Opaque Idioms in Arabic and English: A Perspective Analysis of their Semantic Anomaly

Abdalla Elkheir Elgobshawi


This paper provides a semantic contrast of opaque idioms in Arabic and English. It focuses on idioms that have anomalous nature and it traces out their idiosyncratic features. Linguistic analysis of opaque idioms sets for its task the recognition and examination of the metaphorical and the etymological resources of these idioms. The researcher has chosen for his data some idioms that satisfy the criterion set forth for identifying opaque idioms. Such idioms do not yield their meaning from the meanings of their constituents words. In addition, they lack clues to the understanding their meaning. The semantic analysis of these idioms reveals that the features underling such idioms could not be conventionalized and categorized according to regular rules. They have a metaphorical formulation which in most cases could only be attributed to folkloric and etymological interpretations. Instead, they generally need to be treated in isolation because each of these idioms has its own peculiarities.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jsel.v6i1.13207


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Copyright (c) 2017 Abdalla Elkheir Elgobshawi

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