English idioms
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9. English Idioms. What are idioms?. Pick out the idioms:

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English Idioms

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English idioms

9

English Idioms


What are idioms

What are idioms?

  • Pick out the idioms:

  • Sam is a real cool cat. He never blows his stack and hardly ever flies off the handle. What's more, he knows how to get away with things... Well, of course, he is getting on, too. His hair is pepper and salt, but he knows how to make up for lost time by taking it easy. He gets up early, works out, and turns in early. He takes care of the hot dog stand like a breeze until he gets time off. Sam's got it made; this is it for him.


What are idioms1

What are idioms?

  • Sam is a real cool cat. He never blows his stack and hardly ever flies off the handle. What's more, he knows how to get away with things... Well, of course, he is getting on, too. His hair is pepper and salt, but he knows how to make up for lost time by taking it easy. He gets up early, works out, and turns in early. He takes care of the hot dog stand like a breeze until he gets time off. Sam's got it made; this is it for him.


What are idioms2

What are idioms?

  • Sam is a real cool cat. He never blows his stack and hardly ever flies off the handle. What's more, he knows how to get away with things... Well, of course, he is getting on, too. His hair is pepper and salt, but he knows how to make up for lost time by taking it easy. He gets up early, works out, and turns in early. He takes care of the hot dog stand like a breeze until he gets time off. Sam's got it made; this is it for him.


What are idioms3

What are idioms?

  • a cool cat = a really calm person

  • blow one's stack = lose control over oneself

  • fly off the handle = become excessively angry

  • what's more = furthermore

  • get away with = commit an illegitimate act without penalty

  • of course = naturally


What are idioms4

What are idioms?

  • get on = get old

  • pepper and salt = grey (hair)

  • make up for = compensate for

  • lost time = time wasted

  • take it easy = relax, not worry

  • get up = rise from bed

  • turn in = go into bed


What are idioms5

What are idioms?

  • take care of = manage or look after

  • like a breeze = without effort or easily

  • time off = time for rest

  • get it made = be successful

  • this is it = be in a position or place, or have possession of an object beyond which more of the same is unnecessary


What are idioms6

What are idioms?

  • Sam is really a calm person. He never loses control of himself and hardly ever becomes too angry. Furthermore, he knows how to manage his business financially by using a few tricks…Needless to say, he, too, is getting older. His hair is beginning to turn grey, but he knows how to compensate for wasted time by relaxing. He rises early, exercises, and goes to bed early. He manages his frankfurter dispensary without visible effort, until it is someone else's turn to work there. Sam is successful, he has reached his life's goal.


What are idioms7

What are idioms?

  • Definition:

  • Idioms are set phrases or short sentences, which are peculiar to the language in question, and whose meanings are oftendifficult or impossible to deduce from the literal meanings of the constituents构件.


English idioms

9.1 Characteristics of Idioms


9 1 1 semantic unity

9.1.1 Semantic Unity

  • Example:

  • kick the bucket (V + N) = die

  • (functioning as a verb)

  • till the cows come home (Pron+N+V+Adv) = forever (functioning as an adv)

  • Each idiom is a semantic unity语义的整体性.

  • The meanings of the constituents do not contribute to the meaning of the whole.


9 1 1 semantic unity1

9.1.1 Semantic Unity

  • The semantic unity is also reflected in the illogical combination of the constituents.

  • wear one’s heart upon one’s sleeve = show one’s feelings openly

  • rain cats and dogs = rain heavily

  • wear the trousers = (of the wife) have overall control


9 1 2 structural stability

9.1.2 Structural Stability

  • Idioms are structurally stable.

  • Their structures are fixed to a large extent.

  • 1.The constituents cannot be changed.

  • kick the bucket

  • * strike the bucket

  • * kick the pail

  • * kick a bucket


9 1 2 structural stability1

9.1.2 Structural Stability

  • 2. The word-order cannot be changed.

  • by twos and threes 三三两两

  • * by threes and twos

  • the lion’s share 最大的份额

  • * the share of the lion


9 1 2 structural stability2

9.1.2 Structural Stability

  • 3. The constituents cannot be deleted or added to.

  • Diamond cut diamond.

  • * A diamond cutsa diamond.

  • out of the question = impossible

  • * out of question = impossible

  • out of question = undoubtedly


9 1 2 structural stability3

9.1.2 Structural Stability

  • 4. Many idioms are grammatically unanalyzable.

