Objectives: – To discuss the characteristics of idioms; – To explain their classification and uses. Teaching focus : – The characteristics of idioms – The classification of ideoms – The uses of idioms
Definition Idiom is a set expression made up of two or more words; it functions as a unit of meaning which cannot be predicted from its literal meaning of its component words. 作为一个 意义单位使用的，意义不能从其独立的组 成部分得出的一种表达法。 For example, the idiom “ show the white feather ” means “ to show fear ”, and the meaning of this idiom has nothing to do with “ feather ”.
1. Characteristics of idioms 1. Semantic unity 语义的整体性 Each idiom is a semantic unity. The semantic unity can be reflected by the fact that the meaning of an idiom is very often not the total sum of the meanings of the constituent words. The semantic unity can also be shown in the illogical relations between the literal meanings of the constituent words and the meaning of the idiom.
2. Structural stability 结构的固定性 Structural stability means that the structure of an idiom usually remains unchangeable. In other words, the constituent components of an idiom can not, generally speaking, be replaced.
1)The constituents of idioms cannot be changed or replaced. 习语的成分不能替换。 2)The word order cannot be inverted or changed. 习语的词序不可更换。 3)The constituents of an idiom cannot be deleted or added to, not even an article. 习语 的构成成分不可增减，即使是冠词也不行。 4) Ｍ any idioms are grammatically unanalysable. 很多习语在语法上是不可分析的。
9. 2 Classification of idioms According to grammatical function, idioms can be divided into 5 types: 1) Idioms nominal in nature 名词性习语 : They function as nouns in a sentence: white elephant brain trust Jack of all trades
2) Idioms adjectival in nature 形容词性习语： They function as adjectives in a sentence. E.g.: cut and dried wide of the mark up in the air
3) Idioms verbal in nature 动词性习语： They function as verbs in a sentence. Ｅ.g.: put down to turn on get away with
4) Idioms adverbial in nature 副词性习语： They function as adverbials in a sentence: E.g.: tooth and nail 竭尽全力 in nothing flat 不久 through thick and thin 不顾艰难险阻
5)Sentence idioms 句子式习语： Such idioms are usually in complete sentential form. They are usually proverbs or sayings. E.g.: Never do things by halves. All is not gold that glitters.
9.3 Use of idioms 1. Stylistic features Different idioms show different stylistic meanings. Some are casual, others formal, still others neural in style. The same idiom may show stylistic differences when denoting different meanings.
1) Colloquialism 带口语色彩的习语 E.g.: hang in (there) 坚持 2) Slang 俚语 E.g.:cancer stick 香烟 3) Literary expressions 带书面语色彩的习语 E.g.: come to pass 发生
2. Rhetorical features (1) Phonetic manipulation 语音的调节 a. alliteration such as “ chop and change ” 押头韵 b. rhyme such as "toil and moil ” 押尾韵
(2)Lexical manipulation 词语的使用 a. reiteration, which means the duplication of synonyms such as “ chop and change ”. 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 ”. 反义词对举
(3) Semantic manipulation 语义配搭 a. simile: as proud as a peacock as mute as a fish b. metaphor: white elephant black sheep c. metonymy: velvet glove in the cradle d. synecdoche: earn one's bread fall into good hands e. personification: Failure is the mother of success Actions speak louder than words. f. euphemism:
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) Deplacement: 替换 "wash one's clean linen in public" from "wash one's dirty linen in public “ 5) Shortening: 压缩 the last straw= It is the last straw that breaks the camel ’ s back. 6) Dismembering: 分解