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Table 4.6: Syntactic features of Vietnamese idioms denoting health

Table 4.6: Syntactic features of Vietnamese idioms denoting health

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percentage belongs to simple sentence structures and the lowest percentage is

complex sentence structures with 23%. Besides, phrase structures also play an

important role in Vietnamese idioms denoting health (47,7%). With the respective

percentages of 20% and 18,4%, verb phrase structures and noun phrase structures of

Vietnamese idioms rank first in the phrase structures. Adjective phrase structures

are the lowest percentage with 9,3%.

4.2.2 Semantic features

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary (1995), “health is

the condition of the body and the degree to which it is free from illness, or

the state of being well”. The author categorized the idioms based on their meanings,

theoretical background and some printed medicine books. Hence, the idioms

denoting health in Vietnamese has some basic semantic features as follows.

4.2.2.1 Indicating the prophylactic

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

living day directly affect health. Thus, Vietnamese idioms have proverbial

expressions to advise people against diseases to avoid adverse health effects. In this

field, there are 3 Vietnamese idioms accounting for 2,8% out of 109 ones as

follows: Phòng bệnh hơn chưa bệnh; Để đau chạy thuốc chẳng thà giải trước thì

hơn; Đói ăn rau, đau uống thuốc.

4.2.2.2 Indicating the treatment

Unlike other countries, Vietnamese people often use traditional methods or

herbal ingredients to treat some simple diseases. These are the methods that have

been passed down from long time ago. In this field, there are 20 Vietnamese idioms

which occupy 18,3% as follows: Cây sắn dây là thầy con rắn; Lòi tỹ mới dịt lá

vơng; Một cái rắm bằng nắm thuốc tiêu, bằng liều thuốc gió, bằng lọ thuốc tiên;

Tiêu đái, ngon cơm; Có bệnh thì vái tứ phương; Phục dược bất như giảm khẩu, etc.

4.2.2.3 Indicating the good health

Vietnam is an agricultural country where the strength of muscles is needed.

Therefore, good health is always on top. Idioms about good health also have many

comparative images related to agriculture. In this field, there are 16 Vietnamese

idioms which make up 14,6% as follows: Cổ cày, vai bừa; Sức dài vai rộng; Khỏe

như vâm; Gái 17 bẻ gãy sừng trâu; Chẳng ốm chẳng đau,làm giàu mấy chốc; Trâu

ho bằng bò rống; Sống lâu sức khỏe, mọi vẻ mọi hay; Không vẻ đẹp nào đẹp bằng

sự cuồn cuộn của cơ bắp; Khỏe như trâu; Vai u, thịt bắp, chân đi đất, mồ hôi dầu;



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Cày sâu cuốc bẫm, etc.

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. Vietnamese idioms

have 12 idioms which account for 11% to say about this: Từ gót chí đầu, đau đâu

khốn đấy; Một con sa bằng ba con đẻ; Yếu như sên; Run như cầy sấy; Đàn ông nằm

sấp, phụ nữ thở dài; To vòng bụng, ngắn vòng đời; Yếu như cây sậy; Thà đau ngất

chẳng thà giắt răng; Ba ngày béo, bảy ngày gầy, etc.

4.2.2.5 Prevention in eating to protect health

For healthy meals, the choice of food is indispensable. In the process of

absorption and metabolism, the components of food always have the complex

interactions so handling food becomes a burden on the body. When that burden

exceeds self-regulation, the body will be poisoned and this is not good for people’s

health. In folk, there are idioms to advise people not to combine some types of food

together. In this field, there are 19 Vietnamese idioms which occupy 17,5% as

follows: Thịt gà kinh giới kỵ nhau, cùng ăn một lúc ngứa đầu phát điên; Ba ba ăn

với rau sam, bụng đau quằn quại khó tồn vẹn thân; Gan lợn giá đỗ nực cười, xào

chung mất sạch bổ tươi ban đầu; Sữa bò cam quýt bưởi chanh, ăn cùng một lúc liên

thanh sấm rền; Cá chép cam thảo nhớ rằng, trúng độc tức khắc không cần hỏi tra,

etc.

