Saturday, November 7, 2015

Why do we use idioms ?

A lesson in English and other languages.  
An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. It may be a simple phrase, or it could be a whole quotation from a familiar source.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

We use idioms for a number of reasons. Here are ten applications.

1. serve as conjunction and provide smooth transition of thoughts and ideas.
2. add flavor and spice to speech and conversations.
3. vie for time and prepare us for
the next thing to say or do.

Ilokano is rich in idioms, making it an exotic language, a term used by Dr Nicholas Llanes Rosal, author of a book, Understanding an Exotic Language: Ilokano (Uniuversity of Michigan 1981, 206 pp)

4. provides variation, breaking prosaic and monotonous expressions.
5. adds pep and emphasis, often accompanying gesture and body language.

6. moderate and caution expressions.
7. excuse us from being redundant, although not in all cases.
8. allow us to use other languages for legal and scientific purposes.
9. encapsulate an otherwise long message or story.
10.romanticize, making a statement poetical, dramatic.

Above all, idioms link cultures, disciplines, peoples of various faiths and ideologies because they speak of universal ideas and thoughts, and of truth. They are complete thoughts and ideas, in fact a whole event or topic. The mention of the Prodigal Son brings to mind, the biblical parable, its essence of humility and atonement, of forgiveness and unity. Molave of the nation brings out the best a leader can give to his country and fellowmen in any kind of adversary.

Here are examples of common idiomatic expressions.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. This idiom means that when people are apart, their love grows stronger.
  • As you sow, so shall you reap. This means that if you do bad things to people, bad things will happen to you, or good things if you do good things.
  • As the crow flies. This idiom is used to describe the shortest possible distance between two places.
  • Apple to the eye. Something or, more often, someone that is very special to you is the 'apple of your' eye.
  • AWOL (absence without leave)
  • Add fuel to the fire. If people add fuel to the fire, they make a bad situation worse.
  • Add insult to injury. When people add insult to injury, they make a bad situation even worse.
  • After your own heart. A person after your own heart thinks the same way as you.
  • Against the clock. If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
Exercise: Write down the meaning and use of these idioms.
  • An axe to grind
  • at your wit's end
  • at the top of your lung
  • at rainbow's end
  • at snail's pace
  • at the drop of a dime
  • all hell broke loose
  • all in your head
  • catch fire
  • act of God
  • across the board
  • Acid test.
  • Litmus paper
  • against the clock
  • a rolling stone gathers no moss.
  • a fool at 40 is a fool forever.
  • a little bird told me
  • alter ego
  • an old flame
  • angry as a bull
  • All's well that ends well. ~
Trivia: What is the most common idiom in prayer?
Answer: Amen

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