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Idioms Interface between semantics & pragmatics - letras usp Elizabeth Harkot
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Idioms Interface between semantics & pragmatics - letras usp Elizabeth Harkot


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  • 1. IDIOMSInterface betweenSemantics & PragmaticsGiovanna A. Rovainº USP 6464489Ingrid Puchenº USP 7193412Roberto C.Francisconº USP 6468198Tatiana T. Sasakinº USP 6464663Yoon Ji Kimnº USP 6518190
  • 2. TOSS
  • 4. ??
  • 5. Toss one‟s cookies = to vomit
  • 6. The spectrum of idiomacitySemi-Transparent IdiomsTransparent IdiomsSemi-OpaqueIdiomsOpaqueIdioms
  • 7. The spectrum of idiomacity Transparent IdiomsE.g. to see the light = to understand Semi-transparent IdiomsE.g. break the ice = relieve the tension Semi-opaque IdiomsE.g. to pass the buck = to pass responsibility Opaque IdiomsE.g. To burn one’s boat = to make retreat impossible.Spill the beans = reveal a secret
  • 8. Classification of idiomsby Jennifer Seidl & W.McMordie Informal Idioms Formal Idioms Verbal Idioms Idiomatic Pairs Idioms Used in Special Fields Idioms Related to Special Themes Idioms with ComparisonsClassification of idioms are very variedaccording to each scholar
  • 9. by Fernado Pure idioms Semi-idioms Literal idiomsby Halliday Ideational idioms Interpersonalidioms Relational idiomsby Adam Makkai Idioms of Encoding(Identifiable) Idioms of Decoding(Non-identifiable)And other authorslike McCarthy andO’Dell..Classification of idioms
  • 10. Why using idioms?‚People use idioms to make theirlanguage richer and more colorfuland to convey subtle shades ofmeaning or intention. Idioms are usedoften to replace a literal word orexpression, and many times the idiombetter describes the full nuance ofmeaning. ‛(Gail Brenner, Websters New World American IdiomsHandbook.Websters New World, 2003)
  • 11. Examples A Piece of Cake:A task that can be accomplished veryeasily. Apple of My Eye:Someone who is cherished above allothers. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:To take on a task that is way too big. Cup Of Joe:A cup of coffee. Cut to the Chase:Leave out all the unnecessary details and
  • 12. More examples:
  • 13. Couch Potato
  • 14. Look daggers at somebodyto look very angrily at someone:I suddenly noticed David looking daggers at me and thought Idbetter shut up.
  • 16. Semantics Meaningabstracted awayfrom users Non-situation-specificmeaning Sentencemeaning ReferentialPragmatics• Meaning inrelation tospeakers andhearers• Situation-specificmeaning• Speaker meaning• Contextual(SAEED, 2003, p. 17)IDIOMS
  • 17. Semantics‟ ApproachesReferential Put words intorelationship with theworld is meaning Show how words can„hook onto‟ the world Give the meaning ofwords and sentencesby showing how theyrelate to situationsRepresentational• A languagerepresents atheory, amodel aboutreality, aboutthe types ofthings andsituations inthe worldIDIOMS
  • 18. Metaphors vs Idioms• Metaphor: “An expression that describes a person orobject by referring to something that is consideredto possess similar characteristics.” CambridgeAcademic Content DictionaryExamples: Life is a journey / She is a flower.• Problem: By adopting fixed structures in a specificculture, some metaphors produce idioms withproperties “that have no corresponding counterpartsin another language.”Claudia Leah. Idioms: Grammaticality and Figurativeness.University of Oradea.
  • 19. Idioms, in general, are connected toCultureENGLISH:Kick the bucket To diePORTUGUESE:Chutar o balde Abandonar tudo/desencanar
  • 20. Kick the Bucket Bater as Botas
  • 21. It’s Raining cats anddogs! Está chovendo canivetes!
  • 22. Linguistic Relativity The way we think about the world isdetermined by our cultural and linguisticbackground: Language mirrors cultural differences; Different languages, reflecting theirspeakers’ cultural practices, might embodydifferent conceptual classifications of theworld; ‚Language is a guide to ‘social reality’.‛(Sapir,1949b, p. 162 apud Saeed, 2003, p. 42)
  • 23. Play one’s cards rightto do the correct things toachieve a desired result:If I play my cards right, I could behired as a consultant on that project.
  • 24.  Idioms are related withcontext (Pragmatics)
  • 25. Pragmatics“A pragmatic theory is a theory which has to explain how alanguage is used to enable any speaker tocommunicate with the other”(Kempson,1975:136)COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE (GRICE)“ Participants will be expected to make their contribution such as isrequired, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purposeor direction of the talk exchange in which they are engaged.”Grice4 conversational maxims1. Quantity – informativeness2. Quality – truthfulness3. Manner – Don‟t be obscure, ambiguous...
  • 26.  Idioms cause a break in the cooperationact.• When a hearer discovers a violation, he tries to reinterpret what was said.Searle‟s analysis1st – The literal meaning isdetermined.2nd – The meaning is checkedagainst the context.3rd – If there is a conflictbetween the literal meaning andthe context, it is reinterpretedand a conveyed meaning isdelivered.
  • 27. Relationship between speaker andhearer
  • 28. Knowledge as Context Discourse context Knowledge of the preceding discourse Knowledge of the immediate context Formation of the discourse topic Background knowledge as contextCommon-sense, encyclopaedic, sociocultural,real-world knowledgeOne calculates others would have before aconversation due to belonging to a specificcommunity Also labeled common ground(SAEED, 2003, p. 191-3)
  • 29. Brazilian IdiomsEven among native speakers,idioms may be hard tounderstandbecause ofdifferent cultural backgrounds,age groups, etc.
  • 30. Let’s play Guess the Idiom!
  • 31. Uhm... nevermind!
  • 32. Idioms and Compositionality What problems do idioms present forCompositionality? Idiomatically combining expressions ( e.g. takeadvantage, pull strings) and Idiomatic phrases (e.g.kick the bucket) Synonyms (Paraphrasing idioms) Passivization(G. Nunberg, I. Sag and T. Wasow, 1994, pp.491-538.)
  • 33. References NUNBERG,Geoffrey, SAG, Ivan A., WASOW, Thomas. Idioms.In Language, Vol. 70, No. 3 (Sep., 1994), pp. 491-538.Linguistic Society of America. Available at: SAEED, J. I. Semantics. 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing,2003. WESTERSTAHL, Dag. Idioms and compositionality. Availableat: LEAH, Claudia. Idioms: Grammaticality and Figurativeness.University of Oradea. Available at: available at:SLIDESHARETags: idioms, letras, usp, elizabeth, harkot.