Sunday, December 10, 2017

Idioms for Fabric and Other Materials

`That steak is as tough as shoe leather!`

Words for various materials used in clothing have been applied to various descriptive terms and idiomatic expressions, including those described below.

Cotton-picking is a euphemism to express anger or frustration. 

To cotton to something is to take a liking to it or to come to an understanding of it (the phrasing can also be “cotton on to”), and to cotton up to someone is to flatter. 

Meanwhile, to be in high or tall cotton is to be successful (from the notion of a cotton planter walking among large plants).

Dyed-in-the-wool is an adjective meaning “set in one’s ways,” from the practice of dying wool fibers before they are spun into thread so that the dye is more durable. 

To pull the wool over someone’s eyes (a reference to a wig made of wool) is to deceive them, 

To wrap them up in cotton wool is to be overprotective (with the connotation of swaddling someone as if they were a baby), and to live in cotton wool is to live a protected life. 

To woolgather, meanwhile, is to daydream; the idiom stems from the seemingly aimless act of collecting bits of wool on bushes and fences.

“All wool and a yard wide” and “all wool and no shoddy” both denote an honorable person or something of high quality. 

Various other expressions including wool, including “all cry and no wool” “great cry and little wool,” and “more cry than wool,” allude to much attention given to something of little significance.

“Go hell for leather” or “go hell-bent for leather” means “act quickly” or “act recklessly.” (The leather in question originally referred to a saddle, with the notion of riding a horse quickly or recklessly.)

 “Tough as (shoe) leather” refers figuratively to physical fortitude or literally to something resembling leather, as a cut of meat. 

Leathery may describe something akin to leather in appearance or texture, as to skin roughened by exposure to the elements, 

and someone who is leather lunged has a very loud or strong voice, while the phrase “as ever trod shoe leather” is a more colorful way of saying “as ever lived” or “as ever walked the earth” following a compliment (or denigrating remark) in order to intensify it.

Lacy describes something resembling lace, such as a dew-drenched spider web or a delicate coating. 

To lace is not only to thread or trim but also to add a color, flavor, or other quality to something or otherwise enhance it.

Silky describes fluid or smooth movement or texture, and “smooth as silk” describes something or someone delicate in demeanor or texture.

The expression “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” means that something refined cannot be produced from rough materials, 

while “silk-stocking district” connotes an affluent neighborhood, from the fact that at one time, only the wealthy could afford such items. 

To hit the silk, meanwhile, is to parachute from an airplane (an allusion to the material used for the parachute). 

Satiny also suggests smoothness.

Meanwhile, the smooth, plush texture of velvet, which is made of one of several fabrics, is suggested with the adjective velvety.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Intensive and Extensive...2 Types of Reading

Intensive and Extensive: 2 Ways of Reading That Power Language Learning

Intensive and extensive reading, named after a detailed study by Harold Palmer, are two distinct methods of reading. Both are useful for learning a second language.

What Intensive Reading Is
Intensive reading is just what the name implies!

It’s reading where testing, evaluating and increasing knowledge is the primary focus. Understanding the literal meaning of what’s being read is vital. Reading intensively often includes note-taking and attention to details.

In intensive reading, there’s an emphasis on deconstructing sentences to understand grammar and syntax rules as well as to extricate the details of the topic. It can also involve reading comprehension testing, such as finding answers to specific questions.

Some possible examples of intensive reading material are reports, contracts, news articles, blog posts and short pieces of text such as short stories.

What Extensive Reading Is
Extensive reading is a completely different sort of approach.

Know how it feels when you’re doing something simply for the joy of doing it? Like riding a bicycle or dancing, when you know it won’t matter if you don’t get the gears shifted perfectly or your dance steps don’t hit every downbeat?

Extensive reading is like that. It’s reading for fun. And it’s doing it as often as possible.

Fluency and total comprehension aren’t necessary for extensive reading. It’s great to read at or, even better, below a comfortable level of understanding. Most of the time, an unfamiliar word can be deciphered by the surrounding text and if not, that’s fine, too. It’s not vital to understand every single word in order to get the general idea of a particular passage.

It’s generally accepted that 90-95% of the words should be familiar in order to read comfortably in a foreign language. And most of us can get along pretty well even without having all that vocabulary in our toolboxes. Guessing, especially when reading extensively, does work.

The idea behind extensive reading is that increased exposure leads to stronger language skills. Think of the vocabulary you’re being exposed to when you read a lot. And seeing the structure, idioms and cadence of a language leads to familiarity, which leads to reading competence.

Think about dancing again. The more you dance, the better you get. Reading extensively is just like that—but without the tight shoes!

Possible examples of extensive reading material are magazines, graded readers, novels and, yes, even comic books!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

English Expressions, Derivatives and Idioms with 'Cross'

Cross, a word with a great variety of meanings, is also at the head of an extensive family of words, some of which are listed and defined in this post.

Cross made its way into English circuitously from the Latin word crux, with stops in Old Irish and Old Norse. It originally referred to a post with a crossbeam on which condemned prisoners were hung to be executed. By its association with the execution of Jesus in such circumstances, it became a symbol of Christianity, not only as a t-shaped object but also as a series of gestures that collectively suggest the shape of the cross and are intended to convey an appeal to Jesus Christ for a blessing.

Capitalized, the word refers to the specific cross on which the execution took place; in this way, it is also a metonym for the Christian religion. (A metonym is a figure of speech in which a detail associated with an entity or an idea represents the entire entity or idea.) Metaphorically, in the phrase “cross to bear,” the word also suggests a personal trial, evoking the story that Jesus was forced to drag his cross over his shoulder to the site of his execution.

