注册 登录  
 加关注
   显示下一条  |  关闭
温馨提示!由于新浪微博认证机制调整,您的新浪微博帐号绑定已过期,请重新绑定!立即重新绑定新浪微博》  |  关闭

I'll always be here.

Memories stay.

 
 
 

日志

 
 

A Comparative Study of English and Chinese Idioms  

2009-12-13 17:04:43|  分类: 花中李的英语毕业 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

  下载LOFTER 我的照片书  |

Contents

Abstract
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-! 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
Introduction 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
Chapter one  Definition and Nature of Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
1.1 Definition of Idiom and !! 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.1.1 Definition of Idiom 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.1.2 Definition of !!± in Chines 14
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
1.2 Sources of English and Chinese Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.2.1 Idioms from Speech of the Common People 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.2.2 Idioms from Classical Works 
...........................................19
1.2.3 Idioms from Fables, Myths, and Legends 
............................................................20
1.2.4 Idioms from Historical Events 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
1.2.5 Idioms from Foreign Languages 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
.    1.3 Characteristics of Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
1.3.1 Semantic Unity 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
        1.3.2 Structural Stability 
!-!-!-!-!-!-.
1.3.3 Terseness in Diction and Simplicity in Structuring 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.3.4 Pervasiveness in Use 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
1.3.5 Strong Vitality  

!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
Chapter two  Metaphor and Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!
2.1 The Study of Metaphor from Rhetorical Perspective 
!-!-!-!-!-!-
2.2 The Study of Metaphor from Cognitive Perspective 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
2.2.1 Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
2.2.2 Blending Theory (BT) 
 !-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.2.3 Comment on CMT and BT 
!-!-!-!-!-!
2.3 Conceptual Metaphors in English and Chinese Idioms 
...!-!-!-...
2.3.1 Orientational Metaphor in English and Chinese Idioms 
!-...!-!-!-
2.3.2 Ontological Metaphor in English and Chinese Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.3.2.1 Personification 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.3.2.2 Container Metaphor 
!-!-...!-!-!-
2.3.3 Structural Metaphor in English and Chinese Idioms
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
2.4 Metaphor and Metonymy 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.5 Metaphor and Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.6 Metaphor and Culture 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
2.6.1 The Universality of Metaphor 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
2.6.2 The Cultural Specificity of Metaphor 
Chapter three  A Comparison of !°motion!± Metaphors in English and
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
 
Chinese Idioms: A Case Study
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
3.1 The Cognitive Analysis of Emotional Terms 
!-!-..
3.2 The Cognitive Comparison of English and Chinese Emotion Idioms 
3.2.1 Cognitive Comparison of !°Happiness!± Metaphors in English and Chines
 3

!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
Idioms 
3.2.2 Cognitive Comparison of !°Anger!± Metaphors in English and Chines
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
Idioms  
3.2.3 Cognitive Comparison of !°Fear!± Metaphors in English and Chines
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
Idioms 
3.2.4 Cognitive Comparison of !°Sadness!± Metaphors in English and Chines
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
Idioms 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
3.2.5 A Brief Summary
   !-!-!-..!-!
3.2.5.1 The Universality of !°Emotion!± Metaphors in Idio
   !-!-...
3.2.5.2 The Cultural Specificity of !°Emotion!± Metaphors in Idio 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
Conclusion 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-
Bibliography 
!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!-!
Acknowledgements  

 
Abstract
 
This thesis is an attempt to make a comparative study of English and Chinese
idioms conveying emotions with a cognitive linguistic approach. Metaphor in
traditional theories is only a figure of speech, or a rhetorical device, which is only a
matter of language, used to reinforce the expressive effect of linguistic expressions. In
the cognitive view, metaphor is not merely a matter of words but is rather a
fundamental mode of cognition affecting all human thought and action. Besides,
metaphor is closely related to people!ˉ experiences. The experience behind each
metaphor is specific to a culture, so metaphor reflects cultural accumulations of
specific speech communities. Idioms are an important part of language and culture, so
the universal human metaphorical thinking is inevitably reflected in idioms; on the
other hand, these metaphorical concepts are culture-specific in many aspects. 
The present thesis is divided into three chapters. Chapter one discusses the
definition, sources and characteristics of English and Chinese idioms. The idiom
means a kind of set phrases or sentences, which, like a stock expression, are often
quoted by the common people. The chief sources of idioms are speech of the common
people, ancient legends and fables, historical events, classical works, and foreign
languages. Both English and Chinese idioms have the features of semantic unity,
structural stability, terseness in diction, pervasiveness and strong vitality in use. 
Chapter two first reviews the study of metaphor from rhetorical and cognitive
perspectives. The traditional view treats metaphor merely as a figure of speech with
no cognitive function. In the cognitive view, metaphor is not to be seen as merely a
matter of words, but a cognitive phenomenon. The essence of metaphor is
understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another (Lakoff &
Johnson, 1980:5). Our ordinary conceptual system by means of which we live, think
and act is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. The cognitive view is developed in
two major theories, namely Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Blending
Theory (BT), which are largely complementary. In this thesis the author adopts CMT 

