The Study on English Idioms by Western Culture

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 716
  • Published : November 30, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Abstract
The language is a part of the culture and the carrier of the culture at the same time. The culture can not get away from the language. The language can not get away from the culture, either. It is impossible to study a foreign language text without considering the culture it embodied. Idiom is the essence and crystallization of a language and culture. It is the summary of life experiences of the people in a particular district. Usually, it is short but it can reflect the special features of a certain culture. Therefore, the accurate understanding of the English idiom does not only involve the phonetic conversion but also involve the western cultural conversion. It requires that the learner know the western culture background well. This thesis tries to analyze the English idioms from the aspects of western history, geography, religious, customs etc. in order to reveal the significance of prying into the western culture while learner study English idioms.

Key words: idiom; western culture; study

摘 要
语言是文化的一部分同时秉承语言。语言亦不能脱离文化,反之亦然。学习外语是不可能不考虑其文化内涵的。习语是语言和文化的精华,是对指定地域人们生活经验的总结。通常痛过短小的形式来表达特定文化的特点。因此,对于英语习语的准确理解不仅涉及到语音转换,同时也涉及到西方文化的转换。它要求学生必须良好了解西方文化背景。本文试图通过分析从西方历史,地理,宗教,风俗习惯等方面的英语习语分析,向读者揭示英语习语学习过程中对于西方文化学习的重要意义。

关键词: 习语; 西方文化; 学习

Contents
Abstract
中文摘要
Contents
Introduction1
1. The influence of history1
1.1 The influence of Roman Conquest2
1.2 The influence of Teutonic Conquest3
1.3 The influence of Scandinavians Conquest4
1.4 The influence of Normandy Conquest4
1.5 The influence of wars5
2. The influence of geographical conditions5
3. The influence of customs7
3.1The influence of diet7
3.2 The influence of pets8
3.3 The influence of person names8
4. The influence of religion9
5. The influence of fables and mythologies11
6. The influence of the literary works12
7. The influence of the sports activities and entertainment14
Conclusion15
Bibliography17
Acknowledgements18

Introduction
Idioms are culturally loaded. A good knowledge of idioms will pave the way for a practical application of idioms. However, in daily communication, we usually don’t know why “Hobson’s choice” means no choice at all, “keep up with the Joneses” means to run after the fashion. So it is surely of great necessity to touch on the western culture. This will not only help students to comprehend the figurative meanings of idioms, but also add to the strength and vividness of our language. Now let’s have a careful study. English idiom is a beautiful gem of language as well as the crystallization of the development of language. For English idiom are English cultural treasures, the valuable products that English people create, and also an essential part of the general vocabulary. English idiom may be defined as a group of words with a special meaning different from the meanings of its constituent words. Webster’s New Dictionary of the American Language, 2nd college edition gives a definition of idioms as “an accepted phrase, construction, or expression contrary to the usual patterns of the language or having a meaning different from the language or having a meaning different from the literal”. According to the latest Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 3rd Edition, “Idiom is a phrase, construction or expression that is recognized as a unit in the usage of a given language and either differs from the usual syntactic patterns or has a meaning that differs from the literal meaning of its parts taken together.” They are semantically opaque. They are usually metaphorical rather than literal. So the meaning of “to rain cats and dogs” doesn’t mean cats and dogs are caught in the rain. Instead, it means “to rain very heavily”. Besides, they are syntactically stable and semantically united. The words in idiomatic expressions cannot, as a rule, be deleted, added to, replaced by synonymous words, or put in a different order, without affecting the meaning. For...
tracking img