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English Lexicology English Idioms

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Title: English Lexicology English Idioms


1
English LexicologyEnglish Idioms
Week 14 Instructor Liu Hongyong
2
Review different types of verbs
verbs intransitive
transitive
ditransitive unergative unaccusative
middle unergative????? middle
???? ergative???? unaccusative?????
3
Warming-up
Is each of the following items a lexeme, a
phrase, or a clause?
  • till the cows come home
  • a feather in ones cap the apple of ones eye
  • kick the bucket bury the hatchet
  • put up with watch out
  • throw cold water on turn on/off
  • put all ones eggs in one basket

How many words does each of these chunks contain?
4
The Lexicon


root
derivational affix
idiom
functional affix
5
Morphological Processes


Inflection
Derivation
Compounding
6
Overview
  • Characteristics of idioms
  • Classification of idioms
  • Use of idioms

7
Characteristics of idioms
1. Semantic unity Each idiom is a single semantic
unity. The meaning of an idiom is opaque i.e.
the meaning of an idiom is not the total sum of
the meaning of its constituents. till the cows
come home The idiom functions as one wordan
adverb meaning forever.
8
Characteristics of idioms
2. Structural stability The structure of an idiom
usually remains unchangeable. In other words, the
constituent components of an idiom can not,
generally speaking, be changed or replaced by
other words. bury the hatchet bury
the ax in (the) question out of (the)
question
9
Characteristics of idioms
2. Structural stability Many idioms are
grammatically wrong, but idiomatically accepted.
Long time no see. Like cures like. Go great
guns.
10
Gradable idiomaticity
  • Notice the idiomaticity of idioms is gradable and
    may best be thought as a continuum.

rain cats and dogs
The more idiomatic the idioms, the more fixed the
structure.
idioms
as cool as a cucumber
semi-idioms
make friends with sb.
loosely idiomatic expressions (the meaning can
be understood from the literal meaning of the
constituents)
11
More examples
12
Classification of idioms
According to grammatical function, idioms can be
divided into 5 types 1) Nominal idiomssubject
and objects 2) Adjectival idiomscomplements
3) Verbal idiomspredicates 4) Adverbial
idiomsadverbials 5) Sentence idioms
13
Idioms nominal in nature
They function as the subject or the object in a
sentence a white elephant (?????, ???????)
brain trust apple of discord (??) the salt of
the earth What is the apple of discord for this
disaster?
14
Idioms adjectival in nature
They function as complements or modifiers in a
sentence. cut and dried (determined) wide of the
mark (irrelevant) up in the air (uncertain) The
plan is still up in the air. The plan is cut and
dried. He is as poor as a church mouse.
15
Idioms verbal in nature
  • They function as predicate verbs in a sentence.
  • Phrasal verb verb particle
  • look up put off
  • turn on put on
  • b) Prepositional verb verb preposition
  • look after look into
  • dig into pick up

16
Idioms verbal in nature
a) Phrasal verb verb particle b)
Prepositional verb verb preposition c)
Prepositional phrasal verb V particle
preposition
Diagnostics to different them Turn it
off. Turn off it. Turn the radio off. Turn off
the radio.
Diagnostics to different them Look him
after. Look after him. Look after the baby. Look
the baby after.
17
Idioms verbal in nature
Verbal idioms may also function as
predicates. keep the pot boiling (????) bite the
hand that feeds one (????) give sb. the bag
(????)
John ate an apple. Predicate verb
ate Predicate ate an apple
18
Idioms Adverbial in nature
They function as adverbials in a sentence
tooth and nail We will work tooth and
nail. heart and soul We will serve people heart
and soul. in nothing flat I will go there in
nothing flat. through thick and thin We made it
through thick and thin.
19
Sentence idioms
Such idioms are usually in complete sentential
form. They are usually proverbs or sayings. Never
do things by halves. All is not gold that
glitters. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. One
swallow does not make a summer.
20
Use of idioms
In order to use the idioms appropriately, one
should be aware of the following features of
idioms (1) stylistic features, (2) rhetorical
features, and (3) structural variations of
idioms. Stylistic features Different idioms
show different stylistic meanings. Some are
casual, others formal or neural in style.
21
  • 1) Colloquialism????????
  • big wheel Chomksy is a big wheel in linguistics.
  • 2) Slang??
  • cancer stick
  • hit the sack
  • in the soup I am deep in the soup now.
  • 3) Literary expressions ?????????
  • come to pass take place happen
  • bear witness to prove, show
  • His action bore witness to his kindness.

22
Rhetorical features
Apart from the stylistic features, idioms can
bring about certain rhetorical effects in terms
of sound and meaning. (1) Phonetic
manipulation ????    a. alliteration such as
part and parcel ??? b. rhyme such as "toil
and moil ???
23
  • (2) Lexical manipulation????
  • a. Reiteration, which means the duplication of
    synonyms such as pick and choose. ?????
  • b. Repetition, which means the repetition of the
    same word, such as by and by. ????
  • c. Juxtapostion, which means the combination of
    two antonyms such as day and night. ????

24
  • (3) Figurative manipulation ????
  • a. Simile 
  • as proud as a peacock as mute as a fish
  • b. Metaphor
  • a white elephant a black sheep
  • c. Metonymy
  • from cradle to grave live by ones pen
  • d. Personification
  • Failure is the mother of success.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • e. Hhyperbole
  • a world of troubles a flood of tears

25
Structural Variations
  • Despite the property of structural stability,
    idioms occasionally do show structural changes in
    terms of
  • Addition
  • Deletion
  • Replacement
  • Position-shifting
  • Dismembering

26
3. Variations of idioms
  • 1) Addition??
  • in good condition
  • from in condition
  • 2) Deletion ??
  • the last straw
  • from It is the last straw that breaks the
    camel's back.
  • 3) Position-shifting ????
  • day and night night and day
  • 4) Replacement??
  • lose heart vs. take heart
  • break ones word vs. keep ones word

27
Summary
  • kick the bucket ( die)
  • Here we have a single unit of meaning, which
    happens to consist of three words. The idiom
    thus is a multi-word lexeme.
  • Classification of idioms
  • Use of idioms
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