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- The English Language
Idioms Dance on Paper
The pot calling the kettle black, bear with a sore head, off the beaten track, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and lots more.
These are probably some of the minutest of the more graphic idioms in English, a language that is enlightened by its idiomatic expressions. Because of the idioms the language dances on the page and in speech, it stimulates and scintillates the mind and the being of oneself.
Every day we use idioms and expressions without realizing as we dabble in ballyhoos that are not necessarily in line with grammar or proper sentence construction.
These linguistic gems become part of our speech, conversation, dialogue and the way we interact with one another. We add color to the language when we use them without ever realizing it because they are colorful, vibrant and didactic.
Some expressions have hovered in my head since I can remember, and no doubt in yours as well. However, the other day I came across one of the editions of a Concise Dictionary of English Idioms by B.A Phythian in the Teach Yourself Series, and couldn't put it down. It was a constant drool over what must be thousands upon thousands of idioms
Skimming through the pages is a historical rediscovery. It is indeed stark realization that English is made up of idioms, expressions and figures of speech, connected together to produce a "linguistic chain reaction" to express a living language we take for granted.
It turned out that I have long lost favorites I can't possibly put down simply because they are so many like Achilles heel for instance, or age before beauty, which my former landlady used to tell me when I passed her up the stairs.
Damn all is interesting meaning nothing, complemented by not all there which means crazy while keep up appearances or the apple's of one's eye actually makes one think.
Backstairs gossip, a bad egg, a bag of bones, backhanded compliment, not to bat an eyelid and a pitched battle is actually what makes English not nice as such but pleasing to the ear and sound.
Jump on the bandwagon, spill the beans, beat about the bush, beauty is only skin deep, birds of a feather flock together, lick the dust, and wearing one's birthday suit have long added richness to the language.
I haven't even started but the list goes on and on and on. It’s a never ending story, a bit like opening up a can of worms but this one is of delight.