Обучение идиомам английского языка студентов экономических специальностей и направлений

доцент кафедры “Иностранные языки”

“МАТИ” – РГТУ им. К.Э. Циолковского

Язык – совокупность всех слов народа и верное их сочетанье для передачи мыслей своих./В.И. Даль/

Язык – всякая система знаков, пригодная для того, чтобы служить средством общения между индивидами./Ж. Марузо/

Язык – исторически сложившаяся система звуковых, словарных и грамматических средств, объективирующая работу мышления и являющаяся орудием общения, обмена мыслями и взаимного понимания людей в обществе.

/С.И. Ожегов/

Вышеприведенные определения являются подтверждением того, что язык – это, прежде всего, средство общения, средство выражения мыслей, то есть язык служит коммуникации. “Язык является коммуникативным процессом в чистом виде в каждом известном нам обществе”.

Научно-технический прогресс и усилия разумной и миролюбивой части человечества открывают все новые возможности, виды и формы общения, главным условием эффективности которых является взаимопонимание, диалог культур, терпимость и уважение к культуре партнеров по коммуникации. Безумные скачки политики, экономики, культуры, идеологии, смешение и перемещение народов и языков, изменение отношений между русскими и иностранцами требуют коренного пересмотра методов и приемов в преподавании иностранных языков, немедленного обучения иностранным языкам как орудию производства. Иностранные языки, и в первую очередь английский, требуются для использования в разных сферах жизни общества в качестве средства реального общения с людьми из других стран. Английский все больше становится международным языком бизнеса, науки. Он доминирует в Интернете. Его все чаще называют “глобальным языком”, своего рода lingua franca. Очевидно, что доминирование английского языка неизбежно будет иметь далеко идущие экономические, культурные и даже геополитические последствия.

Итак, основная задача преподавания иностранных языков – это обучение языку как реальному и полноценному средству общения. В настоящее время именно поэтому на уровне высшей школы обучение иностранному языку как средству общения между специалистами разных стран мы понимаем не как чисто прикладную и узкоспециальную задачу, а как фундаментальную и разностороннюю подготовку к языку. Соответственно, иностранный язык специалиста такого рода – орудие производства и часть культуры.

Знание иностранных языков, высокий уровень общей культуры и культуры общения в частности – необходимый атрибут имиджа современного бизнесмена. Он помогает быстрее завоевать расположение и доверие партнера, наладить и деловые, и личные контакты с ним.

Знать одни слова недостаточно, так как при описании необходимо сравнивать и отличать, высказывать свое субъективное мнение, а также читать подобные описания в журналах и газетах, в художественной литературе. В этих описаниях часто встречаются идиоматические выражения.

В этой связи считаем уместным введение в программу дисциплины “Иностранный язык” студентов экономических специальностей и направлений изучение наиболее употребительных идиом в примерном контекстном окружении, что позволит использовать их в подобных ситуациях самостоятельно. С этой целью рассмотрим примерный перечень идиом, их объяснение и оригинальные примеры.

make a killing-

make a big profit quickly

make ends meet -

pay for necessities

get off the ground -

start to be successful

1

DOT.COM SUCCESS

Two young entrepreneurs, who started a new
Internet business two years ago, have today sold the business for    3 million.

Jenny Curtis, co-founder of Slimmm.com, says, ‘Everyone thinks we’ve made a killing, but it was hard work. For the first 18 months we couldn’t make ends meet – I couldn’t even buy a new pair of socks! When the business finally got off the ground, we worked 18 hours a day for six months.’

off the cuff -

without preparation

think on your feet -

think as you go along

make up your mind -

make a definite decision

2

Interviewers always ask difficult questions that nobody could possibly answer off the cuff. So it’s important to be prepared for them. But you can’t prepare for everything, so sometimes you just have to think on your feet. Don’t worry if you make a few mistakes. Just remember what the psychologists tell us: most interviewers make up their minds in the first 30 seconds anyway.

