Phraseological units in speech communication

Phraseological units as a subsystem of language. Semantic structure of the phraseological units. The translation of phraseological units. Idioms their classification. Functional types of idioms. Organization phraseology of modern English language.

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Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation

Federal State Educational Budgetary Institution of Higher Professional Education

Bashkir State University

Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology

Chair of Linguistics and Translation Studies

Term paper

on the topic: Phraseological units in speech communication


Vidman Elizaveta

Ufa - 2013



1. Phraseological units

1.1 Phraseology as a subsystem of language

1.2 Phraseological units and their types

1.3 Semantic structure of the phraseological units

2. The translation of phraseological units

2.1 Idioms and their classification

2.2 Functional types of idioms




Phraseology is the treasury of the language. There is a reflection of the nations history in phraseological units, originality of culture and life. Phraseology often carries bright national character. The subject matter of this qualification paper is that phraseology as a science reveals peculiarites of phraseological units in language in connection with other levels of language. It also studies sementical, structural-grammatical, expressive-stylistical property of phraseological units, pecularities of its usage, make its classificiation look though sources and ways of filling up phraseological found of the language. Idioms are a very frequently used part of the English language. It comprises one-third part of the colloquial speech. That is why good knowledge of the English is impossible without knowledge of its phraseology. Competence in this area makes it easier to read both journalistic and fiction literature. The metaphorical and emotional character of the phraseology makes the speech more figurative and expressive. Therefore, for those who learn the English language, this layer of the English vocabulary is of particular interest. The aim and hypothesis require solving the following tasks:

- to study semantic peculiarities of phraseological units.

- to investigade functional styles.

- to analyze peculiarities of the title and the role of the phraseological unit.

The purpose of this research is to study the general types of phraseological units as a constituent part of the English vocabulary, to examine phraseological units, idioms.This work consists of an introduction, two chapters, conclusion and literature.

1. Phraseological units

1.1 Phraseology as a subsystem of language

Phraseology means the branch of linguistics dealing with stable word- combinations characterized by certain transference of meaning.

Despite differences of opinion, most authors agree upon some points concerning the distinctive features of phraseological units, such as:

Integrity (or transference) of meaning means that none of the idiom components is separately associated with any referents of objective reality, and the meaning of the whole unit cannot be deduced from the meanings of its components;

Stability (lexical and grammatical) means that no lexical substitution is possible in an idiom in comparison with free or variable word-combinations (with an exception of some cases when such substitutions are made by the author intentionally). The experiments conducted in the 1990s showed that, the meaning of an idiom is not exactly identical to its literal paraphrase given in the dictionary entry. That is why we may speak about lexical flexibility of many units if they are used in a creative manner. Lexical stability is usually accompanied by grammatical stability which prohibits any grammatical changes;

Separability means that the structure of an idiom is not something indivisible, certain modifications are possible within certain boundaries. Here we meet with the so-called lexical and grammatical variants. For examples: "as hungry as a wolf (as a hunter)", "as safe as a house (houses)" in English, (, , ) , () , () () () in Russian.

Expressivity and emotiveness means that idioms are also characterized by stylistic colouring. In other words, they evoke emotions or add expressiveness.

On the whole phraseological units, even if they present a certain pattern, do not generate new phrases. They are unique.

Interlanguage comparison, the aim of which is the exposure of phraseological conformities, forms the basis of a number of theoretical and applied trends of modern linguistic research, including the theory and practice of phraseography. But the question of determining the factors of interlanguage phraseological conformities as the main concept and the criterion of choosing phraseological equivalents and analogues as the aspect concepts is still at issue.

The analysis of special literature during the last decades shows that the majority of linguists consider the coincidence of semantic structure, grammatical (or syntactical) organization and componential (lexeme) structure the main criteria in defining the types of interlanguage phraseological conformities/disparities with the undoubted primacy of semantic structure.

Comparing the three approaches discussed above (semantic, functional, and contextual) we have ample ground to conclude that have very much in common as, the main criteria of phraseological units appear to be essentially the same, i.e. stability and idiomaticity or lack of motivation. It should be noted however that these criteria as elaborated in the three approaches are sufficient mainly to single out extreme cases: highly idiomatic non-variable and free (or variable) word- groups.