as the cognitive approach to study idioms. Then the conceptual metaphors in English
and Chinese are analyzed. Orientational, ontological and structural metaphors exist
pervasively in both languages, which are illustrated by English and Chinese idioms.
Like metaphor, metonymy is not just a figure of speech in literature, but a powerful
cognitive tool for our conceptualization of abstract categories. People are able to
make sense of the figurative meaning of many unfamiliar idioms precisely because
they can rely on the metaphorical interpretation of these expressions. Setting out from
culture, the origins of most metaphorical expressions can be identified, and some of
the differences can be explained by cultural specificity.
In chapter three, a cognitive comparison of !°emotion!± metaphors in English an
Chinese idioms is made. The author analyzes the metaphorical expressions of four
basic human emotions (happiness, anger, fear and sadness) in idioms. The analysis
reveals that there are same conceptual metaphors for emotions in English and Chinese
idioms. This is caused by the universal cognitive mode and experience of human
beings. On the other hand, the !°emotion!± taphors in idioms are to a great extent
nation-specific and culture-loaded.
In summary, this thesis reviews the studies of metaphor in the past, and then
applies the cognitive theory to the understanding of idioms. On the basis of this theory,
conceptual metaphors in English and Chinese idioms conveying emotions are
collected and analyzed to find out the reasons for their existence and similarities and
differences in different languages.   
 
Key words: English and Chinese idioms, cognition, metaphor, emotions 
 
 

Introduction
 
In the traditional view, metaphor is a deviant form of language used only as a
kind of rhetorical device to embellish language. This view has exerted great influence
on rhetoricians in their explanation of metaphor for over two thousand years. The
cognitive function of metaphors was not recognized and emphasized until 1980s
although it had been regarded as one way of cognition. Lakoff and Johnson point out
that the metaphors come out of our clearly delineated and concrete experiences and
allow us to construct highly abstract and elaborate concepts. Summarizing their own
experiences, people tend to describe and comprehend unfamiliar things with familiar
concepts so as to know about themselves and the things around them. Virtually,
metaphor is the process of one cognitive field mapped onto another. 
Idioms are an important part of the language and culture of a nation. Refined and
sanctified by long usage idioms have been described as the crystallization of language,
and their proper use in a language is often a mark of a person!ˉs command of the
language. Idioms are important in cultures as well as in languages. Like a mirror,
idioms vividly reflect the social systems, customs and life philosophy during various
historical periods of a nation. The study of idioms is indispensable to the study of
English and Chinese cultures and languages, thus has aroused wide concern in
linguistic circles at home and abroad.
In traditional linguistics, idioms were seen as arbitrary!asequences of words that
can mean anything at all. The study of  idiomaticity failed to acknowledge the
metaphorical roots of many idioms because scholars tended to examine only a few of
these conventional phrases, such as kick the bucket. As researchers began to examine
idioms more broadly, and sought greater generalizations in their linguistic analyses,
they found that many idioms were indeed partly analyzable and motivated by
enduring conceptual metaphors (Gibbs, 1994; Lakoff, 1987a). Their meaning is
motivated by the metaphorical mapping and certain conventional mental images. We
may refer to such idioms as !°metaphorical idioms.!± Each metaphorical idiom come
 

with a conventional mental image and knowledge about that image. A conventional
metaphorical mapping maps the source-domain knowledge onto target-domain
knowledge.
Metaphorical idioms are philosophically important in a number of ways: First,
they show something important about meaning, namely, that words designate portions
of conventional mental images. Second, they show that mental images do not
necessarily vary wildly from person to person. Instead, there are conventional mental
images that are shared across a large proportion of the speakers of a language. Third,
they show that a significant part of cultural knowledge takes the form of conventional
images and knowledge about those images, each of us appear to have thousands of
conventional images as part of our long-term memory. Fourth, they open the
possibility that a significant part of the lexical differences across languages may have
to do with differences in conventional imagery. The same metaphorical mappings
applied to different images will give rise to different linguistic expressions of those
mappings. 
   The modern research of metaphorical cognition faces another important issue
besides the study of the essential features of the metaphorical cognition, the
mechanism of its formation and operation, etc. Firstly, the fundamental research about
the metaphorical system should be done in languages other than English so as to
prove that abstract thinking is partially realized by metaphors both in English and in
the other languages. Secondly, the universality and relativity should be also discussed.
On the one hand, human cognitive activities are rooted in daily physical experiences
which are basically universal. On the other hand, that the human physical experiences
cannot be independent of a certain culture and society implies that the diversities
between metaphorical systems in various cultures exist. However, the degrees of the
differences and the similarities between different languages and cultures are such
questions worth answering by contrastive studies.
    Emotions are often considered to be feelings alone, and as such they are viewed
as being devoid of conceptual content. As a result, the study of emotions is usually not
taken seriously by students of semantics and conceptual structure. But some cognitive 
 

