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Дарья Даранова
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LECTURE 6. Phraseological units of set expressions.1. Definition criterion. 2. Types, classification. 3. Features. 4. Proverbs, quotations, clichés. 1. Word groups, viewed as functionally and semantically inseparable, are called phraseological units or idioms. Criterion: 1) stability of lexical components, reproduced as single unchangeable collocations; 2) idiomaticity or lack of motivation which can not be freely made up in speech, can not be deduced from the components; 3) functional inseparability and the ability to function as single words that means that they are introduced in speech ready-made. E.g. red-tape (бюрократический). It is semantically non motivated that is why its meaning can not be deduced from the meaning of its components and it exists as a ready-made linguistic unit. It does not allow any changes of its lexical components. Set expressions are contrasted to free phrases and semi-fixed combinations. A free phrase permits substitutions of any of its elements without semantic change in the other element or elements. E.g. come back; come may be presided by any noun or followed by any adverb. The linguistic factors are connected with grammatical properties of words. A semi-fixed combination – if substitution is only pronominal or restricted to a few synonyms or one of the members or impassible that is if the elements of the phrase are always the same and they make a fixed context the word group is a set expression. The substitution is possible but it is limited. E.g. to be at school (at hospital, at prison, at home) The combination is restricted by nouns of places where definite actions are performed. 2. Classification of set expressions according to the type of motivation. Set expressions are subdivided into 3 groups according to the degree of idiomaticity: 1) Phraseological fusion – the highest stage of blending together nonmotivated synchronically, complete stability of lexical components. E.g. red-tape, to kick the bucket. The meaning of the components has no connections at least synchronically with the meaning of the whole group. Idiomaticity is combined with complete ability of its lexical components. 2) Phraseological unities – the meaning of them can usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the elements. E.g. to show one’s teeth; much water has flown. We can say that these phraseological unities are partly motivated. Through the combined lexical meaning of the components we can understand the meaning of the whole at least in their literal meaning. 3) Phraseological combinations (collocations) – they are clearly motivated and contain a component in its direct meaning but they are made up of words possessing specific lexical valency. E.g. to bear a grudge; to take a liking. These collocations tend to be a kind of clichés where the meaning of member-words is to some extend dominated by the meaning of the whole group. Classification according to the role in the sentence. Set expressions may function like: 1) nouns; e.g. maiden name (I don’t know her maiden name); 2) verbs; e.g. to have a big mouth (He has a big mouth); 3) adjectives; e.g. as old as the hills; 4) adverbs; e.g. once in a blue moon (I see him once in a blue moon). But there are syntactically shaped utterances. E.g. to chuck up the sponge. 3. Some problems connected with classifications, criteria of set expressions and problems of terminology. 1) The problem of ready-made units – this term can be applied to a variety of phenomena in the language. E.g. proverbs. 2) The criteria of idiomaticity is also inadequate because some expressions (e.g. to take one’s chance) are treated by some linguists both as free and as a set. 3) The criteria of stability is also unreliable. E.g. not to care a rope, not to care a sixpence. The functional unities seem to be broken. It follows that stability and idiomaticity are two different things. Stability means predictability of occurance. 4. Proverbs, quotations, clichés. We touch upon them because they are also ready-made. Proverbs – ready-made saying of common wisdom. Proverbs have much in common with set expressions because the lexical components are also constant, their meaning is traditional and mostly figurative and they are introduced into speech ready-made. Some scholars think that proverbs should be studied together with set expressions, others do not even consider them as a part of phraseology. So there is a question if they should or not be included into phraseology. If we follow the later point of view we’ll have to exclude some phrases as for example “hang it all” (тьфу, пропасть! Пропади оно пропадом!) as they are also syntactically independent. Another reason why the proverbs must be taken into consideration together with set expressions is that they often form basis of set expressions. E.g. the last straw (последняя капля). Quotations. They are different from proverbs in their origin. They all come from literature but they have become part parcel of the language. So that many people using them don’t even know that they are using quotations. E.g. “a litter learning is a dangerous thing” Clichés are quotations which are so often used that come to be considered as clichés. Being constantly and mechanically used they lost their original expression. E.g. astronomical figures(астрономические суммы), the irony of fate (ирония судьбы).
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