Partial transference of meaning of idioms in English and Ukrainian

Essentials of English Phraseology N.N. Amosova. Phraseological units as units of fixed context and separation into phrasemes and idioms. The full transference as idiomaticity. The metaphor as figure of speech. The comparison, major figures of speech.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид практическая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 01.04.2013
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Ministry of education and science, youth and sport of Ukraine

Kyiv National Linguistic University

Project Work in English Theoretical Grammar

Partial transference of meaning of idioms in English and Ukrainian

Kateryna Grabovs'ka

Group 402

Translators'/Interpreters' Department

Kyiv 2013

1. Theoretical foundation of the problem

Languages differ greatly in their idiomaticity in the forms they have adopted, the combinative power of words and their lexico-semantic combinability.

Phraseology is a term of wide inclusion but seems preferable for describing various structural and semantic types of phrases characterized by different degrees of stability and idiomaticity in a given language. The basic unit of phraseology is phraseological unit, it is a generic term, because it includes idioms, set phrases, word equivalents. The essential features of phraseological units are: lack of semantic motivation; lexical and grammatical stability.

In Essentials of English Phraseology N.N. Amosova defines phraseological units as units of fixed context, i.e. phrases with a specific and stable sequence of certain lexical components and peculiar semantic relations between them.

In these terms, phraseological units are classified into phrasemes and idioms. Phrasemes are binary phrases in which one of the components has a phraseologically bound meaning dependent on the other, e.g. bosom friend, husband's tea.

Idioms as distinguished from phrasemes are characterized by the integral meaning and idiomaticity of the whole word-group, e.g. : red tape (bureaucratic methods), to smell a rat (to suspect something wrong). An idiom or idiomatic phrase is often defined as a phrase, developing a meaning which cannot be readily analyzed into the several semantic elements which would ordinarily be expressed by the words making up the phrase, e.g.: to kick the bucket (to die).

Word equivalent stresses the functioning of a phraseological unit as if it were one word, irrespective the number of its component.

Set phrase stresses the stability of the componential structure of a phraseological unit, that is not word within a phraseological unit can be replaced into synonym, hyponym, antonym.

Semantic stylistic features contracting set expressions into units of fixed context are simile, contrast, metaphor and synonymy. For example: as like as two peas (схожі як дві краплі води), as old as the hills and older then the hills (старий як світ) (simile); from beginning to end, for love or money; more or less, sooner or later (contrast); a lame duck, to swallow the pill, in a nutshell (metaphor); by leaps and bounds, proud and haughty (synonym). A few more combinations of different features in the same phrase are: as good as gold, as pleased as Punch, as fit as a fiddle (alliteration, simile); now or never, to kill or cure (alliteration and contrast). More rarely there is an international pun: as cross as two sticks means “very angry”. This play upon words makes the phrase jocular. The comic effect is created by the absurdity of the combination making use of two different meanings of the word cross adjective and noun.

The meaning of phraseological units can be fully or partially transformed. The full transference means idiomaticity. Idiomaticity is the quality of phraseological unit, when the meaning of the whole is not deducible from the sum of the meanings of the parts. Idiomaticity and stability are regarded as two different aspects of word-groups. Stability of a phraseological unit implies that it exists as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow of any variability of its lexical components of grammatical structure, e.g. all the word and his wife, calf love, to gild the pill.

The partial transference means that at least one of the components is used in its literal meaning. This happens in similes. Adjectives are used in their literal, e.g. as old as the hills, as mad as a hatter. The names of animals is figurative, e.g. as brave as a lion, as busy as a bee.

