Patrick Wood , Instructor
R & R
21 November 2012
Internet Source for research paper
Idioms – Differences and Usage in American English and British English This is a short paper I wrote for an Introduction to American English course at the University of Tampere in 1999. My prof asked my permission to publish it online and after a few years I noticed that my paper had started live a life of its own. It was cited around the web and I found it in most unusual places. Since then the university cleaned their web pages and my paper was lost. A quick search on the web revealed that the full article is found on some Russian site, for whatever reason I do not know. And for some reason, they seem to have lost the references to its original author, me. So here it is again (I’ll add the original emphasis later): If you look up the word idiom in Webster, you will be given the following definition: Idiom is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent element as kick the bucket, hang one’s head etc., or from the general grammatical rules of language, as the table round for the round table, and which is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics. This definition seems a bit dry and doesn’t really tell anything about the function of idioms in English language. English is a language particularly rich in idioms – those modes of expression peculiar to a language (or dialect) which frequently defy logical and grammatical rules. Without idioms English would lose much of its variety and humor both in speech an writing. The background and etymological origins of most idioms is at best obscure. This is the reason why a study of differences between the idioms of American and British English is somewhat difficult. But it also makes the cases, where background, etymology and history are known, even more interesting. Some idioms of the “worldwide English” have first been seen in the works of...