  • Diamond cut diamond.

  • * Diamond cuts diamond.

  • Like cures like.

  • * Like cure like.

  • as sure as eggs is eggs

  • * as sure as eggs are eggs


9 1 3 idiomaticity

9.1.3 Idiomaticity

  • Semantic unity and structural stability are closely related to idiomaticity习用度.

  • The higher the idiomaticity, the higher the stability and semantic unity.

  • (习语的)习用度越高, 其结构的稳定性和意义的整体性就越高。


9 1 3 idiomaticity1

9.1.3 Idiomaticity

  • Three levels of idiomaticity:

  • 1. Totally idiomatic:

  • the salt of the earth非常正派、诚实的人

  • writing on the wall 凶兆

  • The meaning cannot be deduced.


9 1 3 idiomaticity2

9.1.3 Idiomaticity

  • 2. Semi-idiomatic:

  • turn over a new leaf 改过自新

  • once in a blue moon 千载难逢

  • draw the curtain 隐蔽/藏

  • The meaning can be deduced to a certain extent.


9 1 3 idiomaticity3

9.1.3 Idiomaticity

  • 3. Somewhat idiomatic:

  • drink like a fish 牛饮

  • keep silence沉默

  • as cold as ice冰冷

  • The meaning is transparent.


9 2 classification of idioms

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • Criteria for classification:

  • 1. Idiomaticity

  • 2. Structure

  • 3. Origins

  • 4. Grammatical functions


9 2 classification of idioms1

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • 1. Noun idioms

  • Idioms function as nouns.

  • a baker’s dozen 十三个

  • Jack of all trades 万事通; 万京油


9 2 classification of idioms2

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • 2. Adjective idioms

  • Idioms function as adjectives.

  • high and mighty盛气凌人;趾高气扬

  • wide of the mark毫不沾边


9 2 classification of idioms3

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • 3. Verb idioms

  • Idioms function as verbs.

  • (1) Verb phrase动词短语

  • make friends

  • fall flat 大失所望; 残败

  • bite the hand that feeds one 以怨报德

  • get out


9 2 classification of idioms4

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • (2) Phrasal verbs短语动词

  • home in on

  • turn out

  • put down to

  • Each consists:

  • a verb + one or two particles


9 2 classification of idioms5

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • 4. Adverb idioms

  • Idioms function as adverbs.

  • bag and baggage 一应细软

  • in sport 闹着玩地


9 2 classification of idioms6

9.2 Classification of Idioms

  • 5. Sentence idioms

  • Idioms function as sentences: proverb, sayings, exclamations, etc.

  • Upon my word!我敢担保!

  • Well begun is half done.

  • Kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

  • 毁掉财路; 杀鸡取卵


English idioms

9.3 Use of Idioms


9 3 1 stylistic features

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • Most idioms are informal in nature as they are created by the working people in various situations.

  • plain sailing (海员)一帆风顺

  • wash one’s dirty linen in public (家庭主妇) 家丑外扬

  • have all one’s eggs in one basket (农夫)孤注一掷

  • hit below the belt (拳击手)卑劣;不正当手段


9 3 1 stylistic features1

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • A proportion of idioms are neutral.

  • Many are colloquial and slangy.

  • A very small number are literary.

  • Idioms are rarely used in very formal styles like legal language, business letter, government’s documents, etc.


9 3 1 stylistic features2

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • One and the same idiom may differ in style when used in different meanings.

  • screw up

  • Going to the dentist never seems to bother my wife, but I get terribly screwed up at the mere thought. (make …nervous, tense)

  • informal


9 3 1 stylistic features3

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • We should never have let the arrangements to Smithers. He screwed the whole thing up from start to finish. (mess up, mishandle)

  • slang


9 3 1 stylistic features4

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • With an impatient exclamation Peter screwed up the second draft of his letter to the bank and threw it into the wastepaper basket. (make into a tight ball in the hands)

  • neutral


9 3 1 stylistic features5

9.3.1 Stylistic Features

  • Some idioms are only confined to certain varieties.

