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The structure and context of idiomatic expressions in the Saudi press

Alqahtni, Hijab Mohammad (2014) The structure and context of idiomatic expressions in the Saudi press. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Idiomatic expressions are linguistic expressions, grammatical forms, phrases or words that are used conventionally and possess a figurative meaning which cannot be predicted from the individual components or literal meanings of the constituent parts. These expressions play an important role in human communication, since their emotive and cultural connotations facilitate the expression of meaning at both linguistic and cultural levels. This linguistic phenomenon has attracted the attention of many researchers in Arabic and English. However, unlike previous studies which concentrated on Classical Arabic idioms in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, this thesis focuses on a sample of Modern Standard Arabic idiomatic expressions taken from the Saudi-based newspaper Al-Riyadh in order to investigate their structure and grammatical relations, and to analyse a range of factors relating to context, namely co-text, situational context, and cultural context. The study also explores how these idioms are cohesive to their context. This study has two main objectives. The first is to explore idioms in the Saudi press from a structural perspective by examining structural patterns in the data sample and analysing both the internal and external grammatical relations which occur when idiomatic expressions are used within the text of Al-Riyadh. In addition, the possible variations within idiomatic expressions which were found in the newspaper discourse will also be examined in order to determine what they reveal about the limits of the textual flexibility of this linguistic phenomenon. The second objective is to textualise and contextualise idiomatic expressions in a sample of randomly selected texts to examine how idioms are cohesive with their co-text and assess the role of co-text in the interpretation of the meaning of idioms. On the level of context, the study examines the situational and cultural context for some selected idioms within the sample to determine the degree of correlation between idioms, context and culture. Adopting a text linguistics approach, a sample consisting of some 440 idioms that appeared in Al-Riyadh was analysed in the structural study, focusing on Arabic syntax and grammatical structures. The study also utilised fixedness and compositional/non-compositional approaches when investigating structural variations. Halliday and Hasan’s model of cohesiveness was applied to the analysis of this feature in the idiomatic expressions. Halliday and Hasan’s concepts of context of situation and context of culture proved useful when analysing the co-text, situational and cultural context of idiomatic expressions in the newspaper sample. The study found that nearly half of the overall structures analysed were verbal patterns. Moreover, idioms were found to display the same structural and grammatical relations as other linguistic units. Despite the shortage of structural variations in idiomatic expressions, some noticeable changes were observed within idiom structures which enable them to fit into their context. The study also found that idiomatic expressions are cohesive and are connected to their co-text by means of lexical and grammatical cohesive devices. Finally, the analysis demonstrated that internal context (co-text) and border context (situation and culture) played an important role in determining the meaning of idiomatic expressions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Idioms, Arabic idiomatic expressions, context, discourse, text linguistics, linguistics.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.635639
Depositing User: Mr Hijab Alqahtni
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2015 10:32
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7678

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