and expanding as does our ongoing quest to keep current. Everyday idiom sentences and modern slang expressions offer a list of playful examples for students and adults.
Idiomatic expressions are useful to:
- ESL (English as a Second Language) students
- Foreign travel agent escorting groups to America.
- Young students
- Foreign business people conducting business with American companies.
- Literary translators
- Foreign travelers who plan to visit America.
- Foreign students coming to America to study.
- Conversational English classes.
- ESL Professionals