4.2.2.6 Indicating the advice

Vietnamese idioms have many expressions or sayings about how to get good

health. These are experiences that have been drawn from ancient times and passed

on to the next generation. In this field, there are 35 Vietnamese idioms which make

up 32,2% as follows: Một nụ cười bằng mười thang thuốc bổ; Ăn một mình đau tức,

làm một mình cực thân; Một quả cà bằng ba thang thuốc; Cơm phải rau, đau phải

thuốc; Ăn cơm đúng bữa, bệnh chữa kịp thời; Cứu bệnh như cứu hoả; Nhà sạch thì

mát, bát sạch ngon cơm; Tham thực thì cực thân; Ăn miếng ngon,chồng con giả

người, etc.

4.2.2.7 Indicating the longevity and desire

In this field, there are 4 Vietnamese idioms denoting health accounting for

3,6%. In life, people often have a lot of desire. One of those wishes is about health

because of the Vietnamese concept: Có sức khỏe là có tất cả. That is a legitimate

desire of each person. Old people are always respected and all people want to have

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a good health and long life: Sống lâu sức khỏe, mọi vẻ mọi hay, Càng già càng dẻo

càng dai, càng gãy chân chõng, càng sai chân giường; Già sức khỏe, trẻ bình yên;

Lạy trời lạy Phật laỵ Vua, cho tôi sức khỏe đi khua con ruồi.

All the above studies about the semantic features of Vietnamese idioms

denoting health are synthesized in the table below:

Semantic features

Number

Percentage

Prophylactic

3

2,8 %

Treatment

20

18,3 %

Good health

16

14,6 %

Poor health

12

11 %

Advice

35

32,2 %

Longevity and desire

4

3,6 %

Prevention in eating

19

17,5 %

Total

109

100 %

Table 4.7: Semantic features of Vietnamese idioms denoting health

From table 4.7, it is clear to see that idioms which indicate the advice

account for the highest percentage (32,2%). Idioms indicate the treatment and

prevention in eating are the second and the third highest percentage (18,3% and

17,5%) respectively in English idioms denoting health. With the respective

percentages of 14,6% and 11%, the meanings about the good health and the poor

health of English idioms rank fourth and fifth in the table. The lowest percentages is

the percentage of idioms which indicate the longevity and desire (3,6%) and the

prophylactic (2,8%).

4.3 A comparison of idioms denoting health in English with reference to their

Vietnamese equivalents

Idioms are one of the exciting and popular language phenomena. Therefore,

to learn a language, everyone needs to learn the word in that language, and how and

when to use them. However, people also need to learn idioms separately. In

addition, idioms reflect accumulated human experiences and are built on frequency

of occurring situations that demonstrate human behavior, social trait, certain habits

or tradition in a country. Based on these above reasons, we made the comparison

between English and Vietnamese idioms denoting health.

4.3.1 In terms of the syntactic features

This section has given out a generalization of the syntactic structures of

idioms denoting health in English and in Vietnamese. The syntactic features of

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idioms are shown in the table 4.8 where all the features have been sorted into

common patterns.

Structure

Noun phrases



English IH

Number Percent

21

19,3 %



Vietnamese IH

Number Percent

20



18,4 %



40



36,7 %



22



20 %



16



14,7 %



10



9,3 %



19



17,3 %



0



0



Non finite clause

Clause

structures Finite clause



7



6,4 %



0



0



1



1%



0



0



Simple sentences

Sentence

Compound sentences

structures

Complex sentences



4



3,6 %



20



18,4 %



0



0



24



22%



1



1%



13



11,9%



Verb phrases

Phrase

structures Adjective phrases

Prepositional phrases



Total

109

100%

109

100 %

Table 4.8: Statistical analysis of syntactic features of English and Vietnamese IH



Chart 4.1: Rate of syntactic features of English and Vietnamese IH

From Table 4.8, it is clear to see that phrase structures ( 88%) play an

important role in the syntactic features of English idioms denoting health. In



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Table 4.6: Syntactic features of Vietnamese idioms denoting health

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