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Widespread Idioms in Europe and Beyond

Toward a Lexicon of Common Figurative Units

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Elisabeth Piirainen

This groundbreaking book in theoretical and empirical phraseology research looks at Europe’s linguistic situation as a whole, including 74 European and 17 non-European languages. The occurrence of idioms that actually share the same lexical and semantic structure across a large number of languages has never been demonstrated so clearly before Widespread Idioms in Europe and Beyond. This book answers significant questions regarding hitherto vague ideas about the phraseological similarities between European languages and their cultural foundation, ranging from intertextuality, aspects of European mental, material, and social culture, to culturally based perception of natural phenomena. This inventory, which analyzes 190 out of a total of 380 widespread idioms and includes maps, is valuable for academic teaching and further research in the fields of phraseology and figurative language, areal and contact linguistics, and European cultural studies.

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LIST OF MAPS Chapter 4: Empirical Approach Map 1: to see the light at the end of the tunnel 101 Chapter 5: Antiquity Map 2: to rise like the Phoenix from the ashes 109 Map 3: to burn one’s bridges/ships 124 Map 4: the die is cast 134 Map 5: to be all in the same boat 139 Map 6: to pour fuel/oil into the fire 142 Map 7: to have one foot in the grave 149 Chapter 6: The Bible Map 8: by the sweat of one’s brow/ face/forehead 176 Map 9: the black sheep in the family 184 Map 10: to be a thorn/a splinter in some- one’s eye/side 201 Map 11: to wash one’s hands of some- thing 205 Map 12: to take someone under one’s wings 211 Map 13: a voice/someone crying in the wilderness 216 Map 14: to separate the wheat from the chaff 225 Map 15: to cast pearls before swine 233 Map 16: to build on sand 236 Map 17: to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s 244 Chapter 7: Various Ancient Sources Map 18: to be in seventh heaven 259 Map 19: someone’s better half 271 Map 20: to swim against the stream/the current 274 Map 21: a wolf in sheep’s clothing 279 Map 22: to go through fire (and water) for someone 287 Map 23: to tear one’s hair out 293 Map 24: someone’s hair stands on end 297 Map 25: not to be able to hurt a fly...

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