[tlhIngan Hol] using {Doch} for non-physical things

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 24 11:20:36 PST 2020

On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 12:00 PM mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> This is something I always had trouble understanding..
> Slang can't be used in formal speech; but can someone use idioms in
> formal speech, passages, etc ?

Slang is specifically informal or colloquial speech used by certain social
groups. An idiom is a phrase whose actual meaning isn't obvious from the
literal meaning of the words in it. Idioms can be colloquial or slang, but
they don't have to be.

For instance, English has phrasal verbs (a verb plus a preposition or
adverb), which are idiomatic and in very common use: "give up", "think
over", "put up with", "look up", "look after", and so on. Looking up
something (as in a dictionary or catalog) does not involve any upward
motion or direction. Thinking over something does not involve being
spatially located above that thing.

As an example of an idiom being used in a formal, scientific setting,
Okrand's Ph.D. dissertation on the Mutsun language has "Her comments about
Mutsun are useful, but must be interpreted *in light of the fact* that
Mutsun was, at best, a secondary language for her." (page 6). The
underlined phrase is an idiom: the fact does not actually cast any light.
The intended meaning is "while considering the fact".

The idioms in KGT and elsewhere aren't described as being colloquial or
slang, so they're probably fine to use in formal situations.
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