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Chapter 1. The Importance of Achieving of Semantic and Stylistic Identity of Translating Idioms

2.1.1 Classification of Idioms

2.1.2 The Difficulties of Translation

2.1.3 Synonymous Statements and Emphasis

2.1.4 Indices for Interpretation

2.1.5 Proverbs Figurativeness and Its Means

Chapter 2. The Development of Students Language Awareness on the Base of Using Idioms in Classes

2.2.1 Pedagogical implications

2.2.2 Focus on authentic speech and idiomatic language in classes





Idiom is a phrase or expression whose total meaning differs from the meaning of the individual words. For example, to blow one’s top (get angry) and behind the eight ball (in trouble) are English- language idioms. Idioms come from language and generally cannot be translated literally (word for word). Foreign language students must learn them just as they would learn vocabulary words.

It is generally accepted that interpreters did not know much about the laws and rules of translation at the dawn of civilization. They did not have enough scientific knowledge, and some writers maintained later that translation was a problem which could never be solved (e.g., "All translation seems to me to be simply an attempt to solve an insoluble problem." W. von Humboldt).

But life went on, and people wanted to communicate (they wanted to be good neighbours in those times, too) and — take it or leave it — they had to interpret and had to translate. But still their translations were not without shortcomings and even left much to be desired.

And now, while the British scientist Theodore Savory says, in an effort to convince his colleagues, that "...both in the original and in translation, the matter is more important than the manner,"1 the noted Russian writer Korney Chukovsky records: "The translator's aspiration for achieving semantic and stylistic identity of translation and the original is a lasting gain of our culture."2

An interpreter may say that translation is a bridge for mutual understanding among nations and that one has to know the laws and rules of engineering as well as to have the proper material for its construction at hand.

The theme of the present work is “English idioms and their Russian equivalents”.

Nowadays English is worth not just knowing, but it is worth really knowing. There is a great importance to understand up-to-date English. English is the chief language of international business and academic conferences, and the leading language of international tourism. English is the main language of popular music, advertising, home computers and video games. Most of the scientific, technological and academic information in the world is expressed in English. International communication expends very fast. The English language becomes the means of international communication, the language of trade, education, politics, and economics. People have to communicate with each other. It is very important for them to understand foreigners and be understood by them. In this case the English language comes to be one but very serious problem. A word comes to be a very powerful means of communication but also can be a cause of a great misunderstanding if it is not clearly understood by one of the speakers.

The understanding of the native speakers’ language is the international problem for our students. Our secondary schools teach the students only the bases of the English language. They do not prepare them to the British streets, and accommodations.

Idioms come to be a very numerous part of English. Idioms cover a lot of drawbacks of the English language and it is one-third part of the colloquial speech.

The object of the work is the process of developing language guessing skills.

The subject of the work is idioms in English and Russian languages.

The hypothesis of the work is as following:

If we develop students’ awareness of using idiomatic sentences, we are sure to bring them closer to the authentically sounding speech.

The objective of the work is an attempt to study all the aspects of idioms, the cases of their usage and to analyze the frequency of idioms usage referring to English and Russian.

To achieve the set aim we determine the following tasks:

  1. to classify idioms;

  2. to study the problem of the translation of idioms;

  3. to understand the aim of the modern usage of idioms;

  4. to distinguish different kinds of idioms;

  5. to analyze the frequency of idioms' usage referring to English and Russian.

For writing the present paper a number of scientific sources devoted to the problem of idioms have been analyzed. As the material for our research we used idioms taken from dictionaries and fiction.

For gaining the mentioned aim we used the following methods:

  1. description;

  2. observation;

  3. critical study of scientific literature and fiction;

  4. comparison and contrast;

Scientific novelty is concluded in the comparison of two languages, belonging to different language families.

Theoretical value consists in revealing the fact that idioms can’t and mustn’t be translated directly as such a branch of language as idioms are inseparably connected with nation’s mentality and mode of life.

The practical value consists in the fact that the present work is a valuable manual for specialists concerned with teaching English and can be used as a teaching guide for stirring up idiomatic sentences. The results of the investigation are aimed at raising the quality of translations and preventing mistakes in comprehension.

Some parts of this qualification work have been used at the English language lessons at Gulistan State University as a means of raising students’ interest and developing investigation skills.

Structurally the presented work consists of: Introduction, two chapters, conclusion, bibliography.

The introduction reveals the general survey of the whole work and determines idioms as an essential part of the general vocabulary.

The first chapter deals with semantic and stylistic identity when translating idioms.

The second chapter deals with approaches to the developing students’ language awareness on the base of using idioms in classes.

