Publication details

Variability of Idioms for Expressing Emotions in World Englishes



Year of publication 2019
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description My research is based on the cognitive approach to idioms, which rejects the usual characteristics, associated with idioms, namely their fixedness and invariability. Several points of interest have emerged which might not have been properly explored so far, one of them being possible variability of idioms across different varieties of English. My initial research comprised more than 30 idioms of positive emotions, such as, to hit a right note or happy-go-lucky. The analysis was done by means of the NOW corpus which allows a researcher to see what is happening with the language in a selected time period as well as the emergence of new words and phrases during the last couple of years. The results have proved the initial hypothesis that idioms do vary across different varieties of English, see e.g. variants to strike/find/sound/strum the right note, to hit the high/low/perfect/wrong/first note and to hit the right chord/button/tune/nerve of the idiom to hit the right note. The variability can take at least two forms – first, individual lexemes can be replaced, as in the examples above, or the whole idiom can be extended or modified, as in happy-go-lucky-guy, happy-go-lucky-girl and happy-go-lucky-giggle. The analysis also revealed that certain varieties of English seem to prefer different wordings of idioms or different types of modification.
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