超濃縮!やさしい英語会話 (21) Improving Language Skills

Posted by: huepod





8月の4週間は、恒例の「超濃縮!やさしい英語会話」です。この10年間に配信した310本の「やさしい英語会話」よりエピソードを厳選し、毎回4本分を濃縮してお届けします。ナチュラルスピードの会話をスクリプトとともにお楽しみください。最終回となる今回は、ことばにまつわるエピソードを集めました。
*** Script ***
[ (210) Tongue Twisters ]

F: Boy, this food line is pretty long. Hey, I have a magazine on me. You can read it while we wait.

M: OK. Hmm… looks like a kid's magazine… Hmm, yeah. (Mumbling quickly to himself.) Peter Piper picked a pick… hmmm. A peck of pickled peppers. Peter piper picked a peck of peckled… GAhhh!

F: Michihiro… what are you doing? What are you muttering about?

M: I don't understand what on Earth this magazine is talking about. First, it was talking about seashells, then a woodchuck, and now pickles!

F: Oh, those are different sets of tongue twisters, Michihiro.

M: Tongue twisters? What are those?

F: I'm pretty sure most languages have them. It's a game to see if you can say or repeat a short funny phrase without messing it up.

M: Oh, I DO know those! These ones are hard though.

F: They're fun. Here, I'll read one for you. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

M: Wow! That's amazing. Hey, do the seashell one!

F: OK. “She sells seashells by the seashore.”

M: Hey, you're so good at this. I can't do any of them!

F: You were just speaking too fast! Here, try reading this one SLOWLY.

M: OK. “Peter piper picked a pick”... bleh!

F: Try going slower, Michihiro! Here, I'll say it once for you. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”

M: OK. “Peter Piper picked a peck of peckled pippers”

F: (laughing) I guess you just need to practice.

M: I give up! Forget it!

F: Oh, it's our turn to order? Oh, do you want any pickles or peppers on your food, Michihiro?

M: NO! NO MORE PEPPERS AND NO MORE PICKLED THINGS!

[ (273) English Slang (2) ]

W: As I was saying, most English slang words have a positive and negative connotation, regardless of their true meaning. Take, for instance, the word "bad." It normally means "not good." However, when we use "bad" as a slang term, it can mean "good" or "awesome!"

M: Ah! You're right! Like, if your friend asks you how the concert you attended last weekend was, you can reply by saying: "Oh my gosh, dude. It was so bad!", leaving the connotation that the concert was actually great. Or, you could say, "So bad, I wanted to leave early," letting your friend know that the concert was awful.

W: Exactly!

M: That's so difficult! Opposite meanings! Japanese students of English must really get frustrated. I'm not sure if I could ever learn something that difficult.

W: I think the key to mastering slang is listening to the context. The tone of the other person's voice will probably let you know how they feel.

M: What if it's in writing?

W: Now THAT'S a good question. I guess when I'm texting my friends I just know what they're slang means, I don't really have to think about it too much because I grew up speaking the same language as them.

M: Yeah, I guess you're right. Must be the same scenario as how I have to look up every Japanese LINE message I receive. I'm not a native Japanese speaker, so I never know what words are important and what words aren't.

W: Well, the more you practice the better you'll get!

M: I guess you're right. But gosh, all the practicing just makes me sick. It's so bad.

W: Ha ha. English slang must be awful for non-native speakers.

M: I'm sure it is, but once they understand it, it sounds pretty sick!

[ (281) Strange Idioms (1) ]

M: Charlotte, do you eat bugs in England?

W: No way! What made you ask that?

M: Well, I heard Betty saying she ate butterflies the other day.

W: She said she ate them? That's weird! … Oh, I think I know! Did she say, by chance, that she had butterflies in her stomach?

M: Yeah, I think that was it!

W: Ha ha! Well, that doesn't mean she actually has butterflies in her stomach! It's an idiom. It's pretty common. It just means that she's nervous.

M: Oh, that makes more sense! So, it didn't actually have anything to do with bugs?

W: No, it's just a saying. You know: when you're nervous, and your stomach feels funny, like there's something moving inside it!

M: Ah! So she felt like she had little butterflies trapped in her stomach? Because she was nervous?

W: Yep, that's right! It's quite a funny thing to hear if you don't know what it actually means, isn't it?

M: Yeah, I was really confused!

W: Do you have any similar expressions in Japanese?

M: Well, when you really want something so bad, you can say: "nodo kara te ga deru"

W: Does that mean you have a hand coming out of your mouth?

M: Yes, that's right!

W: That IS so weird! What a strange image!

M: Ha ha. Now that I think about it, it IS quite weird! Not something you'd actually want to see in real life. Are there any other interesting English idioms you can think of?

[ (282) Strange Idioms (2) ]

M: So, are there any other interesting English idioms you can think of?

W: Well, you can say someone is "losing their touch."

M: Losing their touch? … So, they can't feel things anymore?

W: Maybe originally that's what it meant. But nowadays, if you say "I'm losing my touch" it means I used to be good at something, but recently I can't do it that well anymore. So, for example, you play basketball right?

M: Yeah, that's right. So if, one day, I start to play worse than usual, I can say I'm losing my touch?

W: Yeah, that would be perfect! … Oh, another good one is "to stab someone in the back."

M. Ah! To kill someone with a knife?

W: Yeah, but here, to stab someone in the back means to betray someone.

M: To betray someone … Oh, it's the same in Japanese! To betray someone is "uragiru", which would probably translate to something like cutting someone in the back!

W: Yeah that sounds like stabbing someone in the back! Wow, I wonder how the English and the Japanese got to be the same.

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