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American Slang, British English Idioms Books

We can recommend the following books for travel & ESL purposes;

1. NTC's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears, Paperback: 576 pages Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 3 edition

Realistic example sentences show how expressions are used in current, everyday American English. Pronunciations and cautionary notes are provided as needed, and a Phrase-Finder Index helps users locate entries quickly.

This compact and well-formatted book features "more than 8500 contemporary slang and informal expressions." With 800 more entries than the previous edition, this third edition includes street slang, popular culture terms, and the telegraphic language peculiar to the Internet. Arranged alphabetically, entries include usage information, slang type or source, and additional information about whether the term is, e.g., objectionable, derogatory, or standard English. The entries for some "difficult or unpredictable" words may include pronunciation information. The alphabetic arrangement is augmented by a phrase-finder index and Go to/See also references. If you don't know the meaning of expressions such as "Baldwin" (a good-looking male), or "face time" (time spent face to face with someone), this book will explain. Some obvious terms such as "nervous Nellie" (any nervous person), "naw" (no), "what the heck" (it doesn't matter), and "square" (old-fashioned) seem out of place.

2. British Slang Dictionary (NTC's Super-mini S.) Ewart James; Paperback 192 pages (January 1, 2000) Publisher: Contemporary Books

Practical and up-to-date, Ewart James dictionary of British slang contains nearly 2000 definitions yet measures a mere five and a half by three and half inches. Also included are some 2000 uniquely British expressions.

3. Divided by a Common Language: A British/American Dictionary Christopher Davies; Paperback 208 pages Publisher: Mayflower Press 1998

From the Author: Having grown up in England, I ventured forth at the aged 20 to visit relatives in New Zealand. How could I possibly know at that time that England was never going to be home again.... After seven years down under, I settled in the United States in 1980. Twenty years later I am still fascinated by American culture. The linguistic differences are enormous. The words "tailback" and "dustman", mean nothing to the average American and probably never will in the foreseeable future. Brits coming over on "holiday" still use the terms, "bathing costume", and "flannel", much to the amusement of Americans within earshot. In this book, I have tried to cover every aspect of the differences between British and American English, from spelling differences to pronunciation differences; even comparing different expressions used on the other side of the pond. I hope you enjoy the book with all its intrinsic humor, but I think having read the book, you'll be just as fascinated as I am by the vast linguistic gulf that separates the two countries. By the way, did you know that Americans have not always driven on the right? The details are in the book.

4. The Slangman Guide to Street Speak 1: The Complete Course in American Slang & Idioms by David Burke; Paperback: 147 pages, Slangman Publishing

Have fun and learn "real" American conversational English! There are no "dirty" or impolite expressions in this book. This book contains the most common slang and idioms used every day by Americans. Look at this example: English taught in schools: "I dislike this. It is very difficult." Real American English: "What a pain!" Both of them mean the same thing, but "Real English" is the way Americans speak.

You will learn American English conversation using slang and idioms naturally through dialogues, pictures, quizzes, games, etc. You'll be talking like a native "in no time" (very quickly)! This book is full of slang and idioms used every day by Americans - and it is very easy to use. You will be more confidant and have fun using English. This book includes expressions dealing with: Parties, Shopping, Movies, the Airport, Restaurants, Health, and more. For the best results, purchase the audio CDs or cassettes.

5. Lonely Planet Australian Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Australian Phrasebook) by Susan Butler; Paperback: 192 pages

'C'mon, Aussie c'mon!' the catch phrase of many a sporting event downunder. Understand them or not - the Australians speak a unique English filled with Dundee accents, quirky phrases and fantastic vocabulary. Few are the dobbers, bludgers and two-pot screamers - the average Aussie (o-zee) is welcoming, hospitable and full of a sense of humour. Though you might just need this book to understand the jokes.

  • for every social situation, here's the language you're going to hear
  • travellers can avoid embarrassing moments and awkward misunderstandings with clear vocabulary lists
  • household names, politics, sports - the book is full of Aussie interests
  • understand a little of the original cultures through the introductory chapters to Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages