Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Figure of speech?


We were taught the British English in our school. Of course we were not able to catch and adapt the prep school accent, but we understood English language to the best possible capacity. In college some of us got really good grades in English literature and our lecturers were very happy. However, when my husband and myself spoke English here in New York, some people told us that our accent was cute Indian accent, some people acted like they could not understand us and some people told me that I sounded like I was from South Africa where people tried to copy Britishers but could not lose their local accent. I really could not care less about what I sounded like as long as I am not misunderstood.

Product Details

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

 I started paying attention to various kinds of figure of speech. Hence, I learned that "hanging out" meant spending time together, "chilling" means relaxing,"cool" means good or fine and "drag" means boring. It is fine with me if people want to speak in their own English and since I live in New York, being flexible helped a lot. However, there are still some terms that I rather not say in front of children, because I have heard children say words that I am sure they did not learn on their own. Aside from swears and insulting words and phrases there are phrases that are now taken for granted as "figure of speech." One such phrase is "I want to kill myself." I have heard some adults use this when they meant to say that they cannot stand the situation. Sadly, little children are now using the phrase "I want to kill myself" just because they do not want to do something unpleasant like climbing a set of stairs. I hope that this phrase does not get in any of the dictionaries, whether they are children's or adults'. I am afraid that if this phrase becomes too easy then people who have suffered from emotional problems and have contemplated suicide will not get any attention. When a young man showed resentment towards his parent's divorce and tried to kill himself he was not given any attention, he was lucky because they saved him in time. I am afraid that next time a young person may not be as lucky, he may just do the unthinkable, after saying he wants to kill himself and people thought that it was a figure of speech.


Product DetailsMobi-3G Aluminum Alloy Stretcher






22 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i sometimes catch myself saying, 'you're killing me!' as a means of expressing frustration. someone told me once not to invite that kind of energy into my life, so i try to avoid those kinds of phrases.

^.^ said...

Me too learned English the "British" way in Europe ... no conversational English, just a lot of grammar ... when I came to Canada, I didn't understand the slang, and did not speak for 2 years ... ya, just sayin ...

joeh said...

Hmmm...never thought of it. I don't think I say that...well I do say, You're killing me" from time to time but I think it is always clear it is a joke, no worse than "You're driving me crazy." I'll have to think twice about it.

yaya said...

Sometimes I say: "I just want to poke my eyes out" when I'm bored or in a situation that is very frustrating. We forget that some may misunderstand the slang. I'm always shocked when I hear teens using really foul language. The doctors I work with use the "F" word way too much. I got tired of hearing it one day and said to the doc..."I can't believe your parents sent you to college and all you learned were 4 lettered words." He apologized and really watched his language around me..made me smile..plus I didn't get fired! I grew up with many family members who had immigrated from Greece and I learned to understand an accent early.

Geo. said...

I completely agree that some expressions, repeated too often in casual conversation, can have a destructive effect on emotional health. It's a subtle effect but words have power. Words can also have a positive effect, as in life-affirming poetry or prayer, song lyrics, sincere compliments etc. Very interesting post.

Janie Junebug said...

When Favorite Young Man was about eight, he said frequently that he wanted to kill himself. He did not learn it at home, so it must have been something the kids said in school. I asked him to please stop saying it because there are people who really do kill themselves. He seemed surprise, and he stopped.

Love,
Janie

Launna said...

That is sad about him trying to kill himself... you are right though Munir, people think it is only a figure of speech when they actually might mean it...

It must be hard for people who don't speak our local language... I know it was difficult for my ex when he first came here... he is from Russia..

My only issue with anyone that comes from another country is that I don't like them getting angry at me when I don't understand them. I don't mind if they have to repeat themselves or spell it out...

I know it would be stressful if I was in another country and they didn't understand me...

I hope you are well Munir and that everything is going good for you xox

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Munir - English is so different everywhere ... even here in Sussex, or Cornwall, or London ... also some phrases we simply shouldn't say in another country as they have a different connotation .. another thing to think about.

Your English I expect is better than my English .. as you were taught it - it was covered in school .. but it's part of life .. and my understanding of English as a language isn't great.

Interesting post .. cheers Hilary

Chatty Crone said...

Just stopping by to say hello. Love the different figures of speech - it is fun when I teach them to my grandson.

Shelly said...

There are so many variances in English, and this is a good reminder to be careful of how we say things.

Romance Book Haven said...

Yes, we were also taught British English yet our accents and sayings are so different.

Granny Annie said...

Shelly said it best that this is a good reminder to be careful of how we say things. I had a brilliant co-worker who was Vietnamese and could not understand the difference in literal translations and joking.

Lexa Cain said...

Adapting to a new culture is VERY difficult. I spent years in NYC and now live in Egypt. Language is only one facet of a huge cultural gap between the west and the middle east. Don't take the unkindness of New Yorkers personally. They're a tough, impatient people. But the multi-ethnicities that live there get along better than in many smaller communities that can be less accepting of "strangers." Great post!

DMS said...

What a great post! Learning another language isn't easy and there are so many other parts to languages besides just learning the meaning of words. Slang and expressions are used all the time and make a big difference. How wonderful that you are flexible and adapt to the new terms you here. I think most of us speak foreign languages with an accent and that is fine. As a matter of fact- I think it helps people understand we may make mistakes, but we are trying. Thanks for sharing. :)
Jess

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I used to say things that I now think is not all that good to say. And sometimes it's difficult to tell if a person really means what they say or if it's just a 'figure of speech'.
Thanks for coming by my blog. Hope your week is going well. Take care!

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Munir,
You are so right about the 'English' language! Both my husband and I have studied Oxford English at school and yes, it is so different at times. Plus there also is a lot of moral decline and that very much got embedded into the modern day (?) English. I'm not following that act; no way! Till my death I will stick to the neat, polite Oxford English I learned. Sure I changed spelling to American English like travelled became traveled, mould became mold and such. That's fine with me but I will not throw the old fashioned and more courteous language over board. For the ten years that we worked in India, with Indians we always appreciated their skill of speaking the language very well and even with high courtesy and respect. If young kids learn too much from all those so-called stars from Hollywood; a lot will be lost! God forbid and as you so aptly pointed out, the true meaning of certain expressions is completely lost and with that, groups of people get neglected and misjudged.
Sending you hugs,
Mariette

Susie Swanson said...

I'm guilty of saying you're killing me. Of course i'm so country talking I could never be disguised as from anywhere else. lol Hugs and blessings, xo

Coffee Lady said...

I never say that - My mom actually did kill herself. I am sure I said it before, but those words are very meaningful to me now.

I used to nanny for a family with a little 2 year old, who would say, after she fell or hurt herself, "I'm dead". She would close her eyes and lie still. This phase lasted for almost a year. Children pick up everything they hear - the good and the bad.

Rick Watson said...

I too think we should be mindful of what we say to ourselves, so I would never consider saying something like that, especially in front of a child.
Good post.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

English is constantly changing. Every once in a while, I hear something astounding that I never heard before. Just remember, it's okay to ask the person to define what they are saying. I've had to do that occasionally.

Sherry Ellis said...

It's a challenge to learn the figures of speech in any language that is not your first language. I had some trouble with that in Germany.

The Purple Assassin. said...

Figuratively, I don't like how certain things are said, like 'go die'etc.

but then again, almost all languages have something of that sort to offer.


I like how you portray thoughts with magnificence.

Keep writing.

xx