Cross also refers to any similarly shaped object or sign or to an x used as a signature. The word also denotes an act of hybridizing, or crossbreeding, living things or an animal that is a result of hybridization, as well as an intersection, a boxing punch, or a diagonal or lateral pass in soccer or any similar activity, as in a movement onstage during a theatrical performance. The word also pertains to an opposing or thwarting of an intention or to a dishonest or fraudulent contest or practice.

Verb and adjectival forms apply to these definitions as well, and the adjective across means “over,” “through,” or “on the opposite side of,” as well as “throughout,” and pertains to intersecting or passing through at an angle. (Across is also an adverb, as in “Walk across the field.”)

A crusade was originally a military expedition undertaken to assert political and religious control over the region of the Middle East associated with early Christianity; the series of such efforts that occurred during the Middle Ages is referred to as the Crusades. By extension, a crusade is any enthusiastic enterprise.
The noun crucifixion, as well as the verb crucify, refers to execution on a cross; the verb also refers metaphorically to ridiculing, scorning, or tormenting someone in the public arena.

Cruciform means “cross shaped,” a crucifer is a person who carries a cross in a religious procession or one of a family of edible plants (and a crozier is a symbolic shepherd’s crook carried by certain Christian clerics); cruciferous describes a specimen in the latter category. A cruciverbalist, meanwhile, is a preparer of crossword puzzles.

Other words stemming from crux include the use of the Latin term in English to refer to a difficult or unsolved problem or an essential point or main feature; the resulting adjective crucial means “decisive” or “significant,” and excruciating is an adjective meaning “agonizing” or “extreme” and refers usually to pain but sometimes to psychologically uncomfortable situations or to unpleasant emotions such as boredom.

As seen in a couple examples above, cross is also employed as the first element in a compound word. Other examples include crosswalk and crosswind; most of these are treated as closed compounds, but there are exceptions, including cross-eye and cross-stitch. Occasionally, cross is the second element, as in double-cross.
Crucible appears to be related but is not; it derives from the Latin term crucibulum, referring to an earthen pot in which metals are melted. That function, and perhaps the resemblance to words stemming from crux that begin with the element cruc-, led to the connotation of a test or trial or a situation in which significant change occurs.


Expressions and Idioms with ‘cross’

Cross as a bear... as angry as a bear
John gets as cross as a bear when a driver cuts in front of his car

When path’s cross... when paths or situations meet
When George and Lorraine crossed paths, they seemed to be always arguing but eventually they fell in love and got married.

Cross to bear...A difficult responsibility or burden that someone must handle on their own.
When Nancy's husband passed away, she was left with quite a cross to bear having to raise four children on her own.

Across... on the other side.
“Can you tell me where the hospital is?”
“Sure. It is across the road and two blocks down.”

Across the pond...across the Atlantic ocean
“When are you going ‘across the pond’, Michael?”
“I start at Cambridge on September 7th.”

Cross my heart...promise or swear that what you say is true. The full expression is “cross my heart and hope to die” (if what I tell you isn’t true).
Mary said, “I was up in the attic in my grandmother’s old house and I swear I heard a ghost call my name. It’s true! Cross my heart!”

Cross off... to complete something.
Bill was happy when he finished painting his bedroom. It was one job he could cross off his list of chores.

Cross change an answer on an exam.
After thinking about it, Sarah crossed out her answer and chose c) rather than a).

Cross purposes...working against each other.
Ralph and Jose realized that if they did not row the boat together, they would be working at cross purposes and wouldn’t get anywhere.

 Cross your fingers... hope something will or will not happen.
Betty had never cooked a roast before. She put it in the oven and crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t burn their dinner.

Cross your mind... get a sudden thought or come to mind.
She was about to get on the train when the thought crossed her mind that flying would get her home faster.

Even though he could have stolen the candy, he was an honest person and the thought never even
crossed his mind.

Cross that bridge... to think about something later. The full expression is ‘to cross that bridge (or cross that hurdle) when one gets to it.
I know I will have to decide if I want to be a doctor like my dad or a journalist like my mom  but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to college.

Cross-eyed...when a person’s eyes are closer together than most people.
I’ve been staring at the test so long that I am getting cross-eyed!

Cross go against someone's wishes or what you promised to do or say.
Marty said he would back up what I said but when the police asked him what happened, he crossed me up and told a completely different story.

 Cross-stitch...  is a form of sewing and a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches are used.
My grandmother can sit and cross-stitch all day long. She loves it and makes beautiful patterns.

Cross the Rubicon... to commit to a plan or course of action. It comes from more than 2000 years ago when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and became embroiled in civil war in 49 BCE.
Don’t put something on your resume that isn’t true. That is crossing the Rubicon. If you get hired and they find out, you will be in big trouble. Employers will be wary of what you say in the future. Don’t do it!

Cross your ‘t’s... The full expression is  dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s. It means to be sure you have done everything you need to do correctly.
The teacher warned her class to be sure to ‘to dot their ‘i’s and cross their ‘t’s on the exam.

Cross with... to be angry or upset with someone or something.
I think mum is a bit cross with me because I forgot to take out the garbage three weeks in a row.

“I want to teach adults.”

Many people who would like to teach overseas think they would prefer to teach adults. However, the reality of the situation is that most people end up teaching in a regular school and teaching either elementary or secondary students. They may still teach adults but this is usually evenings and weekends.

We always recommend getting a TEFL or TESOL qualification first and then possibly a TEFLA Certificate later. TEFL and TESOL are broader-based and most schools are looking for either of these. TEFLA is a great course for teaching adults but it is a completely different course.

Go to our website and check out what you will learn with each course. This month, each or our teacher-training courses is being offered at tuition of $300 USD. There are no other costs.