Drawing a Demarcation Line between Two Overlapping Colloquial Elements The Case of Idioms and Clichés

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Bikhtiyar O. Fattah
Salah M. Salih


          The overlap between idioms and clichés is one of the problematic meaning issues.  This overlap can simply be detected in online as well as academic sources. The existence of the overlap between idioms and clichés springs from the absence of a model that can work out some demarcation boundary between them. The present study aims at drawing a demarcation line between these two essential colloquial elements by resorting to linguistic features, contextual functions, nature of community of practice based on interlocutors’ relationship, and the degree of informality to fulfill this purpose. This study makes use of a qualitative approach to carry out the process of analysis based on a model designed to assist the procedures of determining the features of each element. With reference to data, the analysed idioms and clichés have been extracted from 20 discourses (10 written texts and 10 recorded interactions) of 10 different topics.

          The most significant concluding points come in three angles: structure (an idiom is mostly a part of a meaningful statement, whereas a cliché is mostly a full meaningful statement by itself); function (idioms are usually used for three different purposes: emphasis, creativity, and persuasiveness, whereas clichés are used either to simplify the idea or to state an idea without exerting any effort by making use of overused statements and common ritualized expressions); and formality ( Idioms are detected in less informal discourses compared to clichés). 


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How to Cite
Fattah, B. O. . and Salih , S. M. (2023) “Drawing a Demarcation Line between Two Overlapping Colloquial Elements: The Case of Idioms and Clichés ”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(1), pp. 65-76. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v6n1y2023.pp65-76.
Author Biographies

Bikhtiyar O. Fattah, Department of English, Faculty of Education, Koya University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Bikhtiyar Omar Fattah is an assistant professor of Linguistics & English Language at the Department of English Language/ Faculty of Education/ Koya University.
He was born on September 1, 1981 in Koya / Erbil. He got B.A. degree at Sallahaddin University, and  M.A. at Koya University. He attended and participated in many national and international English language and English linguistic courses, conferences, workshops and training courses; namely at: Huddersfield University, Sheffield Hallam University, Loughborough University/ The United Kingdom; Virginia Tech / USA; and Bilkent University/ Turkey, in addition to the almost all university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
 His research interests focus on Sociolinguistics,  Discourses Analysis, Politeness and Applied Linguistics. He is a member of the Linguistic Politeness Research Group.  

Salah M. Salih , Department of English Language, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Koya University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Salah M. Salih is an assistant professor of Linguistics & English Language at the Department of English Language & Translation at Koya University. He gained his BA in English Language & Literature from Al-Anbar University in 1995 and; his MA and Ph.D. in Linguistics and English Language from Baghdad University in 2000 and 2003 respectively. He started his academic teaching in 1995 when he worked as a Lab Assistant at Al-Anbar University. In 1996, he joined the Department of English, College of Arts, Baghdad University to pursue his MA and Ph.D. study and teach there as well, he worked as a lecturer in the Department of English Language in both the College of Arts and the College of Languages, Baghdad University during the academic years 1997-2003. From 2003-2005, he worked as an Asst. Prof. and the Head of the Department of English Language at the College of Education, Seyoun, Hadhramout University for Science and Technology, Republic of Yemen.


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