AE 328 – Expression: The Tip Of The Iceberg
G’day guys! What’s going on? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
Obviously, by the sound of my voice you can probably hear that I am better.
I don’t have the cold anymore.
I’m sure if you go back and listen to the last expression episode you will be able to tell pretty quickly that I was pretty tired, under the weather, and a little bit down in the dumps, meaning that I was a little bit depressed as a result of having the cold, having the flu, that I had last week.
So, hopefully now you can hear that I’m a little bit peppier.
I’ve got a little bit more oomph in my step, a little bit more spring in my step.
I’m feeling better. I’m feeling great. And I am ready to do today’s expression episode.
So, we’re lunchtime, Saturday today, and I just gave a private lesson. I had a coffee.
So, I’m also a little caffeinated. I’ve had a bit of a coffee.
I’m, you know, pepped up and ready to go. Few announcements this week.
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Let’s just dive straight into this expression episode today guys, and the expression is going to be “the tip of the iceberg”.
“The tip of the iceberg”.
And, sometimes you’re going to hear this as “it’s just the tip of the ice” or “that’s just the tip of the iceberg” or “this is just the tip of the iceberg”.
So, as usual, let’s go through and define the words in the expression “the tip of the iceberg” or “just the tip of the iceberg”.
“Just”, “just” is only. This is only the tip of the iceberg. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, it is emphasising the fact that it is only the tip. It’s only the tip. It’s just the tip.
“The tip” of something, “a tip” or “the tip” of something.
“The tip” of something is the point or pointed edge or end of something.
So, imagine that you have a knife, if you poke the end of it you’re poking the tip of the knife.
If you touch the end of your finger, you’re touching the tip of your finger.
If you climb Mount Everest, all the way up to the top of Mt. Everest, you’re on the tip of Mt. Everest, you’re on the top of Mt. Everest, you’re on the very top pointed edge of that mountain.
So, “the tip” of something is the pointed end of something.
“An iceberg”. “An iceberg” is a large floating mass of ice that has detached from, say, a glacier or an ice sheet in Antarctica, for example, and has been carried out to sea.
So, it’s a large floating mass of ice from a glacier or an ice sheet.
And, you could think of the thing that sunk the Titanic ship.
That was a really large iceberg.
And so, you can get these in the Northern Hemisphere.
You can get them also in the Southern Hemisphere near Antarctica.
That is “an iceberg”. So, to define the expression itself.
When you’re talking about something just being “the tip of the iceberg”, it’s talking about something only hinting at or suggesting a much larger or more complex issue or problem.
So, for example, imagine that literally icebergs have 80 percent of their mass, maybe even more, below the water.
If you can only just see the tip of the iceberg, if you can just see the tip, it’s (that) you can just see the top above the surface of the water.
The other 80 percent of the iceberg is below the surface of the water.
So, you can only see the tip, the top pointed part of the iceberg.
But we can use this metaphorically or figuratively to mean that we can only just see or we’re only just referring to a small part of a much larger and much more complicated issue or problem.
So, let’s go through some examples as usual, guys.
So, example number one.
Imagine that you go over to a lady’s house and this lady you know really likes cats.
You know, she could be obsessed with cats.
We call these ladies “old cat ladies” or “cat ladies”.
You know, the kind of women who really really like cats and tend to have a lot of them as pets.
So, you go to this lady’s house.
You see one or two of the cats in front of the house, and you say when you knock on the door, you know. “Oh that’s no big deal. You’ve just got one or two cats. You’re not really a cat lady.”
She could say to you, “Ah… that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That is just the tip of the iceberg. These one or two cats in front of the house are just the tip of the iceberg.”
And then, she opens the door and you see another 10 cats in the house.
So, those first two cats were just the tip of the iceberg in that they were just the start of the much larger issue, I guess you could say, that was the fact that she had another 10 cats inside.
So, those first two were the small part of a much larger thing, which was that 12 cats in total.
Example number two. Imagine you visit a guy in jail and you ask him what he’s in for, so, why is he in jail.
Maybe he tells you that he robbed a bank and you could say, “Oh, ok, just that? That’s all you did?”.
And he might reply, “Well, actually, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I also committed grand theft auto, meaning I stole cars, larceny, extortion, blackmail.”.
