Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University
UST Working Papers in Linguistics, Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Volume 3, Pages 83-93
The aim of present investigation is to uncover whether habitual collocations are semantically abstract as the dictionary definition through explorations of ten English idioms and their Chinese equivalents. The explanation of the idiom transparency is culturally based and the comparison of the metaphorical vehicles in both languages is also considered. At the present study it is found that idioms which stem from their won historical developments are culturally-determined. Objects which are more common to people’s lives are often included into metaphorical expressions. The figurative interpretations are tightly connected with the conceptual structures or the shape of the sources .For idioms that are borrowed from the other language, modifications of metaphorical sources would be possible. Conceptually-unfamiliar sources would be adjusted to items accommodating identical conceptual structures in the borrowing language, and the replacements would be in the hyponymy relationship to their lending counterparts. Conversely, condition that the metaphorical sources are not unfamiliar or the conceptual structures used for creating the idiom are available in both lending and borrowing language, modification of vehicles is unnecessary.