Are idioms informal?
Thread poster: DingXiaolin

DingXiaolin

Local time: 21:14
Chinese to English
+ ...
Aug 12, 2010

Are idioms for informal uses?

thank you so much

bless


 

Katarina Delic  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 15:14
Member (2008)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Formal and informal idioms Aug 12, 2010

lovelight wrote:

Are idioms for informal uses?

thank you so much

bless


You certainly wouldn't use a sentence like "He kicked the bucket on May 6..." in a medical report. But there are lots of idioms that are very much used in formal speech. So, some idioms are less formal and some are more formal; of course, some are purely formal and some are purely informal.


 

Sherey Gould  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:14
German to English
Maybe I'm just exhausted, but this struck me as absolutely hilarious! Aug 12, 2010

You certainly wouldn't use a sentence like "He kicked the bucket on May 6..." in a medical report.


Oh great, thanks, Katarina!
Now I really *do* want to work that into an official document somewhere/somehow!
icon_smile.gif


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 09:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Unless... Aug 12, 2010

Katarina Delic wrote:
You certainly wouldn't use a sentence like "He kicked the bucket on May 6..." in a medical report.


... your surname happens to be 'House'.

MediaMatrix


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 09:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not necessarily Aug 13, 2010

lovelight wrote:

Are idioms for informal uses?

thank you so much

bless


Idioms form a part of all forms of expression, both formal and informal.

But - as Katarina has nicely explained - some idioms are best suited to formal contexts, whilst others are best for informal ones.

The use of an idiom outside its customary level of formality is often an indicator either of the author's degree of respect for formality ('correctness'), or his level of literacy. Well-bred people use idioms in their appropriate circumstances; others may deliberately mis-use idioms to strengthen the expression of their personal prejudices.

MediaMatrix


 

DingXiaolin

Local time: 21:14
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thx Aug 13, 2010

Thank you for all your kind explanations.icon_smile.gif i think i got to be more careful with idioms.

 

Doron Greenspan MITI  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 16:14
Member (2005)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Sherey, you can! Aug 13, 2010

Every once in a while, i feel i'm in a subversive mood, and then i put a nice idiom, or a word of my own creation, into a text i translate.

Mind you, the idiom is in the right place, although slightly unexpected, and the 'neologism' is definitely to cover a serious lacuna in Hebrew, but still, it's fun!

And Katrina, i also loved your sample creation!

Doron


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Just wanted to say... Aug 13, 2010

I like the question.

 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:14
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
TV channel program in non-English speaking countries Aug 14, 2010

mediamatrix wrote:
Idioms form a part of all forms of expression, both formal and informal.
But - as Katarina has nicely explained - some idioms are best suited to formal contexts, whilst others are best for informal ones.
The use of an idiom outside its customary level of formality is often an indicator either of the author's degree of respect for formality ('correctness'), or his level of literacy. Well-bred people use idioms in their appropriate circumstances; others may deliberately mis-use idioms to strengthen the expression of their personal prejudices.

TV channel program in non-English speaking countries tend to exploit English idiom if the announcers are young and spent earlier years in English speaking countries. This happens in Thailand. We recently want to improve English proficiency level of the people by introducing many English language programs. They use idioms and slangs frequently. I worry that the audience may absorb the knowledges as the standard English. The reply of mediamatrix is quite assertive.

Best regards,
Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 09:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
English-language role models Aug 14, 2010

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

TV channel program in non-English speaking countries tend to exploit English idiom if the announcers are young and spent earlier years in English speaking countries. This happens in Thailand. We recently want to improve English proficiency level of the people by introducing many English language programs. They use idioms and slangs frequently. I worry that the audience may absorb the knowledges as the standard English. ...


There was a time – two or three decades ago – when it was feasible to use English-language TV or radio broadcasts, or even some movies, as tool for improving the understanding of English by non-native learners. The written press – at least, a few select periodicals – could also serve this purpose.

I was recently asked to recommend some on-line reading-matter to someone who wanted to brush up their English after having let it lapse for several years.

I immediately thought of the BBC website – after all, they use ‘BBC English’, don’t they? That’s second only to the Queen’s English.

Huh! Do they heck!? I spent at least an hour searching through the BBC News pages looking for just one item that I could unreservedly recommend as a good example of how English can be used to convey simple ideas meaningfully, without ambiguity, without unnecessary regionalisms or idioms, with proper respect for the rules of spelling and grammar, and which would serve my friend’s purpose. And I found none.

The English language has, I fear, gone to pot. Even in former havens of ‘good English’ mumbo-jumbo has taken over from the basic tools of communication, applying some kind of idiomatic (or idiosyncratic, or just plain idiotic) encryption algorithm to render it incomprehensible to anyone without the specialist resources they need to recover the author’s original message.

Heaven help the Thais – or, indeed, anyone else looking for an English-language role model…

MediaMatrix


 


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Are idioms informal?

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