1. TheintroductionTongue is indispensablepart of our everyday language. It is literally and metaphorically used andunderstood by different kinds of people. People usually tend to use thenon-literal meanings of tongue or tongue idioms to describe people and toexpress how they see the behavior of different people. Anidiom as it is defined in Webster New World is an expression that is unusual toitself. Grammatically, it cannot beunderstood from the individual meanings of its elements e.g. A hot potato – Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many peopleare talking about and which is usually unclear.
Culture plays animportant role in the course of the idiom interpretation. Idioms have beendefined in various ways by English linguists, grammarians and educators. Totake just a few of these definitions. Idioms,according to Bolinger (1975:63), are “groups of words with set meaningsthat cannot be calculated by adding up the separate meanings of the parts”(as cited in Lattey, 1986:219). Thus, with idioms a user cannot normally change the order of thewords in them,delete a word from them,replace a word with another For example, kickthe bucket cannot occur as kick the pot.
Or change their grammaticalstructure unless he or she is intentionally making a joke or trying a play onwords. The old man kicked the bucket. ? thebucket was kicked (by the oldman). For example, the phrase ” have a word with somebody” means “tospeak with him” but by using the plural” have words with somebody” the meaningchanges to “to quarrel with somebody”. Therefore, Lattey (1986:219) points outthat “as far as the form of idioms is concerned, we have groups of words,and in terms of meanings, and we can say that we are dealing with new, notreadily apparent meanings when we confront idioms”.
Inhis attempt to coin a comprehensive definition, Ghazala (2003:204) definesidioms as “special, metaphorical, fixed phrases whose meanings and formsare not negotiable”. Idioms, like any other aspect of a given language,are of two types in terms of their meanings: universal and language orculture-specific. That is, they may have universal meanings which are common tomany languages, or specific meanings which are, due to linguistic and/orcultural restrictions, confined to the speakers of that particular language andcannot be easily understood by speakers of other languages.
Cognitive linguistics, which is a relativelymodern school of linguistics, has originally emerged in the early 1970s. It hasbeen assumed by cognitive linguists that language reflects our conceptualstructure and organization. They further argue that there exists a commonconceptualizing capacity, which derives from shared aspects of human cognition.Lakoff and Johnson (1980:59) maintain that people generally conceptualize the’nonphysical’ in terms of the ‘physical’, and the main source of our physicalexperience in the world is our body and its interaction with the environment.Such view proposes that one of the most predominant source domains by which weunderstand target domains is the human body.
The phenomenon of idiomaticity and idiomaticexpressions in the Arabic language has been exclusively tackled in the Arabicrhetoric by many ancient and modern Arabic writers. Rhetoric is defined byArabic linguists as “a science by which the stating of a single meaning indifferent ways, with a clear indication to it isknown”. This science studies the figurative expressions which means,saying something and meaning something else and the original meaning of theexpression is not related to what is meant. For example “For you or for the wolf?” ??? ??? ?????”Woeto the wolf’.??? ????? Theclaim in the Cognitive Linguistics is that there is a relationship between theconceptual system and the linguistic system.
The same principles andmotivational forces operate in both. Motivation is a central phenomenon incognitive linguistics. We can talk about the motivation of something inlanguage or thought when that thing is neither arbitrary nor predictable:”The relationship between A and B is motivated just in case there is anindependently existing link, L, such that A-L-B ‘fit together’. L makes senseof the relationship between A and B (Lakoff l987:448). The reason for itscentrality is that “It is easier to learn something that is motivated thansomething that is arbitrary. It is also easier to remember and use motivatedknowledge than arbitrary knowledge” (Lakoff l987:346).
Arabic is a wonderfully expressive, visual language.Many terms used throughout the Arab world would not make much sense out ofcontext. Idioms are the hardest part of a language for a foreigner tounderstand, as they are so deeply rooted in the culture. Thispaper aims at studying the idiomatic meaning of the word tongue in Arabicidioms to answer the following questions: What does the word tongue means indifferent contexts? Does the word tongue have different meaning from those inthe dictionaries? Aretongue idioms arbitrary or motivated?