Thus red tape, mare's nest, etc. According to the semantic approach belong to phraseology and are described as fusions as they are completely non-motivated. According to the functional approach they are also regarded as phraseological units because of their grammatical (syntactic) inseparability and because they function, in speech as word-equivalents. According to the contextual approach red tape, mare's nest, etc. make up a group of phraseological units referred to as idioms because of the impossibility of any change in the 'fixed context' and their semantic inseparability.

The status of the bulk of word-groups however cannot be decided with certainty with the help of these criteria because as a rule we have to deal not with mplete idiomaticity and stability but with a certain degree of these distinguishing features of phraseological units. No objective criteria of the degree of idiomaticity and stability have as yet been suggested. Thus, e.g., to win a victory according to the semantic approach is a phraseological combination because it is almost completely motivated and allows of certain variability to win, to gain, a victory.[20.] According to the functional approach it is not a phraseological unit as the degree of semantic and grammatical inseparability is insufficient for the word-group to function as a word-equivalent. Small hours according to the contextual approach it is literal meaning. If however we classify it proceeding from the functional approach is a word-groups which are partially motivated is decided differently depending on which of the criteria of phraseological units is applied.

There is still another approach to the problem of phraseology in which an attempt is made to overcome the shortcoming of the phraseological theories discussed above. The main features of this new approach which is now more or less universally accepted by Soviet linguists are as follows:

Phraseology is regarded as a self-contained branch of linguistics and, not as a part of lexicology.

Phraseology deals with a phraseological subsystem of language and not with isolated phraseological units.

Phraseology is concerned with all types of set expressions.

Set expressions are divided into three classes: phraseological units (e.g. red tape, mare's nest, etc.), phraseomatic units (e.g. win a victory, launch a campaign, etc.) and borderline cases belonging to the mixed class. The main distinction between the first and the second classes is semantic: phraseological units have fully or partially transferred meanings while components of, phraseomatic units are used in their literal meanings.

Phraseological and phraseomatic units are not regarded as word- equivalents but some of them are treated as word correlates.

Phraseological and phraseomatic units are set expressions and their phraseological stability distinguishes them from free phrases and compound words.

Phraseological and phraseomatic units are made up of words of different degree of wordness depending on the type of set expressions they are used in. (cf. e.g. small hours and red tape). Their structural separateness, an important factor of their stability, distinguishes them from compound words (E.g. comparing blackbird and black market).

Stability of use means that set expressions are reproduced ready-made and not created in speech. They are not elements of individual style of speech but language units.

Lexical stability means that the components of set expressions are either irreplaceable (e.g. red tape, mare's nest) or party replaceable within the bounds of phraseological or phraseomatic variance: lexical (e.g. a skeleton in the cupboard - a skeleton in the closet); grammatical (e.g. to be in deep water - to be in deep waters); positional (e.g. head over ears - over head and ears), quantitative (e.g. to lead somebody a dance- to lead somebody a pretty dance), mixed variants (e.g. raise (stir up) a hornets' nest about one's ears- arouse (stir up) the nest of hornets).

Semantic stability is based on the lexical stability of set expressions. Even when occasional changes are introduced the meaning of set expression is preserved. It may only be specified, made more precise, weakened or strengthened. In other words in spite of all occasional phraseological and phraseomatic units, as distinguished from free phrases, remain semantically invariant or are destroyed. For example, the substitution of the verbal component in the free phrase to raise a question by the verb to settle (to settle a question) changes the meaning of the phrase, no such change occurs in to raise (stir up) a hornets' nest about one's ears.

An integral part of this approach is a method of phraseological identification which helps to single out set expressions in Modern English.

The diachronic aspect of phraseology has scarcely been investigated. Just a few points of interest may be briefly reviewed in connection with the origin of phraseology has scarcely been investigated. Just a few points of interest may be briefly reviewed in connection with the origin of phraseological units and the ways they appear in language. It is assumed that almost all phrases can be traced back to free word-groups which in the course of the historical development of the English language have acquired semantic and grammatical process of grammaticalization or lexicalization.

