The Semantics of ‘black’ and ‘white’ Idiomatic Expressions in English and Central Kurdish


  • Lana Amanj Mahmood English Department, College of Basic Education, Salahaddin University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.
  • Himdad Abdulqahar Muhammad English Department, College of Basic Education, Salahaddin University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.



Semantic Analysis, Black Idioms, White Idioms.


Colours are loaded with idiomatic and metaphorical associations in different languages and cultures. They do not only express colours themselves but they express feelings, emotions, and different notions of cultures and languages through idiomatic expressions. Moreover, investigation into colours and idiomaticity has been of interest to many scholars. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the semantics of ‘black’ and ‘white’ colour idiomatic expressions in English and Central Kurdish. The meaning of the colour expressions varies according to their degree of transparency and opacity. Hence, this paper aims at discovering the degree of transparency and opacity of ‘black’ and ‘white’ idiomatic expressions in English and Central Kurdish. Many examples of colour idiomatic expressions have been collected from dictionaries, other researchers’ previous works and everyday speech in both languages. Then, the collected data is categorized and then analyzed based on ‘black’ and ‘white’ degrees of transparency and opacity. The results show that both languages contain several idiomatic colour expressions under the three types of idioms (transparent, semi-transparent, and opaque). However, the number of expressions varies from one type to another. Moreover, certain colour expressions in Central Kurdish are combined with body parts that are not found in the English samples. Besides, the ‘black’ and ‘white’ expressions can express feelings, attitudes and personal moods in addition to their literal meanings.


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How to Cite

Mahmood, L. A. ., & Muhammad, H. A. (2023). The Semantics of ‘black’ and ‘white’ Idiomatic Expressions in English and Central Kurdish. Journal of University of Raparin, 10(1), 205–224.



Humanities & Social Sciences