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MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
Department of English Language and Literature
Comparative Analysis of English and French Body Idioms
Author: Bc. Martina Němcová Supervisor: Mgr. Radek Vogel, Ph.D.
I hereby declare that I have worked on this thesis independently and used only sources listed in the bibliography.
Brno, 18th April 2013 Bc. Martina Němcová
I would like to thank Mgr. Radek Vogel, Ph.D. for his kind support, professional guidance and valuable advice that he provided me with throughout this thesis.
Brno, April 2013 Bc. Martina Němcová
This thesis deals with a comparative study of the selected group of English and French body idioms that contain the following body organs: hand, head and foot. The theoretical part focuses on specific features of idioms, their classification and structural patterns. The practical part is devoted to the analysis and comparison of English and French body idioms from the lexical, formal and semantic points of view. The idioms are analysed and divided into four categories according to the level of their equivalence.
Idiom, comparative study, idiom analysis, body idioms, equivalence,
Tato diplomová práce se zabývá srovnávací analýzou vybrané skupiny anglických a francouzských idiomů, které obsahují části lidského těla: ruku, hlavu a nohu. Teoretická část se věnuje charakteristice idiomů, jejich rozdělení a struktuře. Praktická část rozebírá a porovnává anglické a francouzské idiomy z lexikálního, formálního a významového hlediska. Idiomy jsou rozděleny do čtyř skupin podle stupně ekvivalence.
Idiom, srovnávací studie, analýza idiomů, lidské tělo, ekvivalence
Němcová, Martina. Comparative Study of English and French Body Idioms. Brno: Masaryk University, 2013.
1.Theoretical part 8
1.1 Introduction 8
1.2 English and French in the historical context 9
1.2.1 The Norman element in Old English 9
1.2.2 French influence on Middle English 9
1.3 Definitions of idioms 10
1.4 Idioms versus collocations 12
1.5 Specific features of idioms 14
1.6 Classification of idioms 18
1.7 Structural patterns of idioms 21
1.8 Semantic aspects of English body idioms 25
1.9 Method of idiom analysis 28
2. Practical part 29
2.1 Typology of idom analysis 29
2.1.1 Absolute equivalence 30
2.1.2 Close equivalence 30
2.1.3 Partial equivalence 32
2.1.4 Non-equivalence 33
2.2 Analysis of English and French idioms 34
2.2.1 Head idioms 34
2.2.2 Hand idioms 45
2.2.3 Foot idioms 61
2.3 Division of idioms according to the levels of their equivalence 70
2.4 Idiom statistics 79
2.4.1 Absolute equivalence 80
2.4.2 Close equivalence 81
2.4.3 Partial equivalence 82
2.4.4 Non-equivalence 83
2.5 Conclusion 85
Idioms have always attracted attention of linguists, although they were not given enough recognition in the past. The new trends in English lexical studies, however, have thrown a completely different light on these multi-word units with more or less unpredictable meanings. Being regarded as something inherently linked with a successful acquisition of a foreign language, idioms are of great importance in any language system. With different levels of figurativeness they represent indispensable lexical elements that help any foreign language speaker sound more native and proficient. It is obvious that different languages will have different idioms, both in structure and meaning. Also the repertoire of idioms will vary from one person to another, depending on their social or intelectual background.
Idiomatic expressions can be frequently encountered in magazines, newspapers, movies or TV shows. They are used in everyday speech and to a certain extent they form a part of the core values of the culture. Mastery of idioms facilitates communication and promotes an innovative environment of social interaction. Since idioms convey meaning quickly and enable language users express themselves more efficiently, they should be integrated into the teaching and learning process of foreign languages. The ready-made production of these figurative expressions contributes to the fluency making it possible for the speaker to be more concentrated on the message that needs to be delivered than on the formation of a sentence with a long literal explanation.
This thesis deals with comparison of English and French idioms in terms of their morphological and semantic correspondence. It explores idiomatic expressions related to human body, the focus being placed particularly on body idioms that contain hand, head and foot. The analysis of the selected corpus of English and French body idiom is carried out with respect to the structure, meaning and usage.
It is assumed that the human-centered idiomatic expressions are a significant source of phraseology in both languages and that they are very frequently used in daily written and spoken language. With regard to the similar cultural legacy of these two languages, the aim of this comparative study is to prove that human body idioms represent an essential part of the core vocabulary both in English and French and to show that the body idioms of both languages are similar in the meaning, structure and usage.
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