One of my Russian ESL clients is a businesswoman and the mom of a 15-year-old growing young man. She also has a great sense of humor and an independent spirit, and we talked frequently up until her schedule became even more hectic than usual. Knowing that I am also a passionate professional like her, and the devoted mom of many, she downloaded one of my books from a few years ago: “Real-Life Stressbusters for Moms on the Go” ( http://www.amazon.com/Real-Life-Stressbusters-Moms-ebook/dp/B007X5ZU2I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371236308&sr=8-1&keywords=real-life+stressbusters+for+moms), a book with 40 tips for stressed moms which I am in the middle of updating to 100 tips.
One of the most interesting things she said to me upon our very next Skype lesson was that, even more than the very helpful tips she was reading in English, she noticed right off that my book is full of idioms. She began our lesson by pulling from me the definitions of this idiom and that, and I was so delighted to see my book through the eyes of a reader whose native language is not English.
I live idiomatically. I speak and write and live my life through idioms, and I firmly believe that, once a learner has progressed to an advanced stage of fluency in any language, that learning the idioms of that culture is one of the last frontiers of fluency, a place of comfort and confidence in knowing that one is indeed solidly comprehending what is being said and expressed in a normal conversation.
In other words, idioms open a new window into a culture. It might be a dangerous window, though, where falling off the ledge is just a matter of mixing metaphors or using the wrong word, but idioms are still extraordinarily worthwhile to learn, if you are serious about becoming fluent.
In any case, it was fun and rewarding to hear that, even though this first edition had formatting problems (the table of contents are labeled incorrectly), my Russian student felt edified by my advice AND found linguistic value all at the same time! I was happy, to say the least.
Well, here’s the Amazon link to the first edition (free on Kindle to Amazon Prime members, and just USD $1.99 otherwise). And to my readers who download the first edition – and who request it, I am sending the 100-tip version as a gift on pdf when it’s released. (And if you don’t have Kindle and would like to receive a pdf file version of the first edition to your email inbox, please send me a message and I can send you a link as well for the same $1.99, payable by PayPal.)
However you choose to read it, I would love to receive more feedback, as well as your own tips to add to the mix. Dads welcome, too!