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English Lexicology English Idioms. Week 14 Instructor: Liu Hongyong. Review: different types of verbs. verbs intransitive transitive ditransitive unergative unaccusative middle un ergative: 非作格动词 middle: 中间动词
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English LexicologyEnglish Idioms Week 14 Instructor: Liu Hongyong
Review: different types of verbs verbs intransitive transitive ditransitive unergative unaccusative middle unergative:非作格动词 middle: 中间动词 ergative:作格动词 unaccusative:非宾格动词
Is each of the following items a lexeme, a phrase, or a clause? Warming-up till the cows come home a feather in one’s cap the apple of one’s eye kick the bucket bury the hatchet put up with watch out throw cold water on turn on/off put all one’s eggs in one basket How many words does each of these chunks contain?
The Lexicon root derivational affix idiom functional affix
Morphological Processes Compounding Inflection Derivation
Overview • Characteristics of idioms • Classification of idioms • Use of idioms
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 word—an adverb meaning “forever.”
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
Characteristics of idioms 2. Structural stability Many idioms are grammatically wrong, but idiomatically accepted. Long time no see. Like cures like. Go great guns.
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)
Classification of idioms According to grammatical function, idioms can be divided into 5 types: 1) Nominal idioms—subject and objects 2) Adjectival idioms—complements 3) Verbal idioms—predicates 4) Adverbial idioms—adverbials 5) Sentence idioms
Idioms nominal in nature • They function as the subject or the object in a sentence: • a white elephant (沉重的负担, 无用的累赘东西) • brain trust • apple of discord (祸根) • the salt of the earth • What is the apple of discord for this disaster?
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.
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
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.
Idioms verbal in nature Verbal idioms may also function as predicates. keep the pot boiling（维持生活） bite the hand that feeds one（恩将仇报） give sb. the bag (解雇某人） John ate an apple. Predicate verb: ate Predicate: ate an apple
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.
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.
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.
1) Colloquialism带口语色彩的习语 big wheel: Chomksy is a big wheel in linguistics. 2) Slang俚语 cancer stick hit the sack in the soup: I am deep in the soup now. 3) Literary expressions 带书面语色彩的习语 come to pass: take place; happen bear witness to: prove, show His action bore witness to his kindness.
Rhetorical features Apart from the stylistic features, idioms can bring about certain rhetorical effects in terms of sound and meaning. (1) Phonetic manipulation 音韵手段 a. alliteration such as “part and parcel” 押头韵 b. rhyme such as "toil and moil” 押尾韵
(2) Lexical manipulation词语手段 a. Reiteration, which means the duplication of synonyms such as “pick and choose”. 同义词迭用 b. Repetition, which means the repetition of the same word, such as “by and by”. 词语重复 c. Juxtapostion, which means the combination of two antonyms such as “day and night”. 并置对举
(3) Figurative manipulation 修辞手段 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 one’s pen d. Personification Failure is the mother of success. Actions speak louder than words. e. Hhyperbole a world of troubles a flood of tears
Structural Variations • Despite the property of structural stability, idioms occasionally do show structural changes in terms of • Addition • Deletion • Replacement • Position-shifting • Dismembering
3. Variations of idioms 1) Addition:增加 “in good condition” from “in condition” 2) Deletion: 减少 “the last straw” from “It is the last straw that breaks the camel's back.” 3) Position-shifting: 位置替换 day and night = night and day 4) Replacement:替换 “lose heart” vs. “take heart” “break one’s word” vs. “keep one’s word”
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