Idiom (Latin: idioma, "special property", f. Greek: ἰδίωμα — idiōma, "special feature, special phrasing", f. Greek: ἴδιος — idios, "one’s own") is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a holistic meaning of its own. An idiom's figurative meaning is separate from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms and they occur frequently in all languages. There are estimated to be at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language. It’s raining cats and dogs means a downpour. Where this phrase comes from still remains a subject of discussion. The most widespread explanation is that in the Middle Ages cats and dogs used to spend their time on the thatched roofs. That’s why heavy rains from time to time washed them away. There’s no evidence whether it was true or not, but possibly there were sunk dogs and cats which could be carried out by the water torrent of the town drainage systems during heavy rains.
Jonathan Swift mentioned about it in his poem, describing a town downpour: «Drown’d puppies, stinking sprats, all drench’d in mud, dead cats and turnip — tops come tumbling down the flood [Swift 1710:155]. However, somebody might consider this expression to be just silly and whimsical.
The cat’s out of the bag («Достать кошку из мешка») means that the mystery is unraveled. The funniest and most widespread theory of idiom origin consists in the following. In the Middle Ages on the English markets there was a cunning way to fool purchasers. Residents came to the market to buy domestic animals. As soon as a customer chose an animal and settled accounts, a seller had to pack up alive utensil into a sack and give it to a customer to take it home. According to the idiom origin the less honest sellers sometimes could put a cat into the sack instead of a pig. So, checking it at that moment and in that place and revealing of the substitute brought us this useful phrase.
Three dog night means a very cold night. It is believed to have originated from the Eskimo community. According to it, during cold nights they used to sleep with dogs, the body temperature of which is higher than humans. The colder the night the more dogs needed to keep warm.
Like water off a duck’s back is usually used in negative contexts or a criticism, meaning that something hasn’t got any effect on someone at all. It’s a common knowledge that the water drops cannot make duck’s plumage wet, so water just rolls down from the smooth surface of a bird.
Cat Got Your Tongue? means why is it so quiet here? According to the first version the idiom comes from one philosophical school, where for punishment they used a clash with nine tails. This lash was called «Cat». So, the pupils that were going to be lashed, kept silence in fear.
There’s one more theory, a terrible one, which refers to an ancient Near East custom. Is says that liars had been cut their tongue off and fed it to the cats. However, researchers assert that this term is relatively new, it only started being mentioned since 1911 and that it doesn’t have any logical foundation.
When pigs fly. In the Russian language it is rendered through «Когда рак на горе свистнет!»- say people, meaning «never!» It’s obvious that pigs cannot fly, therefore saying «when pigs fly» is a synonym to something unreal. Why exactly pigs? Well, some time ago in sayings we could come across with other animals («snails may fly», «cows might fly»), but pigs as less suitable to the flights firmly have kept their place in English phraseology.
Language is intimately connected with the culture, it grows into the culture, developing and expressing it. Based on this idea, a new science appeared — Linguoculturology, which can be considered as a separate area of Linguistics formed in the 90-ies of the previous century. The term "linguoculturology" appeared in the last decade, due to the works of the phraseological school headed by V.N. Teliya, by works of Y.S. Stepanov, V. A. Maslova and other researchers. If culturology explores human consciousness towards nature, society, history, art and other areas of his social and cultural life, and linguistics examines the worldview that is displayed and recorded in the language in the form of mental models of language picture of the world.
Linguoculturology has as its subject both language and culture being in interaction.
Linguoculturology is the branch of linguistics that arose on the boundary between linguistics and culturology and investigates the cultural display of the people which was reflected and fixed in the language.
The word "culture" from Latin means "the cultivation, education, development, reverence, cult." Man is permeable for culture, in fact — it is penetrated with culture [Степанов 2010:42].
Language is the most important way of formation and existence of human knowledge about the world. Reflecting the objective world during the process of activity, a man fixes the results of cognition in the word. The combination of that knowledge embodied in linguistic form, represents what is called in various concepts either as «intermediate linguistic world», or «linguistic representation of the world», or as «the linguistic model of the world», or «the linguistic picture of the world». Due to the higher extended usage we choose the latter term.
The study of culture through the language — is an idea that «was in the air» in recent years: the language is the weightiest material, often self-contained information about the world and man within it.