CK #24 - Idioms Are for Idiots

September 15, 2021

Just a quick reminder to focus on the fundamentals. That's what's gonna help you learn faster and sound more natural.

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[00:00:00] Tony Kaizen: Idioms are for idiots.

[00:00:02] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:07] Tony Kaizen: All right. Good morning, my friend, this is Coffee with Kaizen number 24. And like I said, in the title, I want you to know that idioms are for fucking idiots.

[00:00:18] Now, hopefully, you know, the title is not meant to be taken seriously. I'm not saying that you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms.

[00:00:25] I'm not saying you're an idiot if you use idioms in your daily conversations and things like that. But the message or the point of this episode is something that I think a lot of learners of English don't understand, but desperately need to understand, because not just in my podcast episodes, but also the videos I post online and social media and stuff like that, a lot of people are always asking, can you teach us more idioms? Can you teach us more slang? Can you teach us how to sound more natural and things like that.

[00:00:55] But what I think a lot of people don't understand about slang or idioms or whatever you want to call them, expressions and things like that, is even natives, we don't use them as much as you think we do. Just like I imagine in your native language, if you stop for a second and just think, you're not using idioms, like, all day, every day, you're not using expressions or slang all day, every day. In most cases, obviously everyone's different, but in most cases you're really not. And let me give you an example of exactly what I'm talking about.

[00:01:27] I got up at the crack of dawn because the early bird gets the worm and you've got to make hay while the sun is shining. So I took the train to work and I had my nose to the grindstone all day. I didn't eat lunch, but I had a lot of fruit because an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And I couldn't wait to get off work and come home because you know, home is where the heart is. Nobody talks like that. Basically, that entire paragraph was nothing but different idioms and expressions.

[00:01:57] And it makes sense. It makes sense, but it sounds forced. It sounds strange. Just unnatural. Nobody talks like that. Nobody uses that many idioms or expressions in every single sentence of every conversation. You see what I'm saying? It's just not natural, you know? So I can understand the desire to learn idioms and expressions and slang and things like that because you want to sound like a native.

[00:02:23] You want to sound more natural, but what you need to understand is what actually sounds natural is being understood. That's natural. And you don't need idioms or expressions or slang for that to happen. In fact, it's actually better if you don't focus on those things. Because what I'm trying to say is a lot of people who are learning English, and are constantly asking, “Can you teach us idioms, expressions and slang?” Most of the time, those same people can't even express themselves clearly or concisely in a conversation with another person. You see what I'm saying?

[00:03:01] So it's like, they're trying to learn something that is, we can say intermediate or advanced level when they can't even do the basic stuff. You know? So really what I'm trying to say is you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you jog, and jog before you run, and run before you sprint. Learning happens in stages, I think, and a lot of people try to skip the fundamental stages because they just want to get to the fun, more advanced, you know, natural or native speech. But what you got to understand is natives on a daily basis in my language, and most likely yours, we use very simple language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:03:42] You know, idioms and like slang and expressions, even curse words and things like that. It's kind of like salt. Let me give you an example. So just follow me for a second. It's kind of like salt on your food. Salt can do amazing things for food. Food without salt is very bland, right? It's um, the flavor is not as good as it is with salt, you know, food without salt for a lot of people, including myself... it's just missing something. It doesn't have a rich flavor. You see, but if you put salt on all your food, every single square inch of the food on the fries and the chicken and the vegetables, I mean just coat all the food and salt, it's going to be disgusting, it's going to be too much to handle. It's too much salt.

[00:04:30] There is a such thing as too much salt. Hopefully, I'm making sense. And it's the same thing with slang, curse words, expressions, idioms, and all that. It's meant to be placed into the conversation, let's say, tastefully, you know? Here and there, not everywhere. Just boom, a little bit there. Boom. A little bit there to give it a little bit of extra flavor. It's meant to complement the actual dish, the actual food, the substance of the meal, the salt is not the substance. It's the complement. You see what I'm saying? So it's the same thing with idioms, expressions, uh, slang, whatever you want to call it, we use it here and there when the time is right.

[00:05:11] So again, I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn slang. I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms. I'm also not saying don't learn those things. That's not my point. That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just saying, if you haven't mastered the basics, if you cannot comfortably just have a normal conversation with another person. You know, you really don't need to be focused on idioms and expressions and slang and sounding like a native because your average native speaker uses very, very, very basic language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:05:42] So master that first and then move on to the fun stuff, quote, unquote, like with every other skill, you know? You're not going to play like Messi week number two of learning how to play soccer. You know? You gotta learn how to pass. You know what I'm saying? Play with both feet, learn how to dribble. You're trying to do all this extra fancy shit when you can't even do the basics.

[00:06:04] So slow down, be patient. Focus on the fundamentals, because that is the foundation of everything we say. In any language, you've got to master the fundamentals. So don't worry too much about idioms, slang, expressions, stuff like that. The key to sounding natural is mastering the basics. So until you do that, you know, you really, in my opinion, this is just my humble opinion, you shouldn't be focused on anything other than that. All right?

[00:06:34] You gotta crawl before you walk.