Cases of grammaticalization may be illustrated by the transformation of free word-groups composed of the verb have, a noun (pronoun) and Participle II of some other verb into the grammatical form- the Present Perfect in Modern English. The degree of semantic and grammatical inseparability in this analytical word-form is so high that the component has seems to possess no lexical meaning of its own.

The term lexicalization implies that the word-group under discussion develops into a word-equivalent, i.e. a phraseological unit or a compound word. These two parallel lines of lexicalization of free word-groups can be illustrated by the diachronic analysis of, e.g., the compound word instead and the phraseological unit in spite (of). Both of them can be traced back to structurally identical free phrases.

There are some grounds to suppose that there exists a kind of interdependence between these two ways of lexicalization of free word-groups which makes them mutually exclusive. It is observed, for example, that compounds are more abundant in certain parts of speech, whereas phraseological units are numerically predominant in others. Thus, e.g., phraseological units are found in great numbers as verb-equivalents whereas compound verbs are comparatively few. This leads us to assume that lexicalization of free word-groups and their transformation into words or phraseological units is governed by the fewer phraseological units we are likely to encounter in this class of words.

Very little is known of the factors active in the process of lexicalization of free word-groups which results in the appearance of phraseological units. This problem may be viewed in terms of the degree of motivation. We may safely assume that a free word-group is transformed into a phraseological unit when it acquires semantic inseparability and becomes synchronically non-motivated.

The following may be perceived as the main causes accounting for the less' of motivation of free word-groups:

When one of the components of a word-group becomes archaic or drops out of the language altogether the whole word-group may become completely or partially non-motivated. For example, lack of motivation in the word-group kith and kin may be accounted for by the fact that the member-word kith dropped out of the language altogether except as the component of the phraseological unit under discussion. This is also observed in the phraseological unit under discussion.

When as a result of a change in the semantic structure of a polysemantic word some of its meanings disappear and can be found only in certain collocations. The noun mind, e.g., once meant 'purpose' or 'intention' and this meaning survives in the phrases to have a mind to do something, to change one's mind, etc.

When a free word-group used in professional speech penetrates into general literary usage, it is often felt as non-motivated. To pull (the) strings (wires), e.g., was originally used as a free word-group in its direct meaning by professional actors in puppet shows. In Modern English, however, it has lost all connection with puppet-shows and therefore cannot also be observed in the' phraseological unit to stick to one's guns, which can be traced back to military English, etc.

Sometimes extra-linguistic factors may account for the loss of motivation, to show the white feather - 'to act as a coward', e.g., can be traced back to the days when cock-fighting was popular. A white feather in a gamecock's plumage denoted bad breeding and was regarded as a sign of cowardice. Now that cock-fighting is no longer a popular sport, the phrase is felt as non-motivated.[15,55] As a matter of fact, a person who attended a university where Gamecock was the athletic symbol of the school did not know this phrase, therefore use of this phrase would only confuse the hearers, not convey proper communication.

When a word-group making up part of a proverb or saying begins to be used a self-contained unit it may gradually become non-motivated if its connection with the corresponding proverb or saying is not clearly perceived. A new broom, e.g., originates as a component of the saying new brooms sweep clean. New broom as a phraseological unit may be viewed as non-motivated because the meaning of the whole is not deducible from the meaning of the components. Moreover, it seems grammatically and functionally self-contained and inseparable too. In the saying quoted above the noun broom is always used in the plural; as a member-word of the phraseological unit it mostly used in the singular. The phraseological unit a new broom is characterized by functional inseparability. In the saying new brooms sweep clean the adjective new functions as an attribute to the noun brooms, in the phraseological unit a new broom (e.g. Well he is a new broom!) the whole word-group is functionally inseparable.

