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Nov 15, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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Phraseology



Phraseology

is a branch of linguistics which
studies different types of set expressions.


Set expressions

are non
-
motivated or partially
motivated word groups that cannot be freely
made up in speech, but are reproduced as
ready
-
made units.


e.g.
to carry coals to New Castle; a white
elephant
,
to have one’s heart in one’s boots;

to
build castles in the air
, etc.


Controversial problems in the field of
phraseology


Terminology: set
-
expressions, phraseological
units (V.

V.

Vinogradov), idioms (western
scholars), fixed expressions, stable
expressions, etc.


Distinguishing between phraseological units
and free word groups


Structural criterion


The structural invariability of phraseological units
:


no (or rather limited) substitutions of
components: E.g.
to carry coals to
Manchester

-

Cf.
The cargo ship is carrying coal to Manchester.


restrictions on the componential extension of
phraseological units: E.g.
the
big

white elephant;

he is having his heart in his
brown

(or black)

boots
.


Cf.
I saw a big white elephant in the zoo.


grammatical invariability: e.g.
from head to
feet
.


e.g.
She built for herself the most magnificent
castle in the air of which she was the mistress
.




Semantic criterion


The meaning in phraseological units:


is created by mutual interaction of elements


conveys a single concept


the actual meaning is transferred and opposed to
the literal meaning of a word
-
combination from
which it is derived.


Phraseological units possess
semantic unity
.

E.g.


to have a bee in one’s bonnet

(‘to have an
obsession about something, to be eccentric or
even a little mad’).


The degree of transference may vary: E.g.
to skate
on thin ice

(‘to take risks’);
the small hours

(‘the
early hours in the morning’).


Semantic criterion

The meaning in a word
-
group:



is based on the combined meaning of the
words constituting its structure.


Each element has a much greater semantic
independence and stands for a separate
concept, e.g.
to cut bread, to cut cheese, to
eat bread
, etc.


The semantic unity makes phraseological units
similar to words.

Classification of phraseological units

according to their origin


native


borrowed

The main sources of native phraseological
units


Terminological and professional lexics
, e.g.
navigation:
cut the painter
; military sphere:
fall into line
;
agriculture
: to put the plough
before the oxen, etc.


British literature
, e.g.
the green
-
eyed monster

(W.

Shakespeare);
fall on evil days

(J.

Milton);
a sight for sore eyes

(J.

Swift), etc.


British traditions and customs
, e.g.
baker’s
dozen



Etc.

The main sources of borrowed
phraseological units


The Holy Script
, e.g.
the kiss of Judas; the left
hand does not know what the right hand is
doing.


Ancient legends and myths belonging to
different religious or cultural traditions
, e.g.
to cut the Gordian knot
.


Facts of the world history
, e.g.
to meet one’s
Waterloo


Etc.


Functional classification



Nominal

(noun equivalents):
small talk, red tape, dog’s
life, birds of a feather
;


Verbal

(verb equivalents):
put one’s best foot forward
,
to take the bull by the horns, to beat about the bush, to
be in the same boat
;


Adjectival

(adjective equivalents):
safe and sound
,
high
and mighty
,
spick and span
,
as good as gold, as
nervous as a cat, as drunk as an owl
;


Adverbial
(adverb equivalents):
tooth and nail

(e. g.
to
fight tooth and nail
),
by heart, once in a blue moon
,
by
hook or by crook, without a hitch
;


Interjectional

(functioning like interjections): my God!
goodness gracious! Good Heavens!



Semantic classification
(V.

V.

Vinogradov
)



phraseological fusions (
фразеологические
сращения
),


phraseological unities (
фразеологические
единства
),


phraseological combinations
(
фразеологические сочетания
).



Semantic classification (V.

V.

Vinogradov
)



Phraseological fusions:

the meaning is
completely non
-
motivated at the present stage of
language development. E.g.
red tape,

a mare’s
nest
,
as mad as a hatter, to show the white
feather
, etc. The meaning of the components is
completely absorbed by the meaning of the
whole;


Phraseological unities

are partially motivated,
e.g.
to stick to one’s guns

(‘to refuse to change
one’s opinion’);
to wash one’s dirty linen in public,
to clutch at a straw, to show one’s teeth
.




Semantic classification (V.

V.

Vinogradov
)



Phraseological combinations

are motivated +
one component is used in its direct meaning,
while the other is used metaphorically, e.g.
to
meet the requirements, to attain success, to
break one’s promise, to fall in love with
smb
.
,
etc.

+ Some substitutions are possible, e.g.
to meet
the needs, to meet the demand, to meet the
necessity; to have success, to lose success
.



Proverbs, sayings, familiar quotations



Communicative phraseological units (A.V.

Koonin
)


A proverb

is a sentence that has been
disseminated forth, and states a general truth or
gives advice: e.g.
Idleness is the root of all evil. A
penny saved is a penny earned. The pen is
mightier than the sword.


A saying

is any common, colloquial expression, or
a remark often made, e.g.
That cat won’t jump.
Woe betide you! What will Mrs. Grundy say? Back
to the
ol
’ grind stone.


Proverbs and sayings


are introduced in speech ready
-
made,


their components are constant,


their meaning is traditional and mostly
figurative.


often form the basis for phraseological
units:
It is the last straw that breaks the
camel’s back
=>
the last straw; there is no
use crying over spilt milk
=>
cry over spilt
milk.


are emotionally
coloured

and
metaphorical.


Familiar quotations


come from literature: E.g.:
Few things are
harder to put up with than a good example
(M.

Twain).
If a thing is worth doing it’s worth
doing
(Chesterfield).
Eat to live, not live to eat
(Socrates).
A good name is better than
precious ointment
(Old Testament).
Brevity is
the soul of wit. Something is rotten in the state
of Denmark. The time is out of joint. To be or
not to be: that is the question

(Shakespeare).