Comparison Idioms Between English And Vietnamese
Đinh Lan Khánh
University of Pedagogy
As a foreign student learning English, comparison idioms are really a big problem for me as well as other learners. There are over 3000 idioms in the dictionary, so understanding and memorizing all of them are a hard issue. Some students, even though, live in America or England for such a long time, they are still unable to understand what the native people are saying. In a circle of students, native English speakers speak to other native speakers differently from the foreign students. And the foreign students here is unable to follow what they are saying to each other. More than that, comparison idioms are one of major aspects that can easily discourage a person in conversation with each other if he/she does not know what to imply. If somebody ask me: Is it necessary to study an idiom like “rain like cats and dogs”?, I will asnwer Yes because idioms are part of daily speech. It makes our utterances smoothly and transmit the information to listeners in a smart way. As a matter of fact, in this essay, we will firstly find a clear view of the definition of idioms and some structures to recognize a comparison idiom, then will be a part related to contrastive analysis; that is similarities and differences between english and Vietnamese comparison idioms; lastly, some problems and solutions of studying idioms may be important to learners.
Definition of idioms
Idioms have become very popular with the linguistic learners; however; not everyone can find the complete definition for this term. Each professor has his or her own assumption and we, the learners, have to consider much when we want to apply those idioms into study. For example, the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, idioms were defined as: “an expression which function as a single unit and whose meaning cannot be worked out from its separate parts.”. Moreover, with the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the writer defines idioms differently: “a phrase or sentence whose meaning is not clear from the meaning of its individual words and which must be learnt as a whole unit.” As we have seen, definition of idioms is quite different between the Longman Dictionary and Oxford one and maybe different from other books as well, but on reflection, they do not have much conflict, all of those share the basic idea: “they are words, phrases or expressions that cannot be taken literally; when used in everyday language, they have a meaning other than the basic one you would find in the dictionary.”. Learning them make understanding and using a language a lot easier and more fun. Structure used for comparing
Although we have worked out some definitions of idioms above, most of learners are still confused with the question: “How can we identify an idiom of comparison?”. Consequently, identification should be taken into consideration so as to have an insight into different types of idioms of comparison. There are various ways of identifying based on different criteria because the exploration is quite hard and unfeasible. Here are just two main ways that have been considered most: * Identification based on component words or phrases
* Identification based on grammatical structure
By word and phrase
With this aspect, idioms of comparison can be divided into three groups: * Comparison with adjectives
This kind of comparison can be constructed as the following structure: As + adjective + as + (a/an/the) Noun
It is used to describe the similarities between people, things or places. However, in this structure, the similarities are exposed in a clear way, explicitly rather than other structure. The meaning as well as the characteristics of the adjectives are conveyed symbolically through some related things in our lives so that people can easily think of when they come across those...