Maybe he even murdered someone, to throw that in there for good measure.
So, he could say, “Well, robbing the bank was the tip of the iceberg. It was just the beginning of all the other crimes that I had also committed.”
So, that the robbery of the bank was the tip of the iceberg, and the rest of the iceberg, metaphorically or figuratively in this sense, is grand theft auto, larceny, extortion, blackmail, and murder.
So, it’s everything else then.
Example number three.
Maybe you have picked up a book in a store that you’re going to read.
It looks pretty big. It turns out to be Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire.
So, you read the first book of this really really big series.
As we all know it’s pretty long.
And, maybe you just thought that it was going to be a lot harder to read, that it was going to be a lot longer, and you say to a friend, “I’ve read this book. It’s no biggie. It was incredibly quick. I finished it. What was the issue? Why was this such a big deal?”
And, he might say, “Ah, mate, there’s another five or six books. That was just the first one. That first book was just the tip of the iceberg. The first book was just the tip of the iceberg.”
There’s still all these other books that in the metaphorical or figurative sense are the rest of the iceberg hiding below the surface of the water.
So, that’s it guys. Hopefully by now you understand what “just the tip of the iceberg” means.
It is only a hint or a suggestion of a much larger or more complex issue or problem or area, thing, whatever it is.
So, as usual, let’s dive in and do a listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where we can practice our pronunciation.
And then, I’ll go through some of the pronunciation and connected speech tips from the sentences that we use in the lesson and repeat exercise.
So, I’m just going to say this phrase guys.
Listen and repeat after me and practice your pronunciation.
Listen & Repeat:
Just the tip.
Just the tip.
Just the tip of the.
Just the tip of the.
Just the tip of the iceberg.
Just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Good job guys. Good job.
Notice when you go back there that I said that more naturally as I would as a native English speaker.
I didn’t pronounce all the letters, and a lot of them were kind of pushed together.
We’ll go through two aspects of the pronunciation and connected speech used in that phrase right now.
The first aspect or the first tip that I want to draw your attention to is the fact that when we say the word “of”, if it’s followed by a consonant sounds, so “of the”, you’ll notice that “the” starts with “th-“.
If of the word is followed by a consonant we drop the F, and we just say “OH” or “AH”.
So, that’s why you hear “tip AH the iceberg” instead of “tip OF the iceberg”.
It’s just the tip AH the iceberg. Tip AH the iceberg. Just the tip AH the iceberg.
That happens quite a lot in English. So here for example sentences.
Listen & Repeat:
Obviously, The tip AH the iceberg. The tip AH the iceberg.
The Edge AH tomorrow. The Edge AH Tomorrow.
A lot AH people. A lot AH people.
And, heaps AH time. Heaps AH time.
So, notice that with all “of”.
This’ll happen quite a bit, and you’ll sound a lot more natural if you start learning to turn “of” into “OH” or “AH” if the next word that follows “of” starts with a consonant sound.
The next point that I want to make is that the word “the”, when it is followed by another word that starts with a vowel sound, quite often we will link these two with a Y sound.
And the pronunciation of “the” or “the” turns into “the”.
So, for example, I don’t say “the iceberg”, because I kind of have to stop my voice there.
The iceberg. I say “the iceberg”, “the iceberg”.
And, I link with a Y kind of sound. The_y_iceberg. The_y_iceberg.
So, here are five examples, guys, where “the” is followed by a vowel, and we link it with a Y sound. Yeh, yeh, yeh.
Listen & Repeat:
So, that’s a really good point as well.
Any time you have the word “the” followed by another word that starts with a vowel sound, iceberg, animal, elephant etc., we’ll link “the” with a Y to the next vowel.
The_y_iceberg. The_y_animal. The_y_elephant. The_y_ant. The_y_octopus.
So, that’s today’s episode guys. I hope you enjoyed it.
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So, with that guys, I hope you have an absolutely awesome weekend.
And, for everyone looking forward to the next episode of Game of Thrones that’s coming out on Monday.
It’s going to be epic! S’gonna be epic!
Anyway, guys, we can chat about that next time. See you later.
Sorry I drank so much coffee this morning and I’m all pepped up.
Catch you later, guys!