When part of a quotation from literary sources, mythology or the Bible begin to be used as a self-contained unit, it may also lose all connection with the original context and as a result of this become non-motivated. The phraseological unit the green-eyed monster (jealousy) can be easily found as a part of the quotation from Shakespeare "It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on" (Othello, II, i. 165).[14,56] In Modern English, however, it functions as a non-motivated self-contained phraseological unit and is also used to denote the T.V. set. Achilles heel - 'the weak spot in a man's circumstances or character' can be traced back to mythology, but it seems that in Modern English this word-group functions as a phraseological unit largely because most English speakers do not connect it with the myth from which it was extracted.

1. The final criterion in the semantic approach is idiomaticity whereas in the functional approach syntactic inseparability is viewed as the final test, and in the contextual approach it is stability of context combined with idiomaticity of word-groups.

The concept of idiomaticity is not strictly defined. The judgments as to idiomaticity are passed sometimes within the framework of the English language and sometimes from the outside - from the point of view of the mother tongue of the investigator.

It is suggested here that the term idiomaticity should be interpreted as an interlingual notion and also that the degree of idiomaticity should be taken into consideration since between the extreme of complete motivation and lack of motivation there are numerous intermediate group.

Each of the three approaches has its merits and demerits. The traditional semantic approach points out the essential features of all kinds of idiomatic phrases as opposed to completely motivated free word-groups. The functional approach puts forward an objective criterion for singling out a small group of word-equivalents possessing all the basic features of words as lexical items. The contextual approach makes the criterion of stability more exact.

All the three approaches are sufficient to single out the extreme cases: highly idiomatic phraseological units and free word-groups. The status of the bulk of word-groups possessing different degrees of idiomaticity cannot be decided with certainty by applying the criteria available in linguistic science.

The distinguishing feature of the new approach is that phraseology is regarded as a self-contained branch of linguistics and not as a part of lexicology.

1.1 Phraseological units and their types

It has been repeatedly pointed out that word-groups viewed as functionally and semantically inseparable units are traditionally regarded as the subject matter of phraseology. It should be noted, however, that no proper scientific investigation of English phraseology has been attempted until quite recently. English and American linguists as a rule confine themselves to collecting various words, word- groups and sentences presenting some interest either from the point of view of origin, style, usage, or some other feature peculiar to them. These units are habitually described as idioms but no attempt has been made to investigate these idioms as a separate class of linguistic units or a specific class of word-groups.

The vocabulary of a language is enriched not only by words but also by phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be' made in the process of speech, they exist in the language as ready-made units. They are compiled in special dictionaries. The same as words phraseological units express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it. American and British lexicographers call such units idioms. We can mention such dictionaries as: L.Smith Words and Idioms[15,4.], V.Collins Book of English Idioms[12] etc. In these dictionaries we can find words, peculiar in their semantics (idiomatic), side by side with word-groups and sentences. In these dictionaries they are arranged, as a rule, into different semantic groups. Phraseological units can be classified according to the ways they are formed, according to the degree of the motivation of their meaning, according to their structure and according to their part-of-speech meaning. A.V. Koonin classified phraseological units according to the way they are formed. He pointed out primary and secondary ways of forming phraseological units. Primary ways of forming phraseological units are those when a unit is formed on the basis of a free word-group:

a) The most productive in Modem English is the formation of phraseological units by means of transferring the meaning of terminological word-groups, e.g. in cosmic technique we ran point out the following phrases: launching pad in its terminological meaning is , in its transferred meaning - , to link up - , ,in its tranformed meaning it means - ;

a large group of phraseological units was formed from free word groups by transforming their meaning, e.g. granny farm - , Trojan horse -

Phraseological units can be formed by means of alliteration , e.g. a sad sack - , culture vulture - , fudge and nudge - .

they can be formed by means of expressiveness, especially it is characteristic for forming interjections, e.g. My aunt!, Hear, hear ! etc.