linguists have argued that the opposite is true, that emotions have a very complex
conceptual structure. In addition to feeling what we feel, we also impose an
understanding on what it is that we feel. When we act on our emotions, we act not
only on the basis of feeling but also on the basis of that understanding. Emotional
concepts are thus very clear examples of concepts that are abstract and yet have an
obvious basis in bodily experience, which give rise to a wide variety of nontrivial
inferences. What we will try to show is that there is a coherent conceptual
organization underling all these expressions and that much of it is metaphorical and
metonymical in nature.
In this thesis the author generalizes the conceptual metaphors underlying English
and Chinese !°emotion!± idioms, and ke a comparison between them. Both
similarities and differences are found in these expressions. The similarities reflect
universality of cognition and the two languages, while the difference show language
or cultural specificity. Similarities and differences between languages can be
explained from cultural perspectives, so the English and Chinese cultures play an
important role in understanding conceptual metaphors in idioms. 
 
 
 
Chapter One  Definition and Nature of Idioms
 
Idioms are an important part of the language and culture of a nation. Refined and
sanctified by long usage idioms have been described as the crystallization of language.
Since idioms can add much to the expressive and emotional power of a language, they
are widely used not only in literary works but also in scientific and political articles
and other kinds of writings. For one thing, most idioms, though composed of few
words, contain an extremely profound and rich meaning; for another, most idioms
carry vivid images. So they are often hard to understand and use correctly. However,
their proper use in a language is often a mark of a person!ˉs command of the language.
Without idioms our language would become dull and dry, whereas appropriate use of
them in our speech and writing will add to the strength and vividness of our language.
A good grasp of the meaning and the use of idioms is essential for learners of a
foreign language if they wish to read and appreciate original works fully.
Idioms are important in cultures as well as in languages. Like a mirror, idioms
vividly reflect the social systems,  customs and life philosophy during various
historical periods of a nation. The study of idioms is indispensable to the study of
English and Chinese cultures and languages, thus has aroused wide concern in
linguistic circles at home and abroad.
 
1.1 Definition of Idiom and !!
1.1.1 Definition of Idiom
What is an idiom? And how do we judge whether an expression is an idiom or
not? First let us look at how the term !°idiom!± is defid by some authorized English
dictionaries:
Oxford Advanced Learners!ˉ Dictionary of Current English(1979: 428) defines
an idiom as: (1) language of a people or country; specific character of this, (2) (gram.)
succession of words whose meaning is not obvious through knowledge of the 
 

individual meaning of the constituent words but must be learnt as a whole.
And Webster!ˉs New World College Dictionary(1996: 670) defines an idiom as:
(1) the language or dialect of a people, region, class, etc. (2) the usual way in which
the words of a particular language are joined together to express thought, (3) 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, (4) the style of expression characteristic
of an individual, (5) a characteristic style, as in art or music.
From the above dictionaries, (1), (2)  or (3) most suits the purpose of our
discussion. The idiom means a kind of set phrases or sentences, which, like a stock
expression, are often quoted by the common people. In a broad sense, they include
idiomatic phrases, proverbial sayings and a number of slang expressions. We can
extract two basic criteria by which to judge whether an expression is an idiom or not: 
(1) An idiom must be well-established and accepted through common practice. In
general, no element in an idiom can be changed without destroying the meaning as a
whole. Thus we can only say to be at liberty not !°to be at freedom!±, o not
!!±.
(2) An idiom usually has an implied meaning. It cannot be interpreted only
according to its literal meaning. When taken literally the phrase !°cts and dogs!± is not
an idiom. In a figurative sense, to rain cats and dogs means !°to rain very heavily!±
Structurally, there is a group of idioms with the structure of !°verb+ prep. and /or
adv. particle!± which is usually called verba idioms. Some dictionaries do not include
such expressions as idioms (e.g. Webster!ˉs Third New International Dictionary 1961),
and there are also some idiom dictionaries dividing idioms into two large groups: the
idioms with the structure of !°verb+ prep.and /or adv. particle!±and the other idioms.
The verbal phrase idioms, though a very important type of English expressions, are
not to be discussed in this thesis. 
 