in the red/black -

in debt/credit

feel the pinch -

begin to feel poor

on a shoestring -

with little money to spend

3

B.I.G. IN THE RED

Profits are down this year for the multinational B.I.G. Co, and figures show the company is in the red. B.I.G.’s chief executive says, ‘A slowdown in the world economy means that a lot of companies are feeling the pinch. Many are cutting their expenses and trying to operate on a shoestring, but we’re big enough to keep going normally, and we’ll be back in the black next year.’

below the belt -

unfair and cruel

sit on the fence -

be neutral

mind your business -

this is private

4

We often use idioms when we react to bad things. For example, ‘That’s below the belt‘ means someone has said something unfair and cruel in an argument. Idioms can also show that a speaker does not like something: ‘Bob’s sitting on the fence‘ means Bob is refusing to give an opinion, which is not necessarily bad, but the speaker thinks it is. Some idioms are direct and impolite, such as ‘Mind your own business!’ which means ‘This is private. Keep your nose out of it.’

cut corners -

do incomplete work

around the clock -

for 24 hours a day

pull strings -

use influential friends

turn a blind eye -

ignore it

5

Your employer says you must finish some work by tomorrow. Is it OK to cut corners, or would you work around the clock to do the work properly?

What would you do if somebody offered to pull strings to help you get into a good university or to get a good job?

What if a friend of yours commits a crime? Would you tell the police or turn a blind eye?

break the ice -

create a relaxed atmosphere

fall flat -

fail

split their sides -

laughed uncontrollably

6

I was working as a tour guide and I was having a difficult time with a group of elderly ladies. None of my attempts to break the ice were working, and all my usual jokes were falling flat. I didn’t know what to do to cheer them up.

A bit later I was getting out of the bus and I tripped and fell and tore my trousers. The ladies almost split their sides … and after that, everything was fine!

that’ll be the day-

it would be very surprising

on the cards-

likely

safe bet-

almost certain

touch and go-

unsure

7

Who is most optimistic? Who is most pessimistic?

CHRIS: I think we might get a good pay rise this year.

SAM: That’ll be the day!

TOM: I think it’s on the cards.

HELEN: I think it’s a safe bet. The company’s made a big profit this year.

KATE: You’re right, but it’s still touch and go whether they’ll share it with us.

tie the knot-

get married

take some doing-

not be easy

slip your mind-

forget

8

A woman was having dinner with a friend and her husband, when she noticed that her friend always called her husband loving names like Honey, Darling, Sweetheart etc. While her husband was out of the room, the woman said, ‘It’s 70 years since you two tied the knot but you still call him those pet names. That’s wonderful. It must take some doing to keep romance alive for so long.’ Her friend answered, ‘The truth is that his name slipped my mind about ten years ago.’

golden rule-

important rule

get the hang of-

learn how to do/use something

just like that-

quickly and easily

9

A golden rule of pronunciation is: use word stress correctly.

You probably know that one part of a word is ‘stressed’ (=stronger than the other parts), for example: PHOtograph, phoTOgrapher, photoGRAPHic.

Listen for the stress in words. Then you’ll get the hang of word stress and be able to use it more. If you can do this, your pronunciation will improve just like that.

make head not tail of-

understand

from scratch-

from the beginning

have a go-

have a try

10

Learners of English sometimes say, ‘I don’t listen to English on the radio because it’s too fast and I can’t make head nor tail of it.

