Archive for the 'Idiomatic Expressions' Category

Do you have to leave so soon?

Absolutely not!

What comes after first ? ….

Just click … listen once, listen twice … and write it !

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Answers to the Listening Bee: October 8, 2010

1.

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2. “

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3.

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4.

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5. 

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You’re the Top

by Cole Porter – for “Anything Goes” (1934) and here’s the story, with audio recordings, from NPR.

as well as a link to the lyrics!

Enjoy it.

“Love – 15”

It’s simply a score!  … A tennis score, silly !

The French, who have a reputation, deservedly or not, in these matters: love or tennis, you choose … just do it … and (whisper?) talk about it.

They say, a little upset for one and self-satisfied for the other,  “Zéro-quinze” and then after the next ball is served, it can be “quinze-quinze” or “Zéro-trente” … followed by “Zéro-quarante” and if the non-serving player scores the next point it’s …

“Jeu.” Game over. No Love. Just a game. On to the next one … A set. Two sets. Match point. Match.

Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, tend to be much more emotional. We start with “Love” and then the 15s and the thirties and the forties until … someone gallantly says …

“You won!” And then? Well, the next game begins with … “Love”, doesn’t it ? Two winners.

Of course, the British started by playing on … green grass. Lawn tennis. Like love, a little unpredictable as to where the ball bounces.

Fate? Destiny? as in Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Match Point.”

My uncle D. used to say ….

“When you want something done … get a busy guy or gal to do it …”

(Careful … Google can’t translate everything!)

“The bottom line” and “at the end of the day”

“The bottom line,” said Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chief of pulmonology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital, “is there’s no longterm health effect from volcanic ash.”

(see the article on the vocabulary of green, too)

and at the end of the day …

“I can’t help it…”

Now if this were … “I can’t help you” or “I can’t help him” or “I can’t help them”… it would be easily translatable.

In French, for example, we’d say literally: “Désolé, je ne peux pas vous aider” ou “Je ne peux pas t’aider … dans le sens de “Je ne peux pas te donner un coup de main” , “Je ne peux pas te dépanner … ” “Je ne peux pas vous être utile…” ou même “Mon cher ami, si vous saviez …” … etcetera.

But the “it” … changes everything! Unless you’re talking about Minerva,  your pet cat, or Tolleston, your pet dog …  for example …,

“I can’t help it” is what someone says when they’re doing something compulsively. Indulging in something. Having an uncontrolled reaction. Cleptomania, for example … just picking up something that doesn’t belong to them.  Maybe having … one more drink.

Just listen: 

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In French, we might now translate this as:

“Je n’y peux rien…” ou “Je ne peux pas m’empêcher …” ou “C’est plus fort que moi …”

Apparently, it’s said on both sides of the Atlantic. As much by women as by men?

Why did I put this little thing in here today?

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