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Table 4.4: Syntactic features of English idioms denoting health

Table 4.4: Syntactic features of English idioms denoting health

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sentence structures accounting for 7,4% and 4,6% respectively out of 109 English

idioms denoting health.

4.1.2 Semantic features

After collecting the data, the author categorized the idioms based on their

real meanings, theoretical background and some printed medicine books such as:

Pocket medicine by Marc. Sbatine (2000), Quick medical terminology by Shirley

Soltesz Steine (1972) and Lynn Bickley (2005) with Bates' guide to physical

examination and history taking, etc. There are 7 categories of meanings of English

idioms denoting health as follows.

4.1.2.1 Indicating the prophylactic

In everyday life, people have many health problems. Eating way and lifestyle

directly affect health. Thus, English idioms have proverbial expressions to advise

people against disease to avoid adverse health effects. There are 3 idioms occupying

2,8% as follow: check up, have a physical, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound

of cure.

4.2.2.2 Indicating the treatment

When patients know that they are sick, their focus is on curing the disease.

Treatment is an essential thing to do as soon as possible to protect health. Only

following the treatment methods, the patients can recover and have good health.

There are 19 English idioms occupying 17,4% as follow: bitter pill to swallow,

bring someone around, fill a prescription, get a check up, get something out of

one’s system, in surgery, nurse someone back to health, on medication, run some

tests, take one’s medicine, go under the knife, just what the doctor ordered, warts

and all, etc.

4.2.2.3 Indicating the good health

Everyone wants to have a good health to live, work, study and play. Having a

good health is the best. Thus, English idioms also have many sayings about good

health. In this field, there are 20 items which account for 18,3% of English idioms

denoting health such as: alive and well, as fit as a fiddle, clean bill, feel on top of

the world, look the picture of health, on the mend, picture of health, up and about,

full of beans, blind as a bat, die with one’s boot on, hit the dust, fit as fiddle, hale

and hearty, new lease of life, in the pink of health, prime of one’s life, right as rain,

fresh as a daisy, ect.



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4.2.2.4 Indicating the poor health

Nobody wants to have a poor health. This is a great obstacle in life as well as

everyday life. However, in life, few people avoid the illness. Idioms have a lot to

talk about this. In this field, there are 26 idioms making up 23,9% of English idioms

denoting health: As pale as a ghost, black and blue, black out, break out in a cold

sweat, burn oneself out, nothing but skin and bones, out of condition, in bad shape,

off color, drop like flies, hard of hearing, out of sorts, racked with pain, run down,

under the weather, ill at ease, sick as a dog, stick out like a sore thumb, weak at the

knees, ect.

4.2.2.5 Indicating the death

Death is something that no one wants to talk about. However, in life, people still

face it. Idioms try to find different images to talk about. There are 11 English idioms

occupying 10,1% as follows: at death’s door, die a natural death, kick the bucket,

dead as a doornail, meet your maker, one foot in the grave, pop one’s clogs, etc.

4.2.2.6 Indicating the health recovery

When healthy, people use the prevention to protect health. When being

patient, people tried to find out the treatment to have a good health. English idioms

have many sayings to talk about the health recovery as 10 following English idioms

which account for 9,2%: back on one’s feet, in remission, take a turn for the better,

on the mend, pull through, up and about, , out cold, over the worst, vim and vigor.

4.2.2.7 Indicating the illness and symptoms

In life, no one avoids illness. People can get sick at any age or any class,

whether rich or poor. Here are some of 20 English expressions about illness and

symptoms accounting for 18,3% out of 109 English idioms denoting health): break

out in, catch a cold, a flair up, have foot – in – mouth disease, lapse in a come, run

a fever/ temperature, splitting headache, throw up, feel blue, dogs are barking, frog

in one’s throat, have a hangover, etc.

