Idioms play an important role in language acquisition but learners do not have sufficient time to learn all of them. Therefore, learners need to focus on the most frequently occurring idioms, which can be determined by corpus searches. Building off previous corpus studies, this study generated a comprehensive list of English idioms by combining lists from several sources and developed a methodology for organizing and sorting idioms within the list. In total, over 27,000 idiom forms were amalgamated and a portion of the list was compiled, which featured 2,697 core idioms and 5,559 variant idiom forms. It was found that over 35% of idioms varied structurally and thirteen types of idiom variation were highlighted. Additionally, issues concerning idiom boundaries were investigated. These results are congruent with previous findings which show that variation is a commonly occurring element of idioms. Furthermore, specific problematic elements for future corpus searches and English language learners are identified.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Lynn, Ethan Michael, "Getting All the Ducks in a Row: Towards a Method for the Consolidation of English Idioms" (2016). All Theses and Dissertations. 6014.
idioms, corpus linguistics, idiom variation, ESL