Accent Reduction Tips
Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who come in for accent reduction sessions, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language. Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our accent reduction clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences. In our continuing efforts to feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you on your accent reduction goals, here are three idioms that have become standard shorthand in the workplace.
Accent Reduction Idiom 1 – Bite the Dust
Definition: A phrase used to signify that something has failed, crashed, or died.
Example: My new cell phone charger just stopped working. Oh well, looks like another one bites the dust.
Origin: When most people hear this idiom, they likely think of the song that was sung by the British band “Queen”, but it just so happens that the origin of this idiom goes back much farther. As far back as the KJV Bible. According to Psalm 72:9, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.” “Lick the dust” being a variation of the idiom commonly used today.
The idiom refers to someone or something metaphorically falling to the ground in failure and defeat. It is so popular that it has been used by literature translators, such as when Samuel Butler used the phrase in Homer’s “Iliad” to talk about the death of Roman soldiers during battle.
Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – Kick the bucket
Definition: Often used when people talk about someone who has just died but want to phrase this in a less explicit manner.
Example: You know, he was around 100 years old when he kicked the bucket so he lived a long, full life filled with joy.
Origin: Although it has been argued that this idiom originated from hangings or suicide by hangings, wherein people were made to stand on buckets and inadvertently kick it in their death throes, this has been proven inconclusive. Most etymologists would agree that the “bucket” in the idiom refers to a type of yoke that is placed on pigs’ feet as they are being led to slaughter. As they start thrashing in death, it looks as if they are kicking the yoke or in this instance, they are kicking the bucket.
Accent Reduction Idiom 3 –Pop One’s Clogs
Definition: This phrase is sometimes used as a euphemism for a sudden death.
Example: If you do not join us, you will pop our clogs because we can’t allow you to live when you know our secrets.
Origin: This expression hails from England. According to Cassell’s, this one is from the 70s but the general consensus is that it could be far older. For instance, “pop” could also mean “pawn” such as in the song “pop goes the weasel” wherein the weasel is actually a flat iron used around the house and to pop it means to pawn. Therefore, “pop your clog” means to “pawn shoes” as they will no longer be needed when someone is dead.
Accent Reduction idioms series
Accent Pros has a continuing series on accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms. Be sure to check out other accent reduction blog posts to find your favorites. Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening? Check out our on-line accent reduction courses available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other accent reduction tips. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter