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The central feature of this composition will investigate the linguistic phenomena known as an idiom. An idiom is a non-literal word or phrase. One of my favorite idioms in English is the idiom piece of cake. The idiom piece of cake has an English origin. The earliest written record of this idiom stems from American poetry. The idiom piece of cake is thought to have originated during the late 1800’s when it was traditional to hand out cakes for winning competitions. Additionally, in some parts of the United States slaves would participate in so called “cake walks”, where they would mock the mannerisms of their masters. Winners of such competitions would be awarded a cake, which may explain why the idiom piece of cake is used to denote something that would easy to achieve or accomplish.
One of the main motives for undertaking the phrase piece of cake for analysis is due to recent popularity. The idiom piece of cake is the title for television shows, dessert factories, movies, slogans, and books. Additionally, the linguistic knowledge required to decipher and unravel idioms from their literal translations aid in their allure. The aptitude to convey cryptic shards of information wittingly displays a form of linguistic intelligence that may awe one’s audience. Pragmatics refers to the context in which surrounding words affects a word’s or phrase’s meaning. That is to say, idioms may provide a means of influencing an audience with thorough use of pragmatics—as linguistic terms are used in relatively new manners. In the same token, idioms are often difficult for non-native speakers of a language to comprehend as learners often struggle with the semantic meaning (literal) and the pragmatics used to intend a different meaning.
A lexeme comprises the following: one or more morphemes, pronunciation, meaning, part of speech, and its relationship to other senses or lexemes. The idiom piece of cake is one lexeme composed of three words. A morpheme refers to a word that cannot be partitioned further as it is the root. Each word in the idiom piece of cake is a single morpheme. The idiom piece of cake contains three morphemes: piece, of, and cake. Each morpheme equally contributes to the meaning of the idiom and the idiom would no longer convey the same information if one of the morphemes were substituted. By using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the pronunciation of this lexeme is as follows: pis əv keɪk. The idiom piece of cake is polysemous, which means it comprises more than one sense or meaning. A sense is a mental representation of word or phrase. As a literal expression, the semantics of a piece of cake can refer to a slice or piece of cake. As an idiom, a piece of cake refers to something being easily obtainable or to surpass others in some facet. The part of speech the idiom piece of cake adopts relies on the influence of the surrounding words—as the idiom can imply a noun or an adjective.
During this time, I will be giving examples of how the idiom piece of cake can be used in English. This first example is: Her picture is in the newspaper now, and life’s a piece of cake. The idiom piece of cake is signaling that the female subject’s life is now easy or surpasses others. In either case, the idiom is acting as an adjective as it is decorating the female’s life and is not referring to a literal piece of cake. Another example may be “Can I have that last piece of cake?” which would refer to a literal piece of cake—causing the idiom to function as a noun. From my observations, the idiom piece of cake is no longer currently linked to any particular demographic. That is to say it is not uttered disproportionally by any single particular group of individuals (i.e. social status, age, religion, gender, or ethical affiliations.)
The idiom piece of cake has increased rapidly since over the last one hundred years. In fact, the usage of the idiom piece of cake is higher than it has ever been in the last one hundred years. As a keen user of language, I profoundly appreciate the amount of variation that can be ascribe to pragmatics. The context of surrounding words can yield new interpretations of formally known words or phrases. In closing, I hope I have shed light on how the idiom piece of cake was derived, its significance as a lexeme, and implications as an idiom.
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