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Зоосемия в английской фразеологии

Zoonymy in English phraseology

INTRODUCTION…………………….……………………………….. 3

Chapter I. The classification of phraseology..………………………… 6

Chapter II. Zooonymy in phraseologisms .…………………………….12

2.1 Structural peculiarity……………………………………………….13

2.2 Semantic characteristics…………………………………………….20

2.3 Stylistic reference…………………………………………………..22

Conclusion………………………………………………………………24

BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………….26

I. Introduction

The choice of the theme of this paper is caused by the interest in studying of this question at universities.

The basic theme of this paper is the question on phraseology, zoonymy and principles of classification.

Phraseological units, or idioms, as they are called by most Western scholars, represent what can probably be described as the most picturesque, colourful and expressive part of the language vocabulary.

The paper consists of two basic parts: theoretical and practical ones, which examine one problem, but from the different angles. The theoretical part includes some sub-items. At first it is necessary to give the definition of the term «phraseology», which is the main one in the paper and should be definite. Also it is impossible to disregard principles of classification of phraseological units.

V.H. Collins writes in his Book of English Idioms: “In standard spoken and written English today idiom is an established and essential element that, used with care, ornaments and enriches the language.”[1]

Used with care is an important warning because speech overloaded with idioms loses its freshness and originality. Idioms, after all, are ready-made speech units, and their continual repetition sometimes wears them out: they lose their colours and become trite clichés. Such idioms can hardly be said to “ornament” or “enrich the language”.

On the other hand, oral or written speech lacking idioms loses much in expressiveness, colour and emotional force.

In modern linguistics, there is considerable confusion about the terminology associated with these word-groups. Most Soviet scholars use the term “phraseological unit” (“фразеологическая единица”) which was first introduced by Academician V.V. Vinogradov whose contribution to the theory of Russian phraseology cannot be overestimated. The term “idiom” widely used by western scholars has comparatively recently found its way into Soviet phraseology but is applied mostly to only a certain type of phraseological unit as it will be clear from further explanations.

There are some other terms denoting more or less the same linguistic phenomenon: set-expressions, set-phrases, phrases, fixed word-groups, collocations.

The confusion in the terminology reflects insufficiency of positive or wholly reliable criteria by which phraseological units can be distinguished from “free” word-groups.

It should be pointed out at once that the “freedom” of free word-groups is relative and arbitrary. Nothing is entirely “free” in speech as its linear relationships are governed, restricted and regulated, on the one hand, by requirements of logic and common sense and, on the other, by the rules of grammar and combinability.

Free word-groups are so called not because of any absolute freedom in using them but simply because they are each time built up anew in speech process whereas idioms are used as ready-made units with fixed and constant structures.

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The meaning of an idiom doesn’t grow out of the meanings of the words it consists of. Not a single element may be replaced. Idioms can’t be separated from the point of the syntax. Idioms have no homonyms. It’s necessary to look up the meaning of idioms in the dictionary, otherwise it is impossible to understand them or we must know the history of fusions. Idioms may be taken from different spheres of human activity – history, literature, mythology. Idioms taken from history reflect customs of England.

Taking into account the opportunities, which are given by the knowledge of phraseology, it is easy to estimate the role of studying this material at university, it is natural that the beginning of presenting some items of this phenomenon to students is necessary to start from that moment, as soon as students would have the sufficient lexical base for this purpose. It would be desirable to note the works of some authors, which were used in this work, such as: Arnold I.V. The English Word; Ginzburg R.S. et al. A Course in Modern English Lexicology;       Antrushina G.B., Afanasyeva O.V., Morozova N.N. English lexicology, etc.

Chapter I.

The classification of phraseology

It would be interesting now to look at phraseological units from a different angle, namely: how are all these treasures of the language approached by the linguistic science? The very miscellaneous nature of these units suggests the first course of action: they must be sorted out and arranged in certain classes which possess identical characteristics.

But which characteristics should be chosen as the main criteria for such a classification system? The structural? The semantic? Those of degree of stability? Of origin?


[1] Collins V.H. A Book of English Idioms with Explanations. Ldn., 1958.

Зоосемия в английской фразеологии

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