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LINGUIST List 17.199

Sat Jan 21 2006

Media: LATimes: Body Part Idioms

Editor for this issue: Amy Renaud <renaudlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Karen Chung, LATimes: Body Part Idioms

Message 1: LATimes: Body Part Idioms
Date: 20-Jan-2006
From: Karen Chung <karchungntu.edu.tw>
Subject: LATimes: Body Part Idioms

She Has It in Her Head to Clarify Sayings

By J. Michael Kennedy, Times Staff Writer

After all those years of slinging hash and refilling coffee mugs, May Pare
found herself up to her eyeballs in a collection of sayings that would blow
the mind of someone trying to learn English.

She had hundreds of these sayings, many of them overheard and scribbled
down while she was waiting tables at Shakers restaurant in Glendale, where
she's worked on and off ? but mostly on ? for the last 30 years.

The result of her work is a self-published 363-page book that deals
exclusively with body part idioms, in chapters ranging from butt to breath
and head to toes.


The book, 'Body Idioms and More,' is designed to help foreign-born students
who would otherwise throw up their hands in dismay at the odd sayings, some
of which give no clue to their real meaning.

Pare (pronounced Paray) is a scholar of the English language, her specialty
both as a student and as a college teacher in her native Thailand. Later,
she earned her master's degree from UCLA, with a specialty in English as a
second language.

Linguist Anthony Aristar said it doesn't surprise him that Pare has come up
with so many idioms that deal only with body parts.

'English has a huge vocabulary, much more than most languages,' said
Aristar, who manages the Linguist List website, which has more than 21,000
subscribers. 'One thing it loves to do is borrow. English grammar is so
simple you can insert all sorts of things into it.'

Aristar said he would not be surprised if most of Pare's idioms are found
in other such collections, but singling out body parts makes her work unusual.


Free registration required to access article.

Karen Steffen Chung

Linguistic Field(s): Language Description

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