Moninaisuus idiomeissa


  • Pirkko Muikku-Werner


idiom, variation, context


Idioms are often considered fossilized, i.e. they are supposed to be invariant in appearance. With the help of an authentic text corpus it is easy to find evidence of the opposite. For example, idioms may have alternative forms or slightly different meanings. The rich supply of synonyms creates further options. Sometimes variation creates constraints of use: common lexical choices prevent the occurrence of an idiom in certain contexts, whereas literary idioms are unexpected in informal texts. In addition, variation allows alteration of an expression to suit the context while still retaining the characteristics of an idiom. In this paper I will deal with idiom variation on the basis of the data in which the idioms are situated in real written contexts. The corpus has been gathered from the Finnish Language Bank, which includes texts from Finnish newspapers. Idioms have also been collected from recent journals and the Internet.