Presentation on theme: "American Jargon and Baffling Idioms. What are some examples of language proliferation in American English ? Old Terms Personnel Director Someone who is."— Presentation transcript:
American Jargon and Baffling Idioms
What are some examples of language proliferation in American English ? Old Terms Personnel Director Someone who is in charge of Insurance Salesperson New Terms Director of Human Resources Director of Risk Management Account Manager; Service Representative
Why is American English so proliferated? Because it is full of: buzzwords, cusswords, puns, gags, show biz zingers, hyperbole, euphemisms, Latinisms, local colors, jargons, slang, and officialese. buzzwords, cusswords, puns, gags, show biz zingers, hyperbole, euphemisms, Latinisms, local colors, jargons, slang, and officialese.
What does the sentence mean: “ It is clear that America faces a communications crisis that neither Berlitz nor bytes alone can solve ” ?
What’s the meaning of the following idioms? As nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs in a room full of rocking chairs Flat as a pancake Safe as Fort Knox Old as Methuselah Funny as a rubber crutch Raining cats and dogs Flying by the seat of your pants Coming up roses
Make waves Keep a low profile Leave someone out in left field Ballpark figure Get to first base Play for all the marbles A whole new ball game Get someone into hot water
Don ’ t “ Frenchify ” your American pronunciation.
Don ’ t show off by using the Latin/Greek equivalent of English expressions, such as per se, ad hoc, quid pro quo, and a priori, unless you are in the field of religion or law. Reasons: You may misuse or overuse them. You may embarrass your non-native English-speaking associates. You may mispronounce them. You may make grammatical mistakes when using them.
Other points about “how” to say things: Tame the down-home accent and word choices. Beware of drawls and twangs. Speak at normal speed — not too fast and not too slow. Try to repeat sometimes. Respect the “ silent period ” among the Japanese during business meetings. Keep in mind that your words may be taken literally by your foreign counterpart.
Jargons Most jargons die out quickly. Using yesterday ’ s buzzword today is as fatal a career move as rolling a Hula Hoop to the office. Jargons don ’ t always come from the high-tech heritage, some low-tech words that have been around a long time and have been studied by foreigners may be a challenge for native speakers to understand.
Coast Speak A lot of idiomatic expressions in American English come from California. For example: “ share ” the life story with you “ consciousness-raising ” “ workshop ” on anything the use of the verb: take a meeting, do drugs, flow …
General Confusion in Command Jargons used in the military and the space program affect the way people use the language. “reentry” “reentry” “burnout” “burnout” “abort” “abort” “facility”—”a relief facility” “facility”—”a relief facility”
The You Nobody Knows Avoid using expletives (swear words) or slang expressions that have the four-letter words connotation (e.g. “ smart ass”) even when the business seems to be officially over. Avoid the usual ephemera such as “with it,” “go for it,” and “no way,” even “scratch the sushi."
Officialese Acronyms should be avoided. Unless everybody knows what you are shortening, the best policy is to say the words out one by one. “Found Under Carnal Knowledge” APEC—Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC—Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation OPEC—The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC—The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ILGWU ILGWU ASCAP ASCAP
Leave the Locals Local Don’t imitate your host’s accent even though it is intended as a friendly joke or compliment. Never try to get a chuckle at the expense of the national cuisine or architecture or government.
Words and Grammar Exaggeration and Euphemism can be taken literally. “fantastic” “fabulous” “disaster” “fantastic” “fabulous” “disaster” “idiot” “slave driver” “idiot” “slave driver” “powder room” “comfort station” “powder room” “comfort station” Grammar “I couldn’t read hardly a word of your contract.” “I couldn’t read hardly a word of your contract.”
Me Tarzan, You Jane Never go on to the next point until the last one is thoroughly understood. But never speak condescendingly, either. Ways of checking comprehension: “It’s a complicated subject. Did I go too fast?” “It’s a complicated subject. Did I go too fast?” “Sometimes I speak too quickly. Shall I go over that again?” “Sometimes I speak too quickly. Shall I go over that again?”
Other Languages, Other Misunderstandings Am English British English Am English British English Knickers plus fours Knickers plus fours At the end of the day Sth. will never be done At the end of the day Sth. will never be done Backlog Backlog (a list of order waiting (a hopelessly (a list of order waiting (a hopelessly to be filled) overstocked inventory) to be filled) overstocked inventory) Tabling an item at a meeting Tabling an item at a meeting (put the discussion off) have the discussion (put the discussion off) have the discussion
Am English British English Fill him in (provide him with (hit someone (provide him with (hit someone some info.) over the head) some info.) over the head) My presentation bombed. failure a great success failure a great success
In Spain: Discuss argue Discuss argue “discutir” “discutir” Support financial aid Support financial aid Embarrassed pregnant Embarrassed pregnant “Estoy embarazado” “Estoy embarazado”
In France: Demand ask Demand ask Actual present Actual present In Japan: You very rude to address someone directly You very rude to address someone directly No There is no real “no” in the Japanese lg. No There is no real “no” in the Japanese lg. “Our thinking is in parallel.” We are in disagreement. “Our thinking is in parallel.” We are in disagreement.