They can be formed by means of distorting a word group, e.g. odds and ends was formed from odd ends, they can be formed by using archaisms, e.g. in brown study means in gloomy meditation where both components preserve their archaic meanings, they can be formed by using a sentence in a different sphere of life, e.g. that cock won't fight can be used as a free word-group when it is used in sports (cock fighting), it becomes a phraseological unit when it is used in everyday life, because it is used metaphorically,

they can be formed when we use some unreal image, e.g. to have butterflies in the stomach - , to have green fingers - , - etc.

they can be formed by using expressions of writers or polititions in everyday life, e.g. corridors of power (Snow), American dream (Alby) locust years (Churchil), the winds of change (Mc Millan).

Secondary ways of forming phraseological units are those when a phraseological unit is formed on the basis of another phraseological unit; they are:

a) conversion, e.g. to vote with one's feet was converted into vote with one's feet;

changing the grammar form, e.g. Make hay while the sun shines is transferred into a verbal phrase - to make hay while the sun shines;

analogy, e.g. Curiosity killed the cat was transferred into Care killed the cat;

contrast, e.g. cold surgery - a planned before operation was formed by contrasting it with acute surgery, .thin cat - a poor person was formed by contrasting it with fat cat;

shortening of proverbs or sayings e.g. from the proverb You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear by means of clipping the middle of it the phraseological unit to make a sow's ear was formed with the meaning .

borrowing phraseological units from other languages, either as translation loans, e.g. living space (German), to take the bull by the horns (Latin) or by means of phonetic borrowings meche blanche (French), corpse d'elite (French), sotto voce (Italian) etc.

Phonetic borrowings among phraseological units refer to the bookish style and are not used very often.

There are different combinations of words. Some of them are free, e.g. to read books (news papers, a letter, etc.) others are fixed, limited in their combinative power, e.g. to go to bed,, to make a report. The combinations of words which are fixed (set-expressions) are called phraseological units.

A free combination is a syntactical unit, which consists notional and form words, and in which notional words have the function of, independent parts of the sentence. In a phraseological unit words are not independent. They form set-expressions, in which neither words nor the order of words can be changed. Free combinations are created by the speaker. Phraseological units are used by the speaker in a ready form, without any changes. The whole phraseological unit has a meaning which may be quite different from the meaning of its components, and therefore the whole unit, and not separate words, has the function of a part of the sentence.

Phraseological units consist of separate words and therefore they are different words, even from compounds. Word have several structural forms, but in phraseological units only one of the components has all the forms of the paradigm of the part of speech it belongs to e.g. to go to bed, goes to bed, went to bed, gone to bed, going to bed, etc., the rest of the components do not change their form.

By the classification of Academician V.Vinogradov phraseological units are devided into three groups: phraseological combinations, phraseological unities and phraseological fusions.

Phraseological combinations are often called traditional because words are combined in their original meaning but their combinations are different in different languages, e.g. cash and carry - (self-service shop), in a big way (in great degree) etc. It is usually impossible to account logically for the combination of

particular words. It can be explained only on the basis of tradition, e.g. to deliver a lection (but not to read a lecture).

In phraseological combinations words retain their full semantic independence although they are limited in their combinative power, e.g. to wage wax (but not to lead war), to render assistance, to render services (but not to render pleasure).

Phraseological Unities. In phraseological unities the meaning of the whole can be guessed from the meanings of its components, but it is transferred (metaphorical or metonymical), e.g. to play the first fiddle (to be a leader in something), old salt (experienced sailor) etc. The meaning of the whole word combination is not the sum of the meanings of its components, but it is based on them and the meaning of the whole can be inferred from the image that underlies the whole expression, e.g. to get on one's nerves, to cut somebody short, to show one's teeth, to be at daggers drawn. Phraseological unities are equivalents of words as 1) only one of components of a phraseological unity has structural forms' e.g. to play (played, is playing, etc.) the first fiddle (but not played the first fiddles); to turn ( turned, will turn, etc.) a new leaf ( but not to turn newer leaf or new leaves); 2) the whole unity and not its components are parts of the sentence in syntactical analysis, e.g. in the sentence He took the bull by the horns (attacked a problem boldly) there are only two parts: he - the subject, and took the bull by the horns - the predicate.

