S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 29 Number 1/4 (1993)
관용표현과 합성어의 분석 및 어휘부 내외에서의 처리
An Analysis of Idiomatic Expressions & Compounds and Their Lexical Treatment
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.29 No.3, pp. 327-344
- 1. Introduction
The term idiom" or idiomatic expression" is a very broad concept which can include such things as proverbs and polysemy. If one considers idioms merely from the viewpoint of shift in meaning there are many single words which can be classified as idioms, but 1 treat these as polysemy, a simple semantic expansion of a single word, and exclude them from the present discussion. In addition, 1 consider phrases of two or more words frozen syntactically and used with a third meaning that ís not the simple sum of the meanings of the constituent parts" to be idiom. The main emphasis of this discussion is on idiomatic expressions in the form of compounds, but the distinction between compounds and idiom varies from definition to definition. If we consider 장대 같은 비， or 장대비 to be an idiomatic expression, many similar examples fall under the heading of syntactic compounds,difficult to distinguish from phrases. However, these examples are very rarely included in Korean language dictionaries as compounds. The reason for this exclusion from dictionaries appears to be that the use of hyphens as in English (장대-같은-비) is not accepted, and writing such compounds as a single word (장대같은비) is seen as awkward. How these phenomena can be classified and a framework in line with this research topic can be established is a matter for further research. Items difficult to classify as either phrases or compounds create problems in the areas of dictionary listing, reading, orthography, and definition.
2. The Problem of Dictionary Listing
The listing of an idiom or idiomatic/expression in a dictionary implies that the lemma/headword functions as a lexeme. For example, the expression 미역국 먹다 can only be listed in a dictionary as a frozen idiomatic expression if the referential meaning is equivalent to fail", and not merely the sum (to eat seaweed soup') of the meaning of two individual lexical items 미역국(seaweed soup') and 먹다( to eat).
3. The Problem of Word Ordering Within a Dictionary
In addition to the current alphabetical system for listing lexical items in a dictionary (e.g., listing 장대비under 장대), one can imagine a system of listing words under the consituent part with the more central meaning (e. g. 장대비under 비), but in this case a standard would need to be established for finding the central constituent'. For example, if one of the parts is a polysemy, or is the head of a modifier, the item could be listed under that part.
4. The Ambiguous Nature of ldioms
Most idiom can also be interpreted as the simple sum of the meaning of their constituent parts, making their meaning very pragmatic and context reliant. To take the compound 목매다 as an example, the meaning to tie the neck, as with a string', to commit suicide', and to h없9 tenselyare all possible, the distinction among them is wholely context reliant, and only the second and third meanings are idiomatic. It is my view that this kind of information must be reflected in the dictionary listing of a compound. In actuality, the third of these definitions is not currently listed in Korean dictionaries.