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Basically I'm wondering if there is a concise way to represent the loss of understanding a foreigner would experience if they were to encounter an American idiom for the first time.

An example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjwofYhUJEM

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closed as off topic by Robert Cartaino Dec 3 '11 at 2:30

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You got an answer to get you started, but we're really trying to avoid using this site for "single word requests." If you have a particularly interesting problem to solve, all we ask is that you put a bit of effort and research into the question. See: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/1654/… or meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/2160/… – Robert Cartaino Dec 3 '11 at 2:30

As far as the question in the title of your question, I believe the word you are looking for is idiom.

idiom: 5.An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words

(from Wiktionary)

And what the foreigner would experience, your word is likely confusion.

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