All the above studies about the semantic features of English idioms denoting

health are synthesized in the table below:



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Semantic features



Number



Percentage



Prophylactic



3



2,8 %



Treatment



19



17,4 %



Good health



20



18,3 %



Poor health



26



23,9 %



Death



11



10,1 %



Recovery



10



9,2 %



Illness and symptoms



20



18,3 %



Total



109



100 %



Table 4.5: Semantic features of English idioms denoting health

From table 4.5, it is clear to see that idioms which indicate the poor health

account for the highest percentage (23,9%). Both idioms indicate the good health

and idioms indicate the illness and symptoms are the second highest percentage

(18,3%). The third highest percentage belongs to the idioms indicating the treatment

(17,4%). With the respective percentages of 10,1% and 9,2%, the meanings about

the death and recovery of English idioms rank fourth in the table. The lowest

percentage is the percentage of idioms which indicate the prophylactic (2,8%).

4.2 Syntactic and semantic features of idioms denoting health in Vietnam

The above researches show the syntactic and semantic features of English idioms

denoting health. In this part, the author introduces the features of Vietnamese dioms

denoting health.

4.2.1 Syntactic features

Syntactic features of idioms denoting health in Vietnam can be recognized

under 3 main kinds of phrases. They are noun phrases, verb phrases and adjective

phrases.

4.2.1.1 Phrase structures

In this field, there are 52 samples accounting for 47,7% out of 109

Vietnamese idioms denoting health in total.

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4.2.1.1.1 Noun phrases

This kind of pattern can be found in 20 Vietnamese idioms making up 18,4%

out of 109 Vietnamese idioms denoting health such as: Cơm ba bát, thuốc ba thang;

Sức dài, vai rộng; Vai u, thịt bắp, chân đi đất, mồ hôi dầu; Ba ngày béo, bày ngày

gầy; etc.

In these examples, “cơm, thuốc, sức, vai, thịt, chân, mồ hôi, ba ngày, bảy ngày” are

the head noun, and the other words supply the meanings for these nouns.

4.2.1.1.2 Verb phrases

This kind of pattern can be found in 22 Vietnamese idioms occupying 20%

out of 109 ones such as: Tiêu đái, ngon cơm; Ăn no vác nặng; Cày sâu, cuốc bẫm;

Ăn vóc, học hay; Ăn một mình đau tức, làm một mình cực thân; Đừng ăn quá

miệng, đừng diện quá sang; etc.

It is easy to see that “tiêu, ăn, vác, cày, cuốc, học, làm, đừng ăn, đừng diện” are the

main verbs in those verb phrases. The other words supply the meanings for these

verbs.

4.2.1.1.3 Adjective phrases

This kind of pattern can be found in 10 Vietnamese idioms accounting for

9,3% in 109 Vietnamese idioms denoting health as follows: To vòng bụng, ngắn

vòng đời; Già sức khỏe, trẻ bình n; Yếu như cây sậy; Khỏe như sâm; Càng già

càng dẻo càng dai ,ect.

In these examples, “to, ngắn, già, trẻ, yếu, khỏe, run, dẻo, dai” are the adjective,

and the other words supply the meanings for these adjectives.

4.2.1.2 Sentences structures

This pattern accounts for 57 typical idioms which makes up 52,3% out of

109 Vietnamese idioms denoting health in total.

4.2.1.2.1 Simple Sentences

This kind of structure can be found in 20 Vietnamese idioms making up 35%

out of 57 idioms with simple sentence structures such as: Một nụ cười bằng mười

thang thuốc bổ; Cây sắn dây là thầy con rắn; Sức khỏe là vàng; Sạch sẽ là mẹ sức

khỏe; Tham thực thì cực thân; Phòng bệnh hơn chữa bệnh; etc.

In these examples, “Một nụ cười, cây sắn dây, sức khỏe, sạch sẽ, tham thực,

phòng bệnh” are the subjects in each sentence. The main verbs are “bằng, là, thì”.

The other words are the complements or objects.



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Table 4.4: Syntactic features of English idioms denoting health

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