I was four and shy and my aunt asked me if the cat got my tongue. I thought she must know some very nasty cats, indeed. I didn't know she was merely remarking about how shy I was. I didn't know the idiomatic meaning of her expression. Idioms are typical expressions that can't be decoded with a dictionary. This is why they are so difficult for foreigners. When experienced native speakers hear idioms in their own language, they pay attention only to the meaning and not to the words. However, children native speakers can be initially confused by idioms heard the first time. With repetition in the ears of children, the idioms become typical and no longer confusing.

Let's explore how foreigners and children feel when they first hear new idioms. Let's also experience how humor happens when a typical piece of communication is violated by atypical elements. I am thinking of a typical short monolog, but I will not tell you the topic. I want you to think of your own topic. Then, I will ask you for words according to your topic. If your topic is baseball, for example, you will give me words from that topic, such as bat, chewing tobacco, etc. I will ask you for specific parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. I will put your words in various places, and then I will tell you the crazy story we made together.

Mystery Topic Demonstration Mad Lib

general time of day:
three or four digit number:
plural or noncount noun:
type of liquid:
base form transitive verb:
singular count noun:
thing that moves:
base form transitive verb:
singular count noun:
base form intransitive verb:
general noncount noun:
specific noun example of previous noun:
base form intransitive verb:
plural or noncount noun:
adjective:
base form intransitive verb:
plural or noncount noun:
plural or noncount noun:
base form intransitive verb:
three or four digit number: