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A Study of English Idiomatic Expressions

  • Date Submitted: 01/01/2011 01:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.7 
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1. Introduction
    Idiomatic expressions include idioms, proverbs, colloquialisms and slangs, which are rich in cultural connotation. “Idiomatic expressions pervade English with a peculiar flavor and give it astounding variety, bright character and color. They help language learners understand English culture, penetrate into customs and lifestyle of English people, and make a deeper insight into English history.”(Linda Correli,2004). They are an important part of English language and also essential in daily verbal communication. So these special English idiomatic expressions about animals, fruits and vegetables and weekdays are keys for English learners to understand English culture.

2. Idiomatic expressions about animals
    Aesop’s Fables is a famous book in western countries and has many fables about animals, which has created many interesting idiomatic expressions about animals, such as a wolf in the sheep ‘s clothing , kill the goose that lays golden eggs, dog in the manger, the lion’s share. The lion’s share, which means “the largest or best part of sth.when it is divided” (陆谷松,2005:1020). For example, he got the lion’s share of his parent’s fortune.
    What is interesting is that when translating English idiomatic expressions about animals into Chinese, people sometimes should change the donotation of the idiomatic expressions to express the connotation of them. For example, ‘The lazy person says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” ‘(Bible/ The Old Testament/ Proverb, chapter:26), the lion in the way means a huge obstacle and its Chinese translation is “拦路虎”。Another example is drink like a fish , which means “to drink a lot of alcohol regularly”(陆谷松,2005:522), and its Chinese translation is “牛饮”。The black sheep is also this kind, which means “a person who is different from the rest of their family or another group, and who is considered bad or embarassing” (陆谷松,2005:158), its Chinese translation is “害群之马”. Why do people...

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