But think about that. When you were a few months old, learning your own language from scratch, did you understand it all? No! But you listened and learned. Then you learned to speak and read and write. But listening came first. So even if you don’t feel confident, have a go at it.

cut no ice-

have no influence

carry weight-

have influence

take to heart-

consider seriously

11

Statistics prove that flying is a very safe method of transport, but this cut no ice with Jean Fellows, 60, and nobody could persuade her to try to overcome her lifelong fear. That was until her seven-year-old granddaughter told her to be brave and try. It is unusual for the words of a child to carry more weight than those of adults, but Jean took them to heart and finally bought an air ticket. ‘It wasn’t as bad as I thought,’ she said after the flight.

two-timing-

deceiving, being unfaithful

put your foot in it-

unintentionally upset someone

kick yourself-

feel angry with yourself

12

In the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant meets an old friend, and asks him, ‘How are you, and how’s your girlfriend?’

The man replies, ‘She’s not my girlfriend any more.’

‘That’s good,’ says Grant, ‘You probably didn’t know, but she was two-timing you with someone else.’

The man looks deeply shocked and says, ‘She’s my wife now.’

Hugh Grant realises he has put his foot in it, and he kicks himself for being so stupid.

That would be telling-

it’s a secret

spill the beans-

reveal a secret

let the cat out of the bag-

give secret information too early

13

A friend has just told you a secret. Then someone asks, ‘What were you two talking about?’ Do you …

(a)     smile and just say mysteriously, ‘That would be telling’?

or

(b)    spill the beans?

Your friends are planning a surprise party for someone. Do you …

(a)   keep your mouth shut until the party?

or

(b)  let the cat out of the bag the day before?

pull someone’s leg-

teasing me

have someone on-

say something untrue (for fun)

pull the other one-

I don’t believe you

14

SAM: Hello?

TOM: Sam! Help me!

SAM: What’s the matter, Tom?

TOM: I’m hanging from this rock by one hand. I can’t hold on much longer. Call the rescue service quickly!

SAM: Very funny, Tom. Why are you always pulling my leg?

TOM: Sam! I’m not having you on. It’s true! Honestly!

SAM: Pull the other one, Tom!

to say the least-

very much

get it straight-

be clear about it

on Earth-

I can’t imagine

15

Have you heard this joke?

A: My ears got burnt!

B: How?

A: I was ironing when the phone rang. Instead of picking up the phone I picked up the iron.

B: That must’ve hurt!

A: To say the least.

B: Let’s get this straight: you said you burnt both ears. Right?

A: Yes.

B: How on Earth did you burn the other ear?

A: The person called again.

pick up the tab-

pay the total

go Dutch-

share costs on a date

play it by ear-

not follow a plan

16

On a first date, who should pay for meals, drinks, tickets etc.? In the old days, the man would pick up the tab, but nowadays nobody is quite sure. Will the woman think he’s a dinosaur if he pays? Or will she think he’s mean if he doesn’t? Will the man be grateful if the woman suggests they go Dutch or will he be insulted? There’s no right answer. You just have to play it by ear. Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings and you’ll probably get it right.

big fish -

important people

on board -

actively involved

mind’s eye -

imagination

17

When Herman came to Britain to work, he spoke good English but did not know many idioms. One day at work someone said, ‘Don’t disturb the manager. She’s meeting some big fish from New York.’

‘Big fish?’ Herman asked.

‘Yes, she’s got a new project and she wants to get them on board.’

As Herman reached for his dictionary of English idioms, an extraordinary picture formed in his mind’s eye.

Последний из вышеприведенных примеров, с встречающимся в нем идиоматическим выражением “big fish”, подтверждает необходимость изучения студентами идиом, чтобы в будущем у них не возникало ситуации, когда “an extraordinary picture formed in his mind’s eye”, причиной которой послужило простое незнание достаточно распространенной фразеологической единицы. Однако важно своевременно предупредить студентов, что увлекаться  фразеологическими выражениями, по крайней мере, до тех пор, пока не будет уверенности, что они полностью “прочувствованы”, не следует. Иначе можно попасть впросак, перепутав или смысл, или связанные со словом ассоциации, или допустив совсем ненужную вам иронию.

И в заключение – цитата: “Идиомы можно уподобить специям, которые добавляют в кушанье осторожно, щепоткой, на кончике ножа…”

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