[00:06:37] Peace.

[00:06:38] OUTRO MUSIC

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[00:00:00] Tony Kaizen: Idioms are for idiots.

[00:00:02] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:07] Tony Kaizen: All right. Good morning, my friend, this is Coffee with Kaizen number 24. And like I said, in the title, I want you to know that idioms are for fucking idiots.

[00:00:18] Now, hopefully, you know, the title is not meant to be taken seriously. I'm not saying that you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms.

[00:00:25] I'm not saying you're an idiot if you use idioms in your daily conversations and things like that. But the message or the point of this episode is something that I think a lot of learners of English don't understand, but desperately need to understand, because not just in my podcast episodes, but also the videos I post online and social media and stuff like that, a lot of people are always asking, can you teach us more idioms? Can you teach us more slang? Can you teach us how to sound more natural and things like that.

[00:00:55] But what I think a lot of people don't understand about slang or idioms or whatever you want to call them, expressions and things like that, is even natives, we don't use them as much as you think we do. Just like I imagine in your native language, if you stop for a second and just think, you're not using idioms, like, all day, every day, you're not using expressions or slang all day, every day. In most cases, obviously everyone's different, but in most cases you're really not. And let me give you an example of exactly what I'm talking about.

[00:01:27] I got up at the crack of dawn because the early bird gets the worm and you've got to make hay while the sun is shining. So I took the train to work and I had my nose to the grindstone all day. I didn't eat lunch, but I had a lot of fruit because an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And I couldn't wait to get off work and come home because you know, home is where the heart is. Nobody talks like that. Basically, that entire paragraph was nothing but different idioms and expressions.

[00:01:57] And it makes sense. It makes sense, but it sounds forced. It sounds strange. Just unnatural. Nobody talks like that. Nobody uses that many idioms or expressions in every single sentence of every conversation. You see what I'm saying? It's just not natural, you know? So I can understand the desire to learn idioms and expressions and slang and things like that because you want to sound like a native.

[00:02:23] You want to sound more natural, but what you need to understand is what actually sounds natural is being understood. That's natural. And you don't need idioms or expressions or slang for that to happen. In fact, it's actually better if you don't focus on those things. Because what I'm trying to say is a lot of people who are learning English, and are constantly asking, “Can you teach us idioms, expressions and slang?” Most of the time, those same people can't even express themselves clearly or concisely in a conversation with another person. You see what I'm saying?

[00:03:01] So it's like, they're trying to learn something that is, we can say intermediate or advanced level when they can't even do the basic stuff. You know? So really what I'm trying to say is you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you jog, and jog before you run, and run before you sprint. Learning happens in stages, I think, and a lot of people try to skip the fundamental stages because they just want to get to the fun, more advanced, you know, natural or native speech. But what you got to understand is natives on a daily basis in my language, and most likely yours, we use very simple language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:03:42] You know, idioms and like slang and expressions, even curse words and things like that. It's kind of like salt. Let me give you an example. So just follow me for a second. It's kind of like salt on your food. Salt can do amazing things for food. Food without salt is very bland, right? It's um, the flavor is not as good as it is with salt, you know, food without salt for a lot of people, including myself... it's just missing something. It doesn't have a rich flavor. You see, but if you put salt on all your food, every single square inch of the food on the fries and the chicken and the vegetables, I mean just coat all the food and salt, it's going to be disgusting, it's going to be too much to handle. It's too much salt.

[00:04:30] There is a such thing as too much salt. Hopefully, I'm making sense. And it's the same thing with slang, curse words, expressions, idioms, and all that. It's meant to be placed into the conversation, let's say, tastefully, you know? Here and there, not everywhere. Just boom, a little bit there. Boom. A little bit there to give it a little bit of extra flavor. It's meant to complement the actual dish, the actual food, the substance of the meal, the salt is not the substance. It's the complement. You see what I'm saying? So it's the same thing with idioms, expressions, uh, slang, whatever you want to call it, we use it here and there when the time is right.

[00:05:11] So again, I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn slang. I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms. I'm also not saying don't learn those things. That's not my point. That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just saying, if you haven't mastered the basics, if you cannot comfortably just have a normal conversation with another person. You know, you really don't need to be focused on idioms and expressions and slang and sounding like a native because your average native speaker uses very, very, very basic language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:05:42] So master that first and then move on to the fun stuff, quote, unquote, like with every other skill, you know? You're not going to play like Messi week number two of learning how to play soccer. You know? You gotta learn how to pass. You know what I'm saying? Play with both feet, learn how to dribble. You're trying to do all this extra fancy shit when you can't even do the basics.

[00:06:04] So slow down, be patient. Focus on the fundamentals, because that is the foundation of everything we say. In any language, you've got to master the fundamentals. So don't worry too much about idioms, slang, expressions, stuff like that. The key to sounding natural is mastering the basics. So until you do that, you know, you really, in my opinion, this is just my humble opinion, you shouldn't be focused on anything other than that. All right?

[00:06:34] You gotta crawl before you walk.

[00:06:37] Peace.

