Secrets of english idioms
STRUCTURE OF IDIOMS
Most idioms are unique and fixed in their grammatical structure. The expression to sit on the fence cannot become to sit on a fence or to sit on the fences. However, there are many changes that can be made to an idiom.
Some of these changes result in a change in the grammatical structure that would generally be considered to be wrong. To be broken literally means that something is broken. The lamp is broken so I cannot easily read my book. To be broke is grammatically incorrect but it has the idiomatic meaning of to have no money. I am broke and I cannot go to a movie tonight. There can also be changes in nouns, pronouns or in the verb tenses. I sat on the fence and did not give my opinion. Many people are sitting on the fence and do not want to give their opinion. Adjectives and adverbs can also be added to an idiomatic phrase. The politician has been sitting squarely in the middle of the fence since the election. Many idioms are similar to expressions in other languages and can be easy for a learner to understand. Other idioms come from older phrases which have changed over time. To hold one’s horses means to stop and wait patiently for someone or something. It comes from a time when people rode horses and would have to hold their horses while waiting for someone or something. «Hold your horses,» I said when my friend started to leave the store. Other idioms come from such things as sports that are common in the United Kingdom or the United States and may require some special cultural knowledge to easily understand them. To cover all of one’s bases means to thoroughly prepare for or deal with a situation. It comes from the American game of baseball where you must cover or protect the bases. I tried to cover all of my bases when I went to the job interview. The development of the language is always connected with the development of society. In this context, it will be of great interest to see the relationship between history and language. Perhaps the most obvious demonstration of this relationship will come from identification and analysis of those idioms, which reflect American history or rather American culture of this, or that historic period. Studying idioms many authors call attention to the fact that they can more easily than other language units cumulate and store facts about the past, cultural semantics of a nation, traditions, customs, folklore, etc. because of the so called «cumulative» function of a language.
DIFFERENCES AND USAGE IN AMERICAN ENGLISH AND BRITISH ENGLISH
How then does American English differ from British English in the use of idioms? There are no radical differences in actual use. The main differences are in the situations where idiomatic expressions are used. There have been many studies recently on this subject. American English adopts and creates new idioms at a much faster rate compared to British English. Also the idioms of American origin tend to spread faster and further. After it has first been established in the U. S., an American idiom may soon be found in other «variants» and dialects of English. Nowadays new British idioms tend to stay on the British Isles and are rarely encountered in the U. S. British idioms are actually more familiar to other Europeans or to the people of the British Commonwealth than to Americans, even though the language is same.
- According to MulinEnglish is a very popular international language. It is studied in all countries. When we study English, we can often hear the expressions, the meaning of which is very difficult to catch, despite the fact that we know the translation of all compound words. Such expressions are called idioms. Idioms are an integral part of any language. They show all the history of the country, the history of the development of language, different cultural phenomena and the relation of the speaker to them.
- N. Petrichits, idioms (or set expressions) play an important role in every language, they are used both in written and spoken speech. According to A.V.Kunin, idioms are highly informative units of any language; they can’t be considered as ‘decorations’. Set expressions are one of the linguistic universals, as there are no languages without idioms. English phraseology is very rich
- The teaching of idioms raises a number of challenging practical and research-related questions. Moon, R researchers such as Fernando (1996), Wray (1999), and Schmitt (2000) equate mastery of idioms with successful language learning and native speaker fluency—a perception that many language learners share and that often translates into a desire to acquire as many idioms as possible.
4.The majority of research on idioms has looked at them as a lexical phenomenon that is equally relevant across registers of English. More recently, however, attention has been directed toward idioms as a more register-specific linguistic feature.
- This research has shown, for one, that idioms occur in academic speech and are not as rare
a phenomenon as they might appear when taken as a whole. Secondly, the distribution of idioms in the subgenres of academic speech seems not to be predictable on the basis of categories of either level of interactiveness or academic division.
- Idiom is a phrase or expression whose total meaning differs from the meaning of the individual words. For example, to blow one’s top (get angry) and behind the eight ball (in trouble) are English-language idioms. Idioms come from language and generally cannot be translated literally (word for word).
