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Tapping Your Experience Like A Sugar Maple - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Tapping Your Experience Like A Sugar Maple [Oct. 14th, 2007|11:17 pm]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Have any of you taught conversational ESL? If so, can you provide any tips?

I have a new client who is Korean. He speaks English quite well, but feels he has no grounding in idiom and slang. He has hired me to tutor him. I have some ideas on what and how to teach him, but I could use any advice ya'll might have to offer.
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Comments:
From: i_leonardo
2007-10-15 05:11 am (UTC)
make sure he knows the appropriate uses of the phrases "got up in my grill" and "bust a cap in yo' ass". i'm also partial to "dude, that's bogus". good to know: "pants" in american english does NOT mean the same thing as "pants" in british english and if he tells a brit that he got "crap on his pants", they'll be grossed out.

blondie sez the BBC has mentioned having an idiom style-guide. and i'd bet peanuts to popcorn that the study-guide section of the harvard sq. buns&noodle contains TEFL books that might be useful. they've got idiom and slang guides for italian that kept blondie amused for most of a plane trip.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-15 05:50 am (UTC)
Heh. Yeah, can't wait to describe all the different uses for the word "grill."

I don't think there is a buns&noodle in H-Square. There's the COOP, the Harvard Books Store, Schoenhoffs (the foreign language bookstore), and various old timey book stores.
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[User Picture]From: bookly
2007-10-15 11:48 am (UTC)
Isn't the Harvard Coop a B&N in disguise? (Or am I misunderstanding 'buns&noodle'?)

Schoenhoffs might have good ESL books, too; I forget.
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From: i_leonardo
2007-10-15 12:04 pm (UTC)
indeed: the coop is a b&n.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-16 06:04 am (UTC)
OH HELL. And I gave them money today.

Oh well.
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2007-10-15 01:27 pm (UTC)
a while back, i happened across a web site that was intended for ESL students -- it reviewed popular american movies and pointed out the slang in them and sort of explained things in context. i'll poke around and see if i can find it again.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-16 06:04 am (UTC)
That'd be pretty useful.
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2007-10-16 03:24 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-17 10:40 am (UTC)
Thank you!

This site is excellent!
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[User Picture]From: metagnat
2007-10-15 01:32 pm (UTC)
When you asked this question, all I can think of is that moment in Wayne's World when Wayne asks Cassandra where she learned English, and she replied, "College!...And the Police Academy movies." I think movies are a fairly decent place to learn slang. Or (more current, less metered) really bad reality TV. Like anything MTV shows.

-E
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-16 06:05 am (UTC)
Heh. Yeah, the client originally wanted me to watch sitcoms with him. I figured lessons might be a better use of our time, but that he should write down anything that confuses him and we'll go over it.
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[User Picture]From: erikred
2007-10-15 03:15 pm (UTC)
All good suggestions above, though I'd caution you to start with idiomatic language you use yourself and then work up to the "bust a cap" level later on (unless you're already that kind of mad gangsta, G). Also, aim your lessons and material at his age-range; college students really love learning new ways to say "drunk" or curse, whereas older students usually want to learn something more conventional.

If his English is already good, it might be particularly useful to assign him homework: have him come back to you with phrases he's heard that don't make sense to him. Also, advanced learners still benefit from lessons on minute differences in sound for semi-homonyms or the major differences in actual homonyms, and I've met very few ESL students who have a good grounding in Greek and Latin-based prefixes and suffixes.

Whew! It's been about 8 years since I last thought about this stuff. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-10-16 06:08 am (UTC)
*bows to the ESL god*

Thanks, Erik!

He's planning to work in a hospital, so he wants to be familiar with slang from all ages, but he specifically asked for language used by the under-30 crowd.

I've got a bunch of homework assignments gleaned from various ESL blogs and web pages. Glad to hear that's a good plan.

And I was planning on talking to him about the origins of English, its reliance on Latin & Greek, as well as its ability to steal words from other cultures like the little raccoony culture bandits we are.
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[User Picture]From: erikred
2007-10-16 03:36 pm (UTC)
Superb! If he's planning to work in a hospital, those Latin and Greek roots are going to become vital quickly. Be sure to let us all know how it goes.
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