Idiomatic phrases with animals

 

A nice example of a typical 90 minute English lesson. And an excellent opportunity to look at some typical idiomatic phrases that include animals.

 

Discuss these questions:

1. How much television do you watch?

2. Do you have terrestrial television, Satellite, and/or cable?

3. What are your favourite TV shows? (Be careful how you answer this question!) Have you seen ‘House’ on TV?

4. Are there any programmes you refuse to watch? Why?

5. Are there any television channels you particularly watch?

6. What do you particularly dislike about Polish television?

 

Reading

Read the article and tick the correct sentence below:

The writer thinks:    a. too many people in Poland watch television

                                   b. there should be more British programmes on Polish TV

                                   c. there is nothing original on Polish television

 

THE STATE OF POLISH TELEVISION: COULD DO BETTER

Okay. I admit it, I’m an Englishman. But I’ve lived in Poland for a few years, but I can’t help but comment on TV here. To be frank, for what it is, it’s – to put it mildly – a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Let me explain.

First, there is a lack of original programming. Most shows produced in Poland are based on formats created abroad: The X Factor and Who Wants to be a Millionaire originate from Britain; Deal or No Deal and Big Brother from Holland, countless examples from America. Anything original tends to be talk shows, soaps, and political discussion. Oh, and let’s not talk about Europa da Sie Lubic (Loosely translated: Europe Is OK), a show that went on and on until not only when the cows came home, but were milked and put to bed for the night. Amazingly, it lasted six years, but did any other countries buy the format? Come on, for a country of some 35 000 000 people, surely the minds are there to do something?

Next, those annoying on-screen captions and logos. Now I tolerate the logo that identifies the channel only because we in the UK were forced to accept them when satellite TV arrived (we never had them before then), but why those green circles and triangles with numbers stuck in the other corner? And worst of all, on shows that are popular, WHY do we have to have those scrolling messages that tell us to text in the answer to a question every 15 minutes?

And that lektor, or reader. Come on, Poland! Only Russia still does voiceover translation! And these are often riddled with errors! Annoying if you’ve got stereo cinema sound with all the bangs, crashes and wallops that are then quickly faded out for this unemotional voice to come in. And dub for several speakers. In the same tone. Either fully dub the things like you do for most children’s TV (but even here I’ve heard readers!) Or, like many European countries such as Sweden or Croatia, subtitle them. The main culprits here are of course, TVP, TVN, and Polsat. At least you can turn him off on the movie channels.

And all those TV programmes getting in the way of the commercials on Polsat and TVN...

It's no wonder that despite the wide range of channels, when I ask the question to Poles, ‘What’s your favourite programme?’, they often say, ‘Panorama… Wladimosci… Information...’ or any other kind of news programme.

I’m not saying that the BBC is the bee’s knees (don’t get me started on the rubbish they select for the BBC channels marketed here!) but dear me, I do miss it sometimes. And ITV. And Channel 4, 5, even some satellite channels are even better than the stuff in Poland.

Discussion:

1. What does the writer dislike about Polish television? Is there anything not mentioned that you could add to the argument?

2 Do you agree with the writer? If not, why not?

3 If not, is it because the writer fails to appreciate the cultural differences that perhaps exist towards how people in the UK and Poland view television?

‘…it went on and on until the cows came home…’ ‘a bit of a dog’s breakfast…’ ‘I’m not saying that the BBC is the bee’s knees…’

 

Idioms with animals are popular in the English language. Can you complete the sentences from the list of animals below?

 

bee   bird   cat   chicken   fly   horse   pig   rat

 

1. My grandfather was often grumpy and bad-tempered, but he would never hurt a _______.

2. My sister is such a copy _______ . First she bought the same dress as me, and now she’s got the same shoes!

3. Hold your _______s! I’ll be out of the bathroom in a minute!

4. I learned about the _______s and the _______s when my baby brother was born.

5. I planned to play a trick on my brother, but because I was laughing he smelled a _______.

6. I was about to do a 100 metre bungee-jump, but then I got scared and _______ed out.

7. Your table manners are terrible! You’re eating like a _______!

 

Now match the idioms (including the three examples from the text) to the meanings below.

 

a) sex education

b) someone who is generally good natured with people

c) to decide not to do something out of fear

d) perfect

e) a complete mess

f) to eat noisily with your mouth open

g) to be suspicious

h) for a long period of time

i) wait and be patient

j) a person who does the same thing as someone else

 

Now ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you know all about the birds and the bees?

2. When you were a child, were you a copy cat? What did you do?

3. What was the last thing you chickened out of?

4. What do you feel generally is a bit of a dog’s breakfast?

5. Who do you know who eats like a pig?

6. In what offices would you be waiting until the cows come home?

Thank you for the English lesson. And now let's have a look at the answers...

c. The writer thinks there is nothing original on Polish television.

Now the gap-filling exercise and matching the idioms to the meanings:

1. My grandfather was often grumpy and bad-tempered, but he would never hurt a fly. (someone who is generally good natured with people)

2. My sister is such a copy cat. (A person who does the same thing as someone else) First she bought the same dress as me, and now she’s got the same shoes!

3. Hold your horses! (wait and be patient) I’ll be out of the bathroom in a minute!

4. I learned about the birds and the bees (sex education) when my baby brother was born.

5. I planned to play a trick on my brother, but because I was laughing he smelled a rat. (to be suspicious)

6. I was about to do a 100 metre bungee-jump, but then I got scared and chickened out. (to decide not to do something out of fear)

7. Your table manners are terrible! You’re eating like a pig! (to eat noisily with your mouth open)

‘…it went on and on until the cows came home…’ (for a long period of time)

‘a bit of a dog’s breakfast…’ (a complete mess)

‘I’m not saying that the BBC is the bee’s knees…’ (perfect)

That ends today's lesson!

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