Recuerdos de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas: cartas a Sur in English

Tuve la suerte de dar clase de inglés en la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Málaga, desde 1971 a 1989. Guardo recuerdos entrañables de esta etapa de mi vida académica y destacan entre todos ellos los referentes a la Reválida. La Reválida era una prueba que había que superar al final de 5º curso para obtener el Título de la Escuela. La prueba era de nivel bastante alto, similar al Cambridge  Proficiency, y en ella había una parte que incluía verbos frasales. Los verbos frasales eran y son temidos por la mayoría de alumnos de la Escuela por la dificultad que suelen entrañar estas combinaciones de verbos con partícula, ciertamente difíciles de descifrar, si excluimos las de uso más corriente. Algunos alumnos y alumnas incluso escribieron cartas al semanario Sur in English del diario Sur de la capital, para expresar los problemas que tenían en superar la Reválida, por culpa, en buena parte, de estos 'dichosos' Phrasal Verbs. 
Comparto hoy con vosotros una de estas cartas; la que escribió mi distinguida alumna María José Pérez Sánchez, que comenta, en clave de humor, las 'angustias' que tuvo que pasar para aprender tantos verbos frasales, al tiempo que reconoce que acabó por 'cogerles cariño':

Enjoying Phrasal Verbs

Dear Sir,
The other day when I read Mª Luisa Jaume's letter about Phrasal Verbs, it reminded me of my own troubles with them. I know that they can very difficult if you are not used to them, but they can be fun, too. If you have a never-ending list of phrasal verbs to memorize and find that time goes by without getting any results and you begin to nod off because they usually end up being a bore and so on, I'll give you some advice about how to face up to them or stand up to them, if you like.
First, you have to find time to get round to learning them.
Look them through very slowly, in order to find out their basic meanings. After that, take, write, note, jot, put or get them down, with their correspondent meanings in English, and make up a sentence with them, one by one. An important thing: don't give way to depression, phrasal verbs are a very difficult thing to cope with...
Then, see if you are able to remember all the meanings of a verb with one particle; I'll give you an example with take off:
"You can take off your clothes as well as the stain on your dress; if you want to take off a person, you won't probably take your eyes off him, in order to know as much as possible about him. You can go to the doctor's if you want to take off some kilos or perhaps because you have taken off one of your fingers when opening a tin. You can take a day off or take off for the Stadium because the Olympic Games are about to take off...And last but not least: your plane can take off...without you."
Are you beginning to take to them? or you go on thinking that if you come across the one who made up the first phrasal verb, you'd knock him out or perhaps even do him in?
Please, don't let your temper run away with you; I'll let you into a secret: when I have to bone up on a list of phrasal verbs, I usually let out a cry of desperation, but after that, we come together...
O.K., if I've managed to put my ideas across, and you've caught on to them, you will be able to make out the following:
"The other day, a friend of mine wanted to go to a party and was looking for a friend of his age (he is getting on for thirty), because his wife had gone down with flu. He got on to me and tried to get round me by telling me that if I didn't go to the party with him, he would get his own back, and fall out with me, which made me accept (as you can see, he's very good at getting his own way).
Well, when I tried to dress up for the party (it was a Jet Society one), I realised that I had filled out and the dress needed to be let out, which made me flare up!
I laid aside the dress and tried to knock something up, but with such misfortune that I fell down and broke my leg. The first thing I thought was:
"Every cloud has a silver lining, now I have an excuse for not turning up..."
In my opinion, if you've managed to decipher the story above, you can really boast of knowing your phrasal verbs well; you are an expert in and a fan of phrasal verbs.
They haven't any secrets for you.
Yours faithfully
Mª José Pérez Sánchez


to go by - pasar (tiempo) 
to nod off - dar una cabezadita, quedarse dormido
to end up being sth - terminar siendo algo
to face/stand up to sth - enfrentarse a algo, plantarle cara
to get around/round to doing sth - ponerse a hacer algo
to look sth through - repasar algo
to find out - averiguar, descubrir
to take/write/note/jot/put sth down - anotar algo
to make sth up - construir algo
to give way to sth - ceder a
to cope with sth - hacer frente a/poder con algo
to take sth off - quitarse (ropa), quitar (mancha), rebajar (kilos), rebanarse (dedo), tomarse (día) libre
not to take your eyes off sb - no dejar de mirar a alguien
to take sb off - imitar a alguien
to take off for - marcharse para
to take off - empezar (evento)
and last but not least - y por último, pero no por ello menos importante
to take off - despegar (avión)
to take to sb/sth - cogerle cariño a algo/alguien
to go on - seguir, continuar
to come across sth/sb - encontrar algo o a alguien por casualidad, toparse con
to make sth up - inventar algo
to knock sb out - noquear a alguien, dejarlo K.O.
to do sb in - matar a alguien
to let your temper run away with you - perder los estribos
to let sb into a secret - contarle/confiarle a alguien un secreto
to bone up on sth - empollarse algo
to let out a cry - soltar un grito
to come together - reconciliarse
to put sth across - explicar algo, hacerse entender
to catch on to sth - comprender algo
to make sth out - descifrar algo
to look for sth/sb - buscar algo/a alguien
to be getting on for - ir para (edad), ir a cumplir (años)
to go down with - coger (enfermedad)
to get on to sb - ponerse en contacto con alguien
to get around/round sb - convencer/persuadir a alguien
to get one's own back - vengarse de alguien
to fall out with sb - pelearse/disgustarse con alguien
to get one's own way - salirse con la suya
to dress up - ponerse de tiros largos
to fill out - engordar
to let sth out - ensanchar (ropa)
to flare up - enfadarse, ponerse hecho una fiera
to lay sth aside - dejar algo a un lado
to knock sth up - improvisar algo
to fall down - caerse
every cloud has a silver lining - no hay mal que por bien no venga
to turn up - presentarse, acudir a algún lugar
to boast of/about sth - presumir de algo.

2 comentarios :

  1. I never considered phrasal verbs difficult, but maybe that's just me.

    If you're taking an exam similar to Cambridge Proficiency, you must know your phrasal verbs. That level is native-like so you are expected to understand and use a great variety of these verbs.

  2. I'm sure they aren't difficult for you, since you speak English like a native, but it's true that many students really dread them. Anyway, bear in mind, Javi, that the present post, like many others in my blog, are just about remembrances of my younger days.