Phraseological Fusions. In phraseological fusions the degree of motivation is very low, we cannot guess the meaning of the whole from the meanings of its components, they are highly idiomatic and cannot be translated word for word into other languages, e.g.. to pull one's leg (to deceive); at sixes and sevens (in confusion); a mare's nest ( a discovery which turns out to be false or worthless); to show the white feather (to show cowardice); to ride the high horse (to put on airs). Phraseological fusions are the most idiomatic of all the kinds of phraseological units. Phraseological fusions are equivalents of words: fusions as well as unities form a syntactical whole in analysis.

1.2 Semantic structure of the phraseological units

In linguistics, phraseology describes the context in which a word is used. This often includes typical usages and sequences, such as idioms, phrasal verbs, and multi-word lexical units.

Phraseology appeared in the domain of lexicology and is undergoing the process of segregating as a separate branch of linguistics. Lexicology deals with words and their meanings, whereas phraseology studies such collocations of words (phraseologisms, phraseological units, idioms), where the meaning of the whole collocation is different from the simple sum of literal meanings of the words, comprising a phraseological unit. F.e. `Dutch auction' is not an auction taking place in Netherlands. The meaning of this phraseological unit refers to any auction, where instead of rising, the prices fall (compare Dutch comfort, Dutch courage, Dutch treat reflecting complicated historical factors). Phraseological units are (according to Prof. Kunin A.V.) stable word-groups with partially or fully transferred meanings ("to kick the bucket", Greek gift, drink till all's blue, drunk as a fiddler (drunk as a lord, as a boiled owl), as mad as a hatter (as a march hare)).

According to Rosemarie Glser, a phraseological unit is a lexicalized, reproducible bilexemic or polylexemic word group in common use, which has relative syntactic and semantic stability, may be idiomatized, may carry connotations, and may have an emphatic or intensifying function in a text.

The works of V. V. Vinagradov[5,23] promoted the appearance a numerous works on phraseologies in different languages. Such accumulation of systematized facts is one of the premises of the creation of phraseology as a linguistical discipline.

Professor I.V.Arnold believes that the term refers only to the stable expressions that, by contrast, are expressive and emotive.[11,13].

2. The translation of phraseological units

2.1 Idioms and their classification

The English language is full of idioms (over 15000). Native speakers of English use idioms all the time, often without realizing that they are doing so.

This means that communication with native speakers English can be quite a confusing experience .

An idiom is a group of words which when used together, has a different meaning from the one which the individual words have.

For example:

How do you know about John's illness?

Oh,I heard it on thegrapevine!

Of course, the second speaker doesn't mean he heard the news about John by putting his ear to a grapevine! He is conveying the idea of information spreading around a widespread network usually similar to a grapevine.

Some collocations of the delexical verb + noun + preposition type come close to idiomatiaty, since not only is part - for - part substitution impossible but a special passive transformation shows the verb and two following elements to form a close idiomatic unit:

They took (good) care of the children.

They children were taken (good) care of.

Despite the efficacy of such tests the most familiar approach to the definition of idioms and one that linguistics as well as lexicographers have helped to popularize, focuses on the difficulty of understanding idioms in terms of the meaning of their constituents. The following definition ( from the Collins English dictionary, second edition, 1986)[12] represents this tendency:. a group words whose meaning of the constituent words as for example ( it was raining) cats and dogs.

But this formulation (and definition could be called from a range of dictionaries now in print) is open to serious challenge.

As cruse clearly demonstrates, such definitions are circular since: meanings of the constituent words must be understood to imply meanings of the constituents words have in other, non-idiomatic contexts, one finds that to apply the definition one must already be able to distinguish between idiomatic and non-idiomatic expressions. Fortunately, idioms can be defined without circularity by applying procedures such as those demonstrated earlier. Since idioms in the strict sense are semantic units they should resist replacement of their components by words which are themselves semantic units. Compare in this respect:

Blow the gaff

Puff the gaff and kick the bucket, kick the pail, where the effect of substitution is to produce nonsense or non-idiom. A second weakness of the traditional definition, with its stress on the semantic opequeness of combinations, is its exclusiveness. It leaves out of account a large class of expressions which have figurative meaning but which also keep a current literal interpretation. Examples of such figurative idioms are close ranks, do a U-turn and die a natural death. There are also marginal cases, such as run off the rails and reach the end of the line, where interpretation may or may not benefit from knowledge of an original technical sense. The semantic evidence suggests a gradation and this is underlines by the possibility of lexical or pronominal substitutions in individual cases. Consider, for instance: a closed / sealed book ;a dry/dummy rum and I had a close shave but Bill had an even closer one.