Simile is a figure of speech involving a comparison between two unlike entities. In the simile, unlike the metaphor, the resemblance is explicitly indicated by the words “like” or “as.” The common heritage of similes in everyday speech usually reflects simple comparisons based on the natural world or familiar domestic objects, as in “He eats like a bird,” “He is as smart as a whip,” or “He is as slow as molasses.” In some cases the original aptness of the comparison is lost, as in the expression “dead as a doornail”

Metaphor is a figure of speech that implies comparison between two unlike entities. The distinction is not simple. The metaphor makes a qualitative leap from a reasonable, perhaps prosaic comparison, to an identification or fusion of two objects, to make one new entity partaking of the characteristics of both. Many critics regard the making of metaphors as a system of thought antedating or bypassing logic.

Speakers and writers use similes to emphasize a certain characteristic of a thing. The comparison made in a simile is often unusual. The listener or reader can form a mental image of the comparison. This increases understanding of what the speaker or writer is trying to communicate.

Similes can include other figures of speech. For example, "He ran like greased lightning" is a simile that includes hyperbole (greased lightning).

Similes often make use of irony or sarcasm. In such cases they may even mean the opposite of the adjective used. Look at these examples:

His explanation was as clear as mud.

The film was about as interesting as watching a copy of Windows download.

Watching the show was like watching paint dry

Similes are often found (and they sometimes originate) in poetry and other literature. Here are a few examples:

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle (Irina Dunn)

Happy as pigs in mud (David Eddings)

So are you to my thoughts as food to life (William Shakespeare)

Yellow butterflies flickered along the shade like flecks of sun (William Faulkner). The idiomatic aspect of a language has always been the most difficult part for a foreigner to master. A study of English phraseology, precise in force, vivid and rich in scope, shows how idiomatic turns of expression lend variety and expressivity to the language.

A study of idiomatic peculiarities is highly useful not only as an aid in immediate difficulties but as an effective means to extend the practical knowledge of the language.

Key words and expressions from the text:

binary - подвійний, бінарний

simile - порівняння

deducible from - форма, походження якої можна встановити

figurative - переносний, зображальний

explicitly - точність, ясність

aptness - доречність, доцільність

entity - суть, сутність

vivid - яскравий

scope - межі, рамки

idiomaticity - ідіоматичність

phraseological unit - фразеологічна одиниця

phraseology idiom metaphor comparison

2. Interpretation of the text

Exercise 1. Match the definitions with the terms

1) phraseological units

a) are binary phrases in which one of the components has a phraseologically bound meaning dependent on the other

2) phrasemes

b) is the quality of phraseological unit, when the meaning of the whole is not deducible from the sum of the meanings of the parts.

3) idiom

c) a figure of speech that implies comparison between two unlike entities.

4) idiomaticity

d) a figure of speech involving a comparison between two unlike entities. indicated by the words “like” or “as.”

5) stability

e) as units of fixed context, i.e. phrases with a specific and stable sequence of certain lexical components and peculiar semantic relations between them.

6) simile

f) often defined as a phrase, developing a meaning which cannot be readily analyzed into the several semantic elements which would ordinarily be expressed by the words making up the phrase

7) metaphor

g) exists as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow of any variability of its lexical components of grammatical structure

- e) 3) - f) 5) - g) 7) - c)

- a) 4) - b) 6) - d)

Exercise 2. Insert the words missing in the text

Metaphor transformed comparison idiomaticity animals phraseological unit literal meaning calf stability

The meaning of phraseological units can be fully or partially 1)_______. The full transference means 2)_______. Idiomaticity is the quality of 3)____________, when the meaning of the whole is not deducible from the sum of the meanings of the parts. Idiomaticity and stability are regarded as two different aspects of word-groups. 4)__________of a phraseological unit implies that it exists as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow of any variability of its lexical components of grammatical structure, e.g. all the word and his wife, 5)_____love, to gild the pill.

The partial transference means that at least one of the components is used in its 6)____________. This happens in similes. Adjectives are used in their literal, e.g. as old as the hills, as mad as a hatter. The names of 7)_______is figurative, e.g. as brave as a lion, as busy as a bee.

Simile is a figure of speech involving a 8)________between two unlike entities. In the simile, unlike the 9)______, the resemblance is explicitly indicated by the words “like” or “as.”