- There is no pedagogy exclusive to idioms; most research suggests using a wide range of techniques. Teachers can rest assured that most vocabulary teaching strategies will be applicable to idioms as well. An important first step is exposing students to idioms in context. Students should be encouraged to infer the meaning of the idiom by using contextual clues, conceptual knowledge, and first language equivalents
- “Idiom” is not originally an English word — it is one of the many that have come into the language from Greek. “Idiom” means “one of a kind” and indicates that a phrase is being used with a special meaning that can be very different to the literal meaning.
|What is an idiom?||Definition of an idiom||Idiom|
|Are idioms worth teaching, and, if so, why?||Learning idioms||Learn|
|If idioms should be taught, which of the thousands in English should be included in any particular course ?||Important idioms||Include|
|How is it easier to remember idioms?||Ways to remember||Easy|
|How often do you use idioms in your native language?||Using idioms||Use|
Analytical table 1
Analytical table 2
|1. Idiom||“is the study of set or fixed expressions”|
|2. Learn||“Will make the speech expressive”|
|3. Include||“ idioms in the literary language”|
|4. Easy||“search for analogies”|
We offered students a number of English idioms and asked them to write the meanings of idioms in Kazakh and also indicate how often they use them in oral and written speech
Results of the survey «English idioms and their meanings in Kazakh»
|An idiom in English||Meaning of the idiom in Kazakh||Student actions|
|They know the meaning of the idiom||They gave a literal translation||They didn ‘t answer|
|it’s raining cats and dogs||Лить как из ведра||1||1%||55||91%||4||8%|
|have a sweet tooth||Быть сладкоежкой||5||8%||52||86%||3||6%|
|wear one’s heart upon one’s sleeve||Душа нараспашку||0||0%||10||16%||50||84%|
|spill the beans||Раскрыть секреты||0||0%||35||58%||25||42%|
|an elephant in the room||Простая истина||0||0%||60||100%||0||0%|
|have a finger in the pie||Быть в чем-то замешанным||0||0%||58||96%||2||4%|
|put your foot in your mouth||Сказать что-то необдуманно||1||1%||47||78%||12||22%|
|be full of beans||Быть полным энергии||0||0%||51||85%||9||15%|
|hit the ceiling/roof||Быть очень злым||0||0%||48||80%||12||20%|
|apple in someone’s eyes||Любимчик||0||0%||12||29%||48||80%|
After all, visiting an English-speaking country without knowing the idioms, you doom yourself to misunderstanding, since you will not be able to perceive either jokes or expressions. Idioms reflect almost all aspects of our life, in the form of a list of stable expressions. Learning English idioms enhances the understanding of the language, helps to understand the national culture of the country, helps to make speech figurative and emotional.
Here is an example of frequently used idioms:
- be snowed under – быть перегруженным работой
– Hi, Mary! Let’s go to the restaurant today!
– Hi, Tom! I am so sorry,
but I am snowed under with work.
- cost a fortune– стоить целое состояние
– I would prefer that one.
– You must be joking! It costs a fortune!
- around the clock– круглосуточно
- Besides, you sometimes work there around the clock.
– Do you think that he will give me one more chance?
- be as busy as a bee– трудиться, как пчела
- And what about Judy?
- I like her. She is always as busy as a bee.
The English language is very rich in idiomatic expressions that are constantly found in literature, in newspapers, in films, in radio and television broadcasts, as well as in every daily communication of the British, Americans, Canadians, Australians. English idiomatics, very diverse, is quite difficult for English language learners. There are no languages known to science that do not have idioms, phraseological phrases, proverbs and sayings at all. But the English language bypassed everyone.
Examples of phraseological units can be given indefinitely. It seems that their stock is not exhausted, as the resources of different peoples with their most interesting traditions are inexhaustible and rich. We, now using various idiomatic combinations, simply use those weighty stamps that our distant ancestors beat out for us. And for our part, we are now preparing new stamps for our descendants. However, we ourselves do not realize this. And I would like to hope that we will enrich the speech of future generations not only with stationery stamps and foreign words.
So, in order for idioms to be remembered quickly and efficiently, you need:
1) Find a match in your native language, pay attention to the differences and remember the whole expression using the comparison method;
2) If there are no correspondences in the native language, remember the expression and its meaning in its entirety, paying attention to the style of speech and the context of use.
And finally, when communicating in English or another foreign language, use its idioms, learn more about native speakers with their help, and at some point you will definitely hear: “Your English is very idiomatic!”
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