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EEO. 2021; 20(3): 31-42

A Corpus-Based Analysis of the Most Frequent Idiomatic Expressions: The Semantic Differences Between British and American Idioms in LID

Salih Mahdi Adai Al-Mamoory, Abdul-Haq Abdul-Kareem Abdullah Al-Sahlani.


The present study is concerned with the semantic variations between British and American idiomatic expressions. The semantic distinction aims at showing that recognizing British and American idioms is an essential criterion in studying English idioms. It is hypothesized that: idiomatic expressions pose situational differences owing to the repeated use of idioms in additional contexts. The special use of idioms results in semantic variations between idioms in both varieties of English.
In order to achieve the aims of this paper and test its hypothesis, Halliday and Hasan (1985) analyse texts with reference to the cultural background of language-users. That is to say, a text, which is a form of language in actual use, makes the right sense according to all the surroundings of that text. Besides, finding out the way in which idioms occur in specific situations, Firth’s (1950) linguistic theory is further used to detect the importance of how idioms are actually used in real life situations that distinguish between British and American English idioms.

Key words: Idioms, Corpus, WordSmith Tools & Semantic Change.

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