You might have noticed that we like TED talks and TED-Ed. The other day I received another TED-Ed video, which I would like to share with you. It’s about elephants and memory. In a recent blog we talked about repetition and memory, so today’s focus is on elephants.
In the video, the following John Donne’s quote is mentioned:
” Nature’s greatest masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing”
I found the explanation about why elephants attack villages fascinating. They actually remember the people who have hurt them. Therefore the expression: to have a memory like an elephant.
As I myself am a great elephant lover, I stubbornly watch every documentary on elephants that’s on, even though the information often repeats. If you feel like finding out more about elephants as well as practicing your listening comprehension here’s an excellent documentary from BBC :
Elephants have formed a part of our childhood. Many of us cried and felt sorry for poor Dumbo. Do you remember the scene with pink elephants? You might not know that it relates to an idiom: to see pink elephants, which means to be intoxicated; recovering from a drinking bout; having the delirium tremens.
e.g. When I got to the point of seeing pink elephants, I knew that something had to be done.The old one who’s shaking—he’s probably seeing snakes. (N.B. You can also see snakes and spiders.)
Here they are: pink elephants on parade. Just be patient and wait for the lyrics to start.
There are some more idioms and expressions mentioning elephants. I came across this blog, which explains them very well:
I can go on and on about elephants, from serious to silly and back. And I will:
Serious: The Elephant man.
I remember watching this film when I was really young. The whole atmosphere was so oppressive and gloomy that I couldn’t fall asleep that night. I was thinking about the cruelty this person had been treated with and how little kindness he had received, just for the fact of being ugly and different. Here is the story of the real elephant man;
and a documentary about the studies of his remains, which may eventually help us find a cure for cancer.
To finish off lightly, I ‘ll quote Dr. Seuss: ” I meant what I said and said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.” (from “Horton hatches an egg”)
When we teach children English we start off with colours and shapes and family members, often forgetting the beautiful rhymes from our childhood. If you started learning English late and never had an opportunity to read or hear any children’s books, give this story a go. You will surely enjoy it!