Body Parts Idioms: A Cross-Cultural Significance


Language is not merely a combination of words that by collecting their total meaning the whole phrase significance can be guessed. Idioms are defined as fixed phrases which contain a number of words carrying a meaning that cannot be predicted and understood from the total sum of the meaning of the individual words. Idioms are very useful to the writers who want to catch and use what the natives actually say. Linguists try to classify idioms in terms of the types of components that they may carry, like color idioms, numbers idioms, animals idioms etc.This paper tries to explore a syntactic reality of importance to Iraqi learners of English as a foreign language. Idiomatic expressions often pose problems for those learners. This paper realizes itself in terms of a fieldwork survey, which concentrates on the body parts idioms that contain the names of body organs with their significance in idiomatic language. Fifty body parts idioms were selected and first year students of the Department of English, the academic year 2006-2007, were exposed to this long list of idioms and were asked to use them in their composition writings. The results are apt to show that when those learners find counter parts/ equivalents in their own language and/or culture, they both recognize and syntactically operate these idiomatic expressions. Among the recommendations the researchers have come up with is to suggest some supplementary material that brings the students closer to the heart of the culture of English to be taught in conversation, composition, comprehension, etc.