jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2008

LASer News 3

Idioms, phrasal verbs and slang.
Ah, how I hate them, idioms. Phrasal verbs, I loathe. And I positively despise colloquialisms (slang).
They are so very difficult to interpret!
Especially since they are phrases that are so common that the English speaker says them fairly quickly, leaving the interpreter in the dust with a big question mark hanging rather visibly on his face.
The main difficulty resides in the fact that most of idioms, phrasal verbs and slang are made up of regular words, but used figuratively. And, for the most part, these phrases are said in Spanish with completely different words. They are called "ready-made phrases" (or "frases hechas," in Spanish.)

Here are a few examples:

For idioms, how about, "it's six of one, and half a dozen of the other"? In Spanish, the idiom goes, "una de cal por una de arena." Yeah, go figure…

And don't get me started on phrasal verbs: "look up, look into, look down on, look around, look in, look ahead, look away, look after"… Need I keep going on?

Slang, I don't even want to tell you, but I will, anyway: "He's not all there" in Spanish would be, "está como ido."

As with many aspects of interpretation, these particular issues require the brute-force approach: Rote memorization of very long lists of vocabulary, and many years of practice.

Go ahead. Good luck.

DNAZ Franco

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