Comparison and Contrast Between English and Chinese Idioms From Cultural Connotation Perspective

Wenjuan SHI


Idiom, being a special and indivisible part of language, is the crystallization of culture. With the development of globalization, idiom plays an increasingly important role in spreading national culture. Due to its special and close relationship with culture, idiom is very difficult to learn. In view of the difficulty in and significance of idiom learning, due attention and efforts should be given to the cultural comparison and contrast between English and Chinese idioms.
This article attempts to analyze the cultural phenomena reflected by the cultural comparison and contrast between English and Chinese idioms from three aspects: cultural connotation overlaps, cultural connotation conflicts and cultural connotation vacancy. By introducing the knowledge of cultural overlaps, cultural conflicts and cultural vacancy, the article analyzes idioms from a relatively new cultural perspective. It starts with an introduction which includes basic knowledge of idioms. Then each part deals with a cultural phenomenon in the following order: introducing the cultural phenomenon, analyzing the causes and effects of the cultural phenomenon, putting forward solutions. The last part is conclusion which includes the implications and limitations of the article. It is found that some English and Chinese idioms have equivalent cultural connotations. But the majority of them have different cultural connotations. They are either opposite or vacant in cultural meaning. Meanwhile, many examples are cited to illustrate the cultural similarities and differences between English and Chinese idioms.
The article may serve to enrich language learners’ knowledge on the cultural connotations of English and Chinese idioms. Consequently, the increasing cultural awareness would help learners get rid of the interference of mother tongue. At the same time, their foreign language proficiency and intercultural competence will be improved.


English and Chinese idioms; Cultural overlap; Cultural conflict; Cultural vacancy

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