Colour-Related Idiomatic Expressions in English and Kurdish

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Najat O. Kareem


Colour is a powerful communication tool and can convey different positive and negative messages. Apart from their denotative meanings, colours have different connotations in different languages and cultures. Many of these connotations are very clearly observed in their use of colour idiomatic expressions.  This study explores the different meanings and connotations of the basic colour terms and their usage in idiomatic expressions in English and Kurdish to find out areas of similarity and difference between them.  To this end data were collected from different English dictionaries and from English idiom dictionaries; while for the Kurdish idiomatic expressions data were collected from Kurdish idiom booklets and sources (See methodology 4.1 &4.2). The findings obtained from the analysis of the data show that despite similarities in the number of the basic colour terms and their general meanings and connotations in the two languages, the symbolic use of the colour terms in idiomatic expressions is, to a great extent, culture and language specific. 


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Kareem, N. O. (2019) “Colour-Related Idiomatic Expressions in English and Kurdish”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(1), pp. 131-149. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v2n1y2019.pp131-149.
Author Biography

Najat O. Kareem, Department of English Language, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Koya University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Najat is an assistant instructor of English language in the Department of English and Translation. She has also become in charge of the translation unit at Koya University since the academic year 2014-2015. She joined Koya University in 2004 and worked as an assistant researcher and later as chief translator at the College of Translation. She joined MA at Koya University in 2006 and got the title of assistant instructor in 2009. Before that she worked with humanitarian organizations (Save the Children UK and UNOCHI) from 1995 to 2003. She gained a BA degree in English language from College of Arts/ Baghdad University in 1980 and started working as a secondary school teacher from 1981 to 2005. Najat has participated in different training courses in English language teaching, and computer. The last one was an ICDL course in Jordon.



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