College of Arts and Sciences
Ayers, Kathryn, "A Study of Idioms in Relation to Language Universals" (2015). Senior Honors Theses. 549.
In this thesis, I examine how language universals reveal information about the relationship between culture and language. To further understand this connection, I conduct a survey with non-native English speakers. I present universal idioms and ask each participant to write down an equivalent idiom in English, translated from their native language. I examine which expressions are cross-cultural, noticing which languages express the figurative speech in ways different from English and other languages. I identify the varieties of expressions of universal ideas, specifically in relation to the culture of each language. I also address the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis through my research, agreeing that language affects society. Through my research and experiment, I examine how universal human experiences are conveyed based on culture.