EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: Idioms and Intonation

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This is Noga La’or, the Academic Director here at Rennert, giving a quick tip about including intonation when teaching idioms.

Transcript:

Noga: Hi everyone, my name is Noga and I’m the Academic Director here at Rennert International based in New York City. And what I would like to talk to you about today is how to teach idioms to your students and specifically focusing on intonation when teaching idioms. We all know that students love to learn idioms; they always want to learn new vocabulary; they always want to learn new expressions. But what we also need to realize when teaching idioms is that we not only need to focus on the meaning of the idiom, but how to express it properly and specifically using proper intonation. So, for example, we have an idiom in English that is ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ which means that it’s raining very very heavily, right? But usually when somebody comes in from the rain and it’s raining heavily they say, “Oh my GOODNESS! It’s raining CATS and DOGS!” If you have a student who comes in and says, “Hmm. It’s raining cats and dogs…” without the proper intonation, a native speaker of English will probably not understand their meaning even though they’re using the proper words, and they’re using the proper idiom. So, whenever teaching idioms to your students, make sure to not only focus on the meaning of the idiom, but focus on the proper intonation that the students use—need to use when using that idiom. Otherwise there might be a breakdown in communication. Hope this helps! Good luck!

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