Phraseological Unit

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The field of phraseology or idiomacity in English is so varied and fascinating that without them English would lose much of its diversity both in speech and writing. In linguistics, phraseology describes the context in which a word is used. This often includes typical usages/sequences, such as idioms, phrasal verbs and fixed phrases. All these units can be termed as « phraseological units » and they are habitually defined as non-motivated word-groups that cannot be freely made up in speech, but are reproduced as readymade units. This definition proceeds from the assumption that the essential features of phraseological units are stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation. Or in other words, they are structurally, lexically and semantically fixed phrases or sentences having mostly the meaning, which is not made up by the sum of meanings of their component parts. Phraseological units fall into two groups: idioms (the expressions, which can be understood only figuratively) and phrasemes (non-idiomatic expressions). Phrasemes – two-member word-groups in which one of the members has specialized meaning dependent on the second component: “small hours”. Idioms – the idiomaticity of the whole word-group;; they exist in the language as ready-made units. N. M. Rayevska defines idiom (idiomatic phrase) as “a phrase, developing a meaning which cannot be readily analysed into the several semantic elements which would ordinarily be expressed by the words making up the phrase. It transcends the ordinary syntactic patterns and must be studied as an indivisible entity, in itself”.
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