THE LANGUAGE LOVERS’ CORNER 35: JUST FOR KICKS
Notes for language teachers and advanced students of the English language
by Oriel E. Villagarcia at firstname.lastname@example.org
I. FURTHER MEANINGS OF FAMILIAR WORDS
Today’s word is BONE
Here are some meanings that your students may not be familiar with:
- If you know/feel something in your bones, you are pretty certain about it. Ex.: Although he could not tell exactly why, he knew it in his bones that she was lying.
- If you refer to somebody as being a bag of bones, you mean that they are very thin.
- Your funny bone is the place at the back of your elbow which is very sensitive if you hit it. It is also called crazy bone in Am. Engl.
- If something tickles your funny bone, it amuses you.
- If you wanted make no bones about something you are very open about it. He made no bones that he wanted to run the company. He makes no bones about his political ideology.
- If you tell somebody that you have a bone to pick with them, you are indicating that you want to argue or complain about something. This is an informal expression.
- The bone of contention is the issue that causes disagreement and arguments.
- The bare bones of something are the most essential/ the most important parts of it. These are the bare bones of the project. Tell me about the bare bones of the story.
- To jump someone’s bones is an impolite way of saying to have sex with someone.
- If you are very tired you are bone tired. He’s bone idle. The land was bone dry since it hadn’t rained (used for emphasis).
- If you work your fingers to the bone you are working very hard.
- If a joke or a remark is or cuts close to the bone it may shock people or hurt their feelings.
- If you throw somebody a bone you give them a small part of what they are demanding to stop them from complaining.
- To bone a fish is to remove its bones.
- To bone somebody is an impolite way meaning to have sex with them.
II. OVER TO YOU
The sentences down below involve the word bone. Fill in the blanks accordingly.
- In informal language, a stupid person is called a bone……
- After her illness she had lost so much weight that she looked like …… and bones.
- In informal language, to study hard for an examination on a very short period of time is to bone….. for it.
- If something, as for example the wind is very cold, you can refer to it as bone……….wind.
- An informal expression meaning cemetery is bone ………
Answers at the bottom of this article
III. A FAMILY OF SCRAs
The following words start with the sequence scra… You are to fill in the blanks following the clues given below:
1………. in informal language this word refers to a short fight or argument
2………. to write or draw something carelessly and in an untidy way.
3………. thin in a way which is unattractive and not healthy looking
4………. to climb over something helping yourself with your hands and feet
5. ………a very small piece or amount
6. ………hair which is untidy and does not look healthy; not neat and even
7. ………to remove unwanted stuff by using something rough or with a sharp edge
Answers at the bottom
IV. MATCH THE FOLLOWING COLUMNS
NB. The words on the right are clues to the meaning of the words on the left—not necessarily synonyms.
1. covet gibe
2. tamper slander
3. malign cripple
4. maim ruffle
5. quip reduce
6. bristle meddle
7. curtail envy
Answers at the bottom
V. ARE THESE WORDS ENGLISH?
Decide whether the following words belong to the English lexicon or whether they have been anglicized by native speakers of Spanish.
1. traduce 2. parangon 3. scabrous 4. arrogate
5. rutilant 6. emulate 7. propitiate 8. explicate
Answers at the bottom
ANSWERS TO THE EXERCISES
OVER TO YOU
1. a bonehead 2. skin and bones 3. bone up 4. bone chilling
5. boneyard (an informal Am. Engl. expression)
A FAMILY OF SCRAs
1. scrap 2. scrawl 3. scrawny 4. scramble
5. scrap 6. scraggly 7. scrape
MATCH THE COLUMNS
1. covet---envy 2. tamper----meddle 3. malign----slander
4. maim---cripple 5. quip-------gibe 6. bristle---- ruffle
ARE THESE WORDS ENGLISH?
All of them are except for parangon. The English word is paragon.
APROPOS OF THE EXERCISES PRESENTED ABOVE
A friend of mine tells me that she sits at her desk behind her computer plus two real (as opposed to virtual) dictionaries and starts checking the words presented here. She tells me that unless she did this, the exercises would make little sense. I agree entirely.
If you do as my friend does, you will enter the wonderful world of words possibly beyond Cambridge proficiency level. For instance, when doing the exercise on a family of… you will be reminded of the fact that one word usually has several meanings. For example, scrap as indicated above can mean a small amount (a scrap of dignity/information/evidence) but it can also mean a small piece of paper or cloth. Scraps, on the other hand, are pieces of food which have not been eaten and which are usually thrown away, or fed to animals (dogs, cats, etc.) Perhaps you know what a scrapbook is, and if you don’t any contemporary EFL dictionary will tell you. These days all of the major well established EFL dictionaries are on line, so whether you want to increase your vocabulary is entirely up to you.
As regards the matching exercise, please remember that the words on the right are merely clues. It is not unlikely that you will even find words there which are new to you, such as ruffle and gibe. If that is the case, look them up, copy down the examples you find and make them a part of your own lexicon. Notice the difference between a quip, a clever comment, usually sarcastic but not necessarily so and a gibe, which is an insulting comment.
Lastly, the section dealing with whether the words presented there are English lends itself to your research. Traduce, for instance, is a false cognate of Spanish traducir, and it means to deliberately tell lies about somebody usually with the intent to harm someone’s reputation.
TOOLS FOR TEACHERS AND TWO LANGUAGE WORKSHOPS
1. FUN WITH SLANG: Understanding Informal Language
Saturday, May 5, 10:30 to 13:30, SBS B. Norte, Cordoba 1840, CABA
2. IDIOMS, PROVERBS AND SAYINGS
Saturday, May 26, 10:30 to 13:30, B. Norte, Cordoba
Further information, abstract, fees and how to register in the TOOLS FOR TEACHERS information bulletin elsewhere on this web page, or write to email@example.com
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
We hope you have enjoyed working through the exercises presented above, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you well in all of your endeavours. Please feel free to contact us with your feedback. Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oriel E. Villagarcía holds an M.A. in Linguistics for English Language Teaching from the University of Lancaster, and was on the Advisory Panel for the MACMILLAN ENGLISH DICTIONARY (MED), First Edition. He is a British Council and a Fulbright Scholar, and he did graduate work at the University of Texas. He is available for workshops on language
or methods throughout the country and abroad. He can be reached at email@example.com