Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 130


On idiomaticity in English and Arabic: A cross - linguistic study

Ali Yunis Aldahesh
The University of Sydney, Austrialia
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 March 2013
  •  Published: 30 April 2013


The phenomenon of idiomaticity constitutes a common factor in all living languages and its appreciation is considered the cornerstone of learning and mastering any given language. The semantic, syntactic and pragmatic complexity of idiomatic expressions, in any language, poses a great deal of challenges to learners of that language, and also to translators translating from and/or into it. The main purpose of this paper is to throw some light on this phenomenon in a contrastive analysis framework in an attempt to perceive the ways by which English and Arabic function in relation to idiomaticity. This is done by using the two principal steps of contrastive analysis procedure proposed by James (1980), that is description and comparison respectively. Hence, the core properties of this phenomenon are described in both English and Arabic languages, and then a comparison is conducted to highlight the matches and mismatches between the two languages in this respect. Other researchers may well take these nuances as a platform from which they explore some strategies of teaching, learning and translating idiomatic expressions from/into both languages. This paper concludes with proposing a number of recommendations to be taken by teachers and translators when tackling such a demanding phenomenon. 


Key words: Idiomatic Expressions, Culture-specific Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, Proverbs, Contrastive Analysis