Topics: Collocation, Idiom, Linguistics Pages: 9 (2172 words) Published: October 23, 2013

Phraseological units can be clasified as parts of speech. This classification was suggested by I.V. Arnold. Here we have the following groups:

noun phraseologisms denoting an object, a person, a living being, e.g. bullet train, latchkey child, redbrick university, Green Berets, b.
verb phraseologisms denoting an action, a state, a feeling, e.g. to break the log-jam, to get on somebody's coattails, to be on the beam, to nose out, to make headlines,

c) adjective phraseologisms denoting a quality, e.g. loose as a goose, dull aslead ,

d) adverb phraseological units, such as : with a bump, in the soup, like a dream , like a dog with two tails,

e) preposition phraseological units, e.g. in the course of, on the stroke of

f) interjection phraseological units, e.g. «Catch me!», «Well, 1 never!» etc. 

In I.V.Arnold's classification there are also sentence equivalents, proverbs, sayings and questions, e.g. «The sky is the limit», «What makes him tick», «I am easy». Proverbs are usually metaphorical, e.g. «Too many cooks spoil the broth», while sayings are as a rule non-metaphorical, e.g. «Where there is a will there is a way».


By surveying four idiom dictionaries (CCDI, LDE1, LID, OD1), I collected a total of 91 expressions, selecting the units labelled as 'British' or without any geographical label: 69 idioms, 5 binomials, 11 similes and 6 formulae, l or each unit, I provided usage labels, when found in dictionaries ('derogatory', 'euphemistic', 'humorous', 'colloquial/informal', 'formal', 'dated', 'old-fashioned', 'archaic', 'slang', 'literary'). The manner of arrangement chosen to present the list of data is by- phraseological type and syntactic structure.

Phraseology appeared in the domain of lexicology and is undergoing the process of segregating as a separate branch of linguistics. The reason is clear- 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 Glaser, 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 cam' connotations, and may have an emphatic or intensifying function in a text [Glaser 1998: 125].


Phraseology has attracted rapidly increasing interest from a wide range of language related disciplines (see Cowie 1998 for a comprehensive survey), which has yet to coalesce into an agreed set of terms and frameworks. It will be treated here within the 'combination' rather than the neo-Firthian "co-occurrence" tradition of lexicology. In other words, phraseological units are identified by means of their internal form and external function rather than being observed to emerge from texts via automated analysis of their frequency of occurrence (see Howarth 1996, 1998), This approach is regarded as necessary in studies focussing on stylistic features of phraseology, which inevitably require close analysis of the production of individual speakers and writers rather than the processing of large coiporaen masse.

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