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Classification Of Set Expressions

Features Enhancing Unity And Stability Of Idiomatic Set Expressions

Contextual Transformation Of Idioms

1. Component replacement, substitution of a synonym, antonym or a non-synonym for one of the idiomatic core components.

E.g., I positively refuse to understand those who anywhere and everywhere wish to make hell while the sun shines. (Kuzmin) (fr. make hay while the sun shines).

2. Component addition (insersion)

E.g., I clutched at it like a drowning man at a strawhat. (Wodehouse. Life…) to grasp/clutch at a straw (straws)

3. Component reduction

“Oh, well,” said Semyon Mikhailovich, “Blood out of a stone! Can you play the International?” (Kuzmin) (fr. You can’t get blood out of a stone).

4. Structural (syntactical or morphological) transformation aiming at adjusting the grammatical structure of a phrase to the context.

E.g., He is deader than a doornail (fr. dead as a doornail).

5. Allusion, structural decomposition of an idiom with an idiomatic core partially preserved and employed in building up new images through sustained metaphor or free non-idiomatic word-groups.

E. g. There once were two cats of Kilkenny,

Each thought there was one cat too many,

So they fought and they fit,

And they scratched and they hit,

Till instead of two cats there weren’t any. (Poems to Enjoy) (fr. to fight like Kilkenny cats)

a) Alliteration: safe and sound; first and fast; spick and span; make a mountain out of a molehill

b) Reiteration: end to end; hand in hand; face to face; let bygones be bygones; day by day

c) Rhythm: by fits and starts; heart and soul; high and mighty; burst with joy or pride

d) Rhyme: fair and square; town and gown; by hook or by crook; no pains, no gains; birds of a feather flock together

e) Obsolete elements: tit for tat; to and fro; to buy a pig in a poke; hue and cry

f) Simile: as hard as nails; cool as a cucumber; look like a million dollars; cute as a button

g) Contrast: more or less; sooner or later; neither here nor there; either a feast or a famine; make head or tail of; make or break

h) Metaphor: a couch potato; goldfish bowl; in a nutshell; to break ice

i) Synonymy: by leaps and bounds; betwixt and between; hue and cry

j) Pun: as cross as two sticks; nutty as a fruitcake

Semantic Classification of Acad. V. V. Vinogradov

1. Phraseological fusions (фразеологические сращения) are completely non-motivated.

The meaning of components has no connection with the meaning of the whole. Fusions cannot be translated literally into other languages.

E.g., mare’s nest – a discovery that proves to be worthless

to play footsie – to engage in any sort of flirtation or

collaboration, especially in a political situation

2. Phraseological unities (фразеологические единства) are partially non-motivated. Their meaning can be understood through the metaphorical image of the whole.

E.g., to show one’s teeth – to take a threatening tone

to cry for the moon – to want smth. that is impossible to get

Some of the unities are easily translated and are even international.

E.g., to take the bull by the horns – взять быка за рога

a bull in a china shop – слон в посудной лавке

if you run after two hares you will catch neither – за двумя зайцами погонишься, ни одного не поймаешь

3. Phraseological combinations (фразеологические сочетания) are motivated; they contain one element that is used in its direct meaning, others are used metaphorically.

E.g., to bear a grudge against smb. – to persist in bearing ill feeling toward someone after a quarrel or period of hostility

to lose heart – to lose courage, confidence, hope

not to care a hoot – not to care the smallest bit

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