[00:06:38] OUTRO MUSIC

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Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] Tony Kaizen: Idioms are for idiots.

[00:00:02] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:07] Tony Kaizen: All right. Good morning, my friend, this is Coffee with Kaizen number 24. And like I said, in the title, I want you to know that idioms are for fucking idiots.

[00:00:18] Now, hopefully, you know, the title is not meant to be taken seriously. I'm not saying that you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms.

[00:00:25] I'm not saying you're an idiot if you use idioms in your daily conversations and things like that. But the message or the point of this episode is something that I think a lot of learners of English don't understand, but desperately need to understand, because not just in my podcast episodes, but also the videos I post online and social media and stuff like that, a lot of people are always asking, can you teach us more idioms? Can you teach us more slang? Can you teach us how to sound more natural and things like that.

[00:00:55] But what I think a lot of people don't understand about slang or idioms or whatever you want to call them, expressions and things like that, is even natives, we don't use them as much as you think we do. Just like I imagine in your native language, if you stop for a second and just think, you're not using idioms, like, all day, every day, you're not using expressions or slang all day, every day. In most cases, obviously everyone's different, but in most cases you're really not. And let me give you an example of exactly what I'm talking about.

[00:01:27] I got up at the crack of dawn because the early bird gets the worm and you've got to make hay while the sun is shining. So I took the train to work and I had my nose to the grindstone all day. I didn't eat lunch, but I had a lot of fruit because an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And I couldn't wait to get off work and come home because you know, home is where the heart is. Nobody talks like that. Basically, that entire paragraph was nothing but different idioms and expressions.

[00:01:57] And it makes sense. It makes sense, but it sounds forced. It sounds strange. Just unnatural. Nobody talks like that. Nobody uses that many idioms or expressions in every single sentence of every conversation. You see what I'm saying? It's just not natural, you know? So I can understand the desire to learn idioms and expressions and slang and things like that because you want to sound like a native.

[00:02:23] You want to sound more natural, but what you need to understand is what actually sounds natural is being understood. That's natural. And you don't need idioms or expressions or slang for that to happen. In fact, it's actually better if you don't focus on those things. Because what I'm trying to say is a lot of people who are learning English, and are constantly asking, “Can you teach us idioms, expressions and slang?” Most of the time, those same people can't even express themselves clearly or concisely in a conversation with another person. You see what I'm saying?

[00:03:01] So it's like, they're trying to learn something that is, we can say intermediate or advanced level when they can't even do the basic stuff. You know? So really what I'm trying to say is you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you jog, and jog before you run, and run before you sprint. Learning happens in stages, I think, and a lot of people try to skip the fundamental stages because they just want to get to the fun, more advanced, you know, natural or native speech. But what you got to understand is natives on a daily basis in my language, and most likely yours, we use very simple language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:03:42] You know, idioms and like slang and expressions, even curse words and things like that. It's kind of like salt. Let me give you an example. So just follow me for a second. It's kind of like salt on your food. Salt can do amazing things for food. Food without salt is very bland, right? It's um, the flavor is not as good as it is with salt, you know, food without salt for a lot of people, including myself... it's just missing something. It doesn't have a rich flavor. You see, but if you put salt on all your food, every single square inch of the food on the fries and the chicken and the vegetables, I mean just coat all the food and salt, it's going to be disgusting, it's going to be too much to handle. It's too much salt.

[00:04:30] There is a such thing as too much salt. Hopefully, I'm making sense. And it's the same thing with slang, curse words, expressions, idioms, and all that. It's meant to be placed into the conversation, let's say, tastefully, you know? Here and there, not everywhere. Just boom, a little bit there. Boom. A little bit there to give it a little bit of extra flavor. It's meant to complement the actual dish, the actual food, the substance of the meal, the salt is not the substance. It's the complement. You see what I'm saying? So it's the same thing with idioms, expressions, uh, slang, whatever you want to call it, we use it here and there when the time is right.

[00:05:11] So again, I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn slang. I'm not saying you're an idiot for wanting to learn idioms. I'm also not saying don't learn those things. That's not my point. That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just saying, if you haven't mastered the basics, if you cannot comfortably just have a normal conversation with another person. You know, you really don't need to be focused on idioms and expressions and slang and sounding like a native because your average native speaker uses very, very, very basic language on a day-to-day basis.

[00:05:42] So master that first and then move on to the fun stuff, quote, unquote, like with every other skill, you know? You're not going to play like Messi week number two of learning how to play soccer. You know? You gotta learn how to pass. You know what I'm saying? Play with both feet, learn how to dribble. You're trying to do all this extra fancy shit when you can't even do the basics.

[00:06:04] So slow down, be patient. Focus on the fundamentals, because that is the foundation of everything we say. In any language, you've got to master the fundamentals. So don't worry too much about idioms, slang, expressions, stuff like that. The key to sounding natural is mastering the basics. So until you do that, you know, you really, in my opinion, this is just my humble opinion, you shouldn't be focused on anything other than that. All right?

[00:06:34] You gotta crawl before you walk.

[00:06:37] Peace.

[00:06:38] OUTRO MUSIC

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