  • beat sb hollow (BrE) 彻底打败

  • chilled to the marrow (BrE) 刺骨的冷

  • talk a blue streak (AmE) 滔滔不绝

  • on your own hook (AmE) 独立自主


9 3 2 rhetorical features

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • 1. Phonetic manipulation

  • (1) Alliteration

  • chop and change (keep changing one‘s opinion) 反复无常

  • toss and turn (keep turning from side to side) 碾转翻覆

  • neither fish, flesh, nor fowl (difficult to classify) 不伦不类


9 3 2 rhetorical features1

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (2) Rhyme

  • toil and moil (work hard and long; strive laboriously) 辛辛苦苦

  • by hook and by crook (by all means good and foul) 不择手段

  • There ‘s many a slip between the cup and the lip.茶到嘴边还有失。


9 3 2 rhetorical features2

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (3) Reiteration (duplication of synonyms)

  • pick and choose (select with much care or in a fussy way) 挑挑拣拣

  • odds and ends (remnants or things of little value) 零零碎碎


9 3 2 rhetorical features3

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (4) Repetition

  • out and out地地道道

  • all in all总而言之

  • word for word逐字逐句

  • shoulder to shoulder肩并肩


9 3 2 rhetorical features4

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (5) Juxtaposition (of antonyms)

  • move heaven and earth (do anything possible) 上天入地

  • back and forth来来往往

  • hit or miss中也好不中也罢

  • from start to finish自始至终


9 3 2 rhetorical features5

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (6) Simile

  • as graceful as a swan美如天鹅

  • like a rat in a hole如瓮中之鳖

  • (7) Metaphor

  • black sheep败家子

  • flat tire扫兴的人

  • fall from grace堕落


9 3 2 rhetorical features6

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (8) Metonymy

  • in the cradle 孩提时代

  • live by one‘s pen 靠写作为生

  • (9) Synecdoche

  • fall into good hands落入好人之手

  • two heads are better than one人多智广


9 3 2 rhetorical features7

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (10) Personification

  • Failure is the mother of success.

  • Actions speak louder than words.

  • 行动胜于雄辩。


9 3 2 rhetorical features8

9.3.2 Rhetorical Features

  • (11) Euphemism

  • sleep around乱搞男女关系

  • powder one's nose


9 3 3 variations of idioms

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • In actual use, particularly in mass media, popular press and in literary creation, idioms are often modified or reconstructed to achieve novelty or attract readers.

  • The result is variations of idioms.

  • The reconstruction is achieved by addition, deletion, replacement, position-shifting, dismembering.


9 3 3 variations of idioms1

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • 1. Replacement

  • (1) Verb

  • make [cut] a figure露头角

  • make [pull off] a great coup 一鸣惊人

  • (2) Noun

  • down in the bushes [mouth]垂头丧气

  • a drop in the ocean [bucket] 沧海一粟


9 3 3 variations of idioms2

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • (3) Adjectives

  • in good [high, fine, full] feather 兴高采烈; 身强力壮

  • on a large [big, vast] scale 大规模

  • (4) Adverb or preposition

  • drop in [over, by]偶然来访

  • give a handle for [to] 给人以把柄


9 3 3 variations of idioms3

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • (5) Article, pronoun, numeral

  • flea in one‘s [the] ear刺耳的话

  • lay a [one‘s] course制订计划

  • talk thirteen [nineteen] to the dozen 喋喋不休


9 3 3 variations of idioms4

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • 2. Addition or deletion

  • behind [the] bars坐牢,身陷囫囵

  • [for] all night

  • thank one‘s [lucky] stars 谢天谢地

  • from [the bottom of] one‘s heart 衷心地


9 3 3 variations of idioms5

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • 3. Position-shifting

  • day and night = night and day 夜以继日

  • pin back sb's ears = pin sb's ears back

  • do sb a favour = do a favour for sb

  • fortune‘s wheel = wheel of fortune 人生变迁


9 3 3 variations of idioms6

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • 4. Shortening

  • velvet paws = Velvet paws hide sharp claws. 口蜜腹剑

  • Jack of all trades = Jack of all trades and master of none. 万事通;万京油;杂而不精的人


9 3 3 variations of idioms7

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • 5. Dismembering

  • “The leopard! But he did change them, Dinny.”“He did not, Auntie; he had no spots to change.”

  • “本性不改的东西! 可是,迪尼,他竟然变了.”

  • “他没变,姑妈!他没有什么要改变的.”

  • The leopard never changes his spots.

  • 江山易改,本性难移。


9 3 3 variations of idioms8

9.3.3 Variations of Idioms

  • "Generally speaking, he is a misfit, a round peg in the squarest of holes."

  • 总的说来,他是不称职的,是工作安排最不恰当的一个。

  • a square peg in a round hole方枘圆凿


English idioms

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