Keys:

transformed 6) literal meaning

idiomaticity 7) animals

phraseological unit 8) comparison

stability 9) metaphor

calf

Exercise 3. Answer the questions

What is the basic unit of phraseology?

Name the essential features of phraseological units.

What do you know about set phrases?

What does the partial transference means?

How can we distinguish between simile and metaphor?

Why do we use simile?

Why the idiomatic aspect of a language has always been the most difficult part for a foreigner to master?

3. Practical assignments

Exercise 1. Insert these adjectives into the sentences below

thin

fast

blind

black

sharp

noisy

light

wise

flat

pale

slippery

colourful

That's a pretty dress! It's as _____________ as a rainbow.

Without his glasses, he's as ____________ as a bat.

He's really smart. He's as __________________ as an owl.

It doesn't weigh much. It's as __________________ as air.

Be quiet. You are as ______________ as a herd of elephants.

Don't touch that broken glass. It's as ______________ as a razor.

Are you feeling sick? You are as ______________ as a ghost.

She is so skinny. She's as _______________ as a toothpick.

Her hands are dirty. They are as ________________ as night.

I can't grab it. It's as _______________ as an eel.

She's quick. She's as _______________ as lightning.

After he squished it, it was as _______________ as a pancake.

Keys:

colourful 3) wise 5) noisy 7) pale 9) black 11) fast

blind 4) light 6) sharp 8) thin 10) slippery 12) flat

Exercise 2. Many of the most common similes compare people to animals. Fill in the blanks with the animal most commonly used for that simile

owl

bat

eel

snail

dog

ox

bee

bunny

lark

mouse

lamb

mule

1) I couldn't grab it. It's as slippery as an ________________.

2) Look at her go! She's as quick as a ________________.

3) She'll know the answer. She's as wise as an ________________.

4) This computer is terrible. It's as slow as a ________________.

5) I can't talk right now. I'm as busy as a ________________.

6) Don't worry about him. He's as gentle as a ________________.

7) Get him to lift it. He's as strong as an ________________.

8) He can't see a thing. He's as blind as a ________________.

9) He'll never change his mind. He's as stubborn as a ______________.

10) I can't go to school today. I'm as sick as a ________________.

11) She's in good spirits today. She's as happy as a ________________.

12) I can't hear you. You are as quiet as a ________________.

Keys:

1) eel 4) snail 7) ox 10) dog

2) bunny 5) bee 8) bat 11) lark

3) owl 6) lamb 9) mule 12) mouse

Exercise 3. Match similes with the definitions

1) as sharp as a knife

a) precious

2) as cold as ice

b) to smoke heavily, all the time

3) like golddust

c) disgusting

4) to sleep like a log

d) to drink a lot

5) to smoke like a chimney

e) to fly high and free

6) as light as a feather

f) to sleep well and soundly

7) like garbage

g) entangled

8) like a tip

h) very strong

9) to drink like a fish

i) very untidy

10) to soar like an eagle

j) to work very hard

11) like a rose

k) very sharp

12) like spaghetti

l) wonderful, incredible

13) to work like a dog

m) beautiful

14) like a dream

n) very light

15) as strong as a bull

o) very cold

Keys:

1) - k) 6) - n) 11) - m)

2) - o) 7) - c) 12) - g)

3) - a) 8) - i) 13) - j)

4) - f) 9) - d) 14) - l)

5) - b) 10) - e) 15) - h)

The literature used

1. Arnold I.V. The English Word. - М.: Высшая школа, 1986. - 295 с.

2. Ganetska L.V. Lexi-Maker: Modern English Lexicology in Tables, Figures, and Exercises. - К.: Ленвіт, 2004. - 96 с.

3. Ginsburg R.S. and others. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. - М.: Высшая школа, 1979. - 269 c.

4. Korunets I.V. Contrastive Typology of the English and Ukrainian Languages: Навчальний посібник. - Вінниця: Нова книга, 2003. - 464 с.

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