Bibliography comprises 23 sources. Books of paramount importance are belles-letters of American and English writers, scientific research of foreign and home linguists, Internet explorations defining dictionaries, articles from methodical journals. The basic works are the following: Кузьмин C.C. “Translating Russian Idioms” Moscow Higher School 1977, Bartlett, F. C. Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms, New York, 1989, Левицкая Т., Фитерман А., Обновление фразеологических единиц, и передача этого приема в переводе. Тетради переводчика, №5, М., 1968, Арнольд И. В. Лексикология современного английского языка. М.: 1959.1


Chapter 1. The Importance of Achieving of Semantic and Stylistic Identity of Translating Idioms

2.1.1 Classification of Idioms

Idioms and fixed expressions. Idioms are fixed expressions that are usually not clear or obvious. The expression to feel under the weather, which means to feel unwell is a typical idiom. The words do not tell us what it means, but the context usually helps.

There are some simple rules how to deal with idioms. At first it’s important to think of idioms as being just like single words, then we must record the whole phrase in the notebook, along with the information on grammar and collocation.

This tin - opener has seen better days. (it is rather old and broken down; usually of Things, always perfect tense form). Idioms are usually rather informal and include an element of personal comment on the situation. They are sometimes humorous or ironic. As with any informal “commenting” word. That’s why we must be careful using them. It’s not a good idea to use them just to sound “fluent” or “good at English’. In a formal situation we can’t say: “How do you do, Mrs Watson. Do take the weight off your feet. ” (sit down) instead of “Do sit down” or “Have a seat”. It is important to know that their grammar is flexible. Some are more fixed than others. For instance, Barking up the wrong tree (be mistaken) is always used in continuous, not simple form, e.g. I think you’ re Barking up the wrong tree. Generally, set expression, for example, come to the wrong shop, go the way of all flesh, make somebody’ s blood boil, are idiomatical, they are also named phraseological. Besides, there are set expression such as pay a visit, make one’ s appearance, give help. Their interpretation is disputable. Some linguists consider them to be a not idiomatical part of phraseology, which is opposed to idiomatical. If the expression is idiomatical, then we must consider its components in the aggregate, not separately.1 Idioms are a part of our daily speech.2 They give expressiveness and exactness to oral and written language. It’s not easy to master idioms fluently. Word - for - word translation can change the meaning of the idiom. I’ve understood, that the study of the English lexicology should necessarily include study of phraseology. So, what is an idiom and phraseology? How can we translate idioms? Is it possible to translate idioms word for word and not to change their meaning?

Classification of idioms. Term “phraseology” is defined as a section of linguistics, which studies word collocations, and, on the other hand, a set of all steady combinations of words of the language. The stock of words of the language consists not only of separate words, but also of set expressions, which alongside with separate words serve as means of expressing conceptions.1 A set expression represents a set phrase.

Stock of words of the language

Separate words

Set expressions

Phraseological fusions To make up one’s mind

To make friends

Phraseological unities He plays with fire She burst into tears

Phraseological collocations From head to foot To get on like a house on fire

Charter 1. Stock of words of the language According to the Academician V. V. Vinogradov’s classification phraseological units may be classified into three groups: phraseological fusions, phraseological unities and phraseological collocations.

Phraseological fusions2 are completely non - motivated word - groups, such as heavy father – “serious or solemn part in a theatrical play”, kick the bucket – “die”; and the like. The meaning of the components has no connection whatsoever, at least synchronically, with the meaning of the whole group. Idiomaticity is, as a rule, combined with complete stability of the lexical components and the grammatical structure of the fusion. Phraseological fusions are called “traditional”, “set expression with fixed nomination”, “combinations”, ”set expression” in works of other researchers.

Phraseological unities1 are partially non - motivated as their meaning can usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological unit. For example, to show one’ s teeth, to wash one’ s dirty linen in public if interpreted as semantically motivated through the combined lexical meaning of the component words would naturally lead one to understand these in their literal meaning. The metaphoric meaning of the whole unit, however, readily suggests “take a threatening tone” or “show an intention to injure” for show one’ s teeth and “discuss or make public one’ s quarrels” for wash one’ s dirty linen in public. Phraseological unities are as a rule marked by a high degree of stability of the lexical components.

Phraseological collocations are motivated but they are made up of words possessing specific lexical valency which accounts for a certain degree of stability in such word - groups. In phraseological collocations variability of member - words is strictly limited. For instance, bear a grudge May be changed into bear malice, but not into bear a fancy or liking. We can say take a liking (fancy) but not take hatred (disgust). These habitual collocations tend to become kind of clichйs where the meaning of member - words is to some extent dominated by the meaning of the whole group. Due to this, phraseological collocations are felt as possessing a certain degree of semantic inseparability.

Classification of idioms for better understanding and learning. Vocabulary. Idioms can be grouped in a variety of ways. According to “English Vocabulary in Use” there are 3 groups of idioms.2


By meaning

By verb or another key word

verb + object

verb + preposition phrase

His fingers are all thumbs [clumsy]

Do you mind my smoking? [object to]

hold someone’s hand [to take care of]

rise the eyebrows [to wonder]

Charter 2. Different ways of grouping idioms. I’ve found some more more or less convenient ways of grouping the idioms

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