 

1.1.2 Definition of !!± in Chinese
According to the Chinese dictionaries:(Modern Chinese
Dictionary) by Commercial Press (1983: 1348) and(A Handbook
of Modern Chinese) by Commercial Press (1999: 738), the definition of !!± in
Chinese is the same: !!± (habitually used words). And according t (Modern Chinese Dictionary) (2000), !!± is defined as ,,!± (well established,
concise, fixed phrases or short sentences consisting of four characters!±; !± as , , , !± (widely spread, concise, vivid and fixed phrases or
sentences created by common people reflecting their wishes and experiences!±; and
!!± as , !±
(widely-spread, concise, fixed phrases or sentences in which a profound truth is
implied.)
    From the above definitions, !!± (set phrases), !± (common sayings), and
!!± (proverbs) just like English idioms,are characterized by habitual use, fixed
pattern and implied meaning. so Chinese idioms can be roughly divided into: set
phrases (), common sayings (), proverbs (), and two-part allegorical
sayings ().
 
1.2 Sources of English and Chinese Idioms
There are various origins of idioms, but the chief sources are speech of the
common people, ancient legends and fables, historical events, classical works,
religion, and foreign languages. Let us examine these sources in turn:
 
1.2.1 Idioms from Speech of the Common People
Most idioms come from the colloquial speech of the common people, for through
their practical work people have created a great number of idioms. Every idiom is the
result of a personal innovation at a particular point in time. These idioms are terse, 
 

colloquial, vivid and full of life, and before long they acquire a wide application to
analogous situations in everyday life. Little by little, the most vivid and most useful of
these idioms made their way from popular speech into the standard language, and
finally came to be commonly understood.  The personal creation may happen in
different fields, forming different sources of idioms. For example:
(1) Home life
To be born with a silver spoon in one!ˉs mout (born into a wealthy family, with
all the advantage that can give a child);
To bring home the bacon (to succeed, achieve one!ˉs aim, to supply the needs of
one!ˉs family);
To keep one!ˉs shirt on(keep calm, don!ˉt get exited or angry);
Jump out of the frying pan into the fire (to go from a bad situation to an even
worse one);  (add color and emphasis to a narration / add highly colored details to
a story);  (over a cup of tea or after dinner!aat one!ˉs leisure),  (fit the appetite to the dishes and the dress to the
figure!aact according to actual circumstance).
(2) Farming life
    To go to seed (to deteriote in one!ˉs habits and appearance, to become shabby);
To lead someone up the garden path (to deceive, mislead someone);  (when a melon is ripe it falls off its stem!athings are easily settled
once conditions are ripe);  (cut the weeds and dig up the roots!astamp out the source of trouble);,  (plant melons and you get melons, sow beans and you get
beans!aas you sow, so will you reap).
(3) Nautical and fishing life 
In the same boat (to suffer the same predicament as somebody else);
To swim with / against the stream (to think or act in accordance with / contrary to
the views of the majority); 

To sail under false colors (to assume a false identity in order to conceal one!ˉs
true purpose);
To rise to the bait (to respond to a hint, temptation or provocation in the way
hoped for. The reference is to fish which rise to the surface of the water for food);  (trim one!ˉs sails);  (drift with the tide current / go with the stream);  (fish in troubled waters).
(4) Military life
To cross swords with (to fight or quarrel with);
To fight a losing battle (to engage in a struggle which one cannot hope to win);  (lower the banners and muffle the drums!acease all activities); (press on to the finish without  letup/get something done in one
sustained effort).
(5) Student life 
A closed book (a subject about which one knows nothing, a mystery);
To turn over a new leaf (to repent one!ˉs way of lie and make a fresh start; to
reform);  (be among the best of the successful candidates);  (be a good student of good character / be a student of good character
and fine scholarship).
(6) Business life
To talk shop (to restrict one!ˉs conversation to one!ˉs own specialized subject)
To make an honest penny (to make an honest living through hard work);
Mind your own business (attend to your own affairs and don!ˉt concern yourself
with mine);  (can hardly open one!ˉs mouthwithout talking shop/talk shop
all the time);  (be obsessed with the desire for gain / be blinded by greed).
(7) Sports and hunting
To have the ball at one!ˉs fee (to have the initiative, to have the opportunity on
 

  评论这张
 
阅读(854)| 评论(0)
推荐

历史上的今天

在LOFTER的更多文章

评论

<#--最新日志,群博日志--> <#--推荐日志--> <#--引用记录--> <#--博主推荐--> <#--随机阅读--> <#--首页推荐--> <#--历史上的今天--> <#--被推荐日志--> <#--上一篇,下一篇--> <#-- 热度 --> <#-- 网易新闻广告 --> <#--右边模块结构--> <#--评论模块结构--> <#--引用模块结构--> <#--博主发起的投票-->
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

页脚

网易公司版权所有 ©1997-2017