Idioms in the narrow sense are clearly related to figurative idioms and the looser more transparent collocations along a cline or continuim. True idioms were taken up in the 1960's and 1970's by generative grammarians, who were concerned with the theoretical difficulties of accounting for their interpretation and syntactic properties in terms of a transformational-generative grammar. Fraser (1970) used a battery of transformations as a means of establishing degrees of idiomaticity judging as most frozen those items which were resistant to most transformations.

The difficulty with such an approach is that specific restriction do not apply evenly to idioms of a given structural type (idiomacity having been established on independent semantic groups) and may affect some collocations as well.

Thus while spill the beans (true idiom) can be passivized, mark time(figurative idiom) cannot, and neither can foot the bill ( restricted collocations). Perhaps the most useful approach is to accept that while no transformations will prove diagnostically reliable in every case some types of transformation are more indicative of idiomaticity than others. For instance grammatical process whose function is to highlight a specific clause element will often not be applicable if that element also forms part of idiom.

Semantically idioms are divided into three classes: Pure idioms, semi idioms, literal idioms.

Pure idioms are those which can't be translated word by word, they are non-literal. For example: spill the beans has nothing to do with real beans.

Semi-idioms have one or more literal constituents and at least one with a non-literal subsense, usually special to that cooccurance relation no other:

Catch has the meaning at their constituents. For example: on foot Merry Christmas and happy New Year. Besides idioms can undergo substitution for their parts the near synonyms. And the idioms which are flexible to some degree to such substitution are called idioms of restricted variance. For example: happy (merry) Christmas. The idioms which are inflexible to such change at all are called invariant and fixed idioms. For example: on the contrary; Happy New Year. If we connect these two classifications we shall get the following tasks:

Pure - idioms - invariant, non-literal:

Devil-may-care, backlash ching wag red herring make of with, pick and span, smell a rat, the coast is clear, etc.

Restricted variance, non-literal; pitter-patter (pit-a-pat), take/have forty winks, seize/grasp the nettle, get/have cold feet, etc.

Semi-literal idioms, invariant; drop names, catch fire, hitch the kin, foothe bill, fat change you've got, etc. restricted variance: chequered career/history, blue film/story/joke/comedian,good morning/ day etc.

Literal idioms - in variant; on foot, one day, in sum, im the meantime, on the contrary arm in arm, very important person ( VIP ), potato chips: tall, darkand handsome; waste not, want not, happy New Year, etc. and set down. Form irregular, meaning unclear, as in be at large, go great guns, be at daggers drawn.

2.2 Functional types of idioms

Idioms - ideational. Ideational idioms are convey impressionalistic representation of the physical, social and emotional words of a language community. They either signify message content, experiential phenomenia including the sensory the effective, and the evaluative or they characterize the nature of message. Message content actions: tear down mess about with, twist somebody's arm.

Events: turning point, the straw that breaks the camel's back, out of the mouth of babies.

Situations: be in Queer street , be in a pichle. People and things; a - back - seat driver, a man about town, a scarlet woman.

Attributes: cut and dried, matter of fact, lily - white, as green as grass.

Evolution: turn back the clock, it is a pity, as a matter of fact.

Emotions: green with envy, heart in one's mouth, a lump in one's characterizing the message. Specific information; to be exact/precise.

For example: that is the question is Non - specific information; kind of/ sort of, or something, such and such, and so on.

Interpersonal idioms. This type of idioms occur in discourse in pragmatic function: greetings, farewells warnings, disclaims.

