Gossiping with body language 英語小教室 ~ 公司裡閒聊是非
We all use body language from time to time when we speak, but there’s another type of ‘body language’ in spoken English that non-natives may find quite amusing.
This is where different parts of the body are embedded in the speech, such as Give someone a cold shoulder, Breath down my neck or Find my feet. For non native speakers, have you ever wondered what that means? Today I will show you some examples. But first of all, take a look at this conversation at work.
例如 Give someone a cold shoulder 給人家一個冷肩膀? Breath down my neck 向我脖子呼吸?太過親密吧！Find my feet 怎樣要找自己的腳? 聽到這些句子會覺得奇怪嗎？今天英語小教室一一為大家解釋。首先，看看這兩位女同事在公司裡閒聊是非。
Brenda and Rachel are are having a coffee break at work when Rachel says, “I’ve got some gossip!”
“I’m all ears!” says Brenda.
“When I first joined the company and was still trying to find my feet, I always made sure I always put my best foot forward and was willing to lend others a hand even when I was up to my eyeballs. Also, although Chris, my manager knew I was wet behind the ear, he was willing to give me a leg up.” says Rachel.
“Recently Chris put me in charge of the new SMT2 project, giving me a free hand. He told me to bone up on all the background, and the technical section in SMT1. He also suggested I pick Diane’s brain if needed as Diane handled SMT1.
Last week I tried to speak to Diane as I couldn’t make head or tail of some parts in SMT1. However, Diane kept on giving me the cold shoulder and I just couldn’t put my finger on why.
A few days ago, I asked Chris to cast his eyes over my progress and mentioned Diane. Then he told me straight from the shoulder that Diane had messed up the non technical part of SMT1! He said she even tried to pull the wool over his eyes when that happened. Diane had tried to fight tooth and nail to defend her mistake claiming she had never set a foot wrong before, but she didn’t have a leg to stand on. The mistake would have cost the company an arm and a leg if undiscovered. Although Chris normally has a heart of gold, he wasn’t prepared to turn a blind eye to it. He said from now on, Diane would have to toe the line, and he’ll be breathing down her neck everyday.”
Brenda says, “If that gets out, its bound to set tongues wagging. I never did like her. She’s a right pain in the neck, a bone idle and back stabber and loses her head easily. She always thinks she’s head and shoulders above everyone and looks down her nose at the junior staff .
Personally, I think Chris could have come in even heavy handed. She’s definitely escaped by the skin of her teeth this time. I wish we could see the back of her.”
“Wow! You’ve certainty got your opinion of her off your chest!” Rachel responded.
Did you understand what Brenda and Rachel were gossiping about? If not, don’t worry, take a look at the explanation below.
- All ears ⇒⇒⇒ to listen with keen interest // 洗耳恭聽
- Find one’s feet ⇒⇒⇒ to show their best ability or become self confident // 開始熟習環境並有表現
- Put one’s best feet forward ⇒⇒⇒ do their best // 盡其所能
- Lend others a hand ⇒⇒⇒ to help someone out // 幫助別人
- Up to my eyeballs ⇒⇒⇒ to be very busy // 非常繁忙
- Wet behind the ear ⇒⇒⇒ naive and inexperience usually due to one’s age or lack of knowledge // 缺乏經驗(菜鳥)
- Give someone a leg up ⇒⇒⇒ help someone towards success // 助人一臂之力讓他成功
- Free hand ⇒⇒⇒ the right or authority to do as you think necessary // 自由發揮
- Bone up ⇒⇒⇒ spend a lot of effort to study or learn something // 用心學習
- Pick someone’s brain ⇒⇒⇒ ask someone something // 向人請教
- Make head or tail of something ⇒⇒⇒ understand something that is confusing // 了解一些複雜的事情
- Give someone the cold shoulder ⇒⇒⇒ ignore someone // 不瞅不睬
- Put one’s finger on something ⇒⇒⇒ identify what the problem is // 找出問題所在
- Cast your eyes ⇒⇒⇒ to quickly look at something // 很快看一下
- Straight from the shoulder ⇒⇒⇒ to speak directly and honestly, not hiding anything // 直接坦白講話
- Pull the wool over someone’s eyes ⇒⇒⇒ lie to someone about one’s true action or intention // 口是心非
- Fight tooth and nail ⇒⇒⇒ fight fiercely with determination // 拼命爭取
- Set a foot wrong ⇒⇒⇒ make a mistake or act unwisely // 行差踏錯
- Not have a leg to stand on ⇒⇒⇒ in a weak position to defend oneself // 處於弱勢
- Cost an arm and a leg ⇒⇒⇒ cost a lot of money // 價值不菲
- Heart of gold ⇒⇒⇒ be very kind or generous // 心地善良
- Turn a blind eye ⇒⇒⇒ pretend not to be aware of something // 假裝看不見
- Toe the line ⇒⇒⇒ obey the orders // 聽從指示
- Breath down someone’s neck ⇒⇒⇒ to watch or observe someone closely, normally with the intention to criticise // 緊迫盯住，隨時作出批評或指責
- Set tongues wagging ⇒⇒⇒ encourage people to gossip // 引發謠言
- Pain in the neck ⇒⇒⇒ very annoying // 非常討厭
- Bone idle ⇒⇒⇒ very lazy // 非常懶惰
- Stab someone in the back ⇒⇒⇒ be disloyal to someone when they do not expect it // 暗箭傷人
- Lose one’s head ⇒⇒⇒ panic or lose control // 容易慌張而失控
- Head and shoulders above everyone ⇒⇒⇒ be physically bigger, or more superior in skills, ability or intelligence // 鶴立雞群
- Look down one’s nose at something/someone ⇒⇒⇒ show disrespect or consider something/someone to be inferior // 目空一切
- Come in heavy hand ⇒⇒⇒ criticize strongly, blame or threaten // 從嚴處置
- By the skin of one’s teeth ⇒⇒⇒ only just, narrowly // 僅僅過關
- See the back of someone/something ⇒⇒⇒ get rid of someone/something unpleasant // 擺脫不想見的人或不好的事
- Get something off one’s chest ⇒⇒⇒ to say something (that is usually unpleasant) that one has wanted to say for a long time // 終於說出心底話，尤其是一些不太好的事情
Now that I’ve gone through the explanation, does Brenda and Rachel’s little chat make more sense? Which phrase is you favourite one?