Interpersonal idioms fulfill either a characterize the nature of the message. In their interpersonal function they initiate, maintain and close and exchange and closely associated with politeness routines:

Interactional strategies:

Greeting and farewells;

Good morning, how are you?


Let's face it, tell you what, say no more.


That's true, you are telling me

Feels eliciting opinions;

What do you think? How do you feel?


You're kidding/ joking come off it/Get out of here/Get away from me

Characterizing the message:

News worthness:

Guess what, what do you know, what you ask.


Quite, seriously, believe you me, a matter of fact/

Call s for brevity:

Cut the cackle, get to the point.


Daresay; mind you; etc.

Relational idioms. Relational is a general form for an attribute characterizing a diverse number of language forms all of which have a cohesive function in a discourse. Relational or textual idioms can accordingly be grouped along with conjunctions, for example and but, or, and so because it then etc, as having a textual function. They may be characterized into those which sequence information integrative.

Adversative: on the contrary, far from, etc.

Comparison: on one hand., on the other, etc.

Casual: so that, when, the more, no wonder, etc.

Concessive: at the same time, etc.

Addition: in addition to, what is more, etc.

Sequencing or chaining information. Sequencing meta-discoursal information, for example, in the first place, last but not least.

Sequencing temporal information, for example one day, a long time ago, up to now, etc. hraseology semantic idioms translation

Attention is the need to understand that idiom should, by no means, be used in all contexts and discourses. When correctly used, idioms provide one with a native like ability to communicate at a more advanced level and in situations that are more complex. When used inadvertently at random where more formal and literary diction is retained, they prose a great danger to the in expect user who consequently, runs the risk of sounding uneducated and vulgar. Idioms are meant to be used metaphorically and only in conversing with people with whom they share experiences, socio-cultural background, and even religious beliefs.

English language is only a part of or rather embodiment of English culture and history, which, by and large, are at variance with those of Greece. Therefore any attempt to view things and notions from the English perspective without first mastering any other language features and components, i.e. advanced grammar constructions, more elevated vocabulary, etc. but with the sole aid of idioms, is if not futile, certainly rather painstaking and unrewarding. Idioms are meant to give the language a more lively hue, not to substitute for standard English completely. If one already acquainted with literary forms and expressions, there is no other way of grasping idioms but through contenting oneself with magazines and tabloids, the informal register of which allows of the use of innumerable idiomatic expressions. By the same taken, whoever wishes to learn English or any other language should not limit themselves to reading books taught at school, but also acquire a taste for classical and modern literature, religious and philosophical books, newspaper, etc.


Phraseology is science, about phraseological units, which are firm word combinations with complicated semantically structure. Language enriched not only by words but also by phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech; they exist in the language as ready-made units. In forming the phrase, the human factors plays an enormous role, science suppressing majority of phraseological units are connected with human being, with varied sphere of his activity. Phraseological units fill the lexical system of the language, which cannot completely provide the description of human activity, and in most cases are single indication of human, characteristics, his activities, conditions situations etc. In base to making phraseology, can lie any semantic sign of the subject or phenomena surrounding reality, finding the reflection in semantic as word- combination as a whole, or separate words, connotation and functional stylistic meanings are defined by contents of the internal image of the phrase, as well as by the nature of the semantic shift in it.


1. .. . . - . . - : .,1986.- 33 .

2. .. - : .,1981.- 295 .

3. .. . The English Word.-., .,1986.-295 .

4. .. . - ., 1967.- 24 .

5. .. : . . - .: , 1986.- 312 .

6. . . . - M., 1967. - 474 .

7. .. . - .,1974. -269.

8. .. . - ., 1958.-127 .

9. .. . - ., ., 1978. - 160 .

10. . . . .: , 1986- 336 c.

11. Arnold I.V. The English Word . M., 1986.-200 .

12. Collins V. Book of English Idioms 1981.- 254 .

13. Ginzburg R.S. A course in modern English lexicology. M., 1979.-269 .

14. Shakespeare W. Othello. England., Longman., 2008.-56.

15. Smith L. Words and Idioms. 1976.- 299 p.

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