Monday, March 26, 2012


In recent  years , phraseology in the broad sense has become a unifying  theme for an increasing number of theoretical and practical linguistic studies. Among this broad palette of investigations into the meaning, structure or use of set-phrases, cross-linguistic research is one of the major and fascinating  topics.
An Englishman may sleep like a dog, but Frenchman  will, among other possibilities, sleep like marmot(dormer comme une marmotte), a Dutchman like a rose, a German like a stone. This list might be extended to all  the languages of the world and would reveal  the amazing richness and diversity of language.
Is the no rhyme or reason to the unbridled imagination underlying set phrases in different languages or is it possible to discover  some universal principles? Will set phrases enable researchers to gain information about the cultural patterns and ways of life prevailing in other parts of the world?
Set phrases in the broad sense  have been identified in many languages. It’s well known that phraseological tradition originated in Russia and Germany. As a result, Russian and German were among the first languages to be fully described from the point of view of phraseology, although the movement later extended  to English, French and most European languages.
There is a close link between culture and phraseology. This is best revealed by proverbs and fully idiomatic set phrases, because they tend to rely heavily on images, traditions or habits, that are characteristic of a given culture. It’s no easy matter, however,  to draw a line between images that are related to more or less universal aspects of the human mind, and features of the specific culture. There is also a common idiomatic heritage to all European languages, originated from biblical, Latin and Greek expressions.
The assumption that phrasemes, particularly idioms and proverbs allow access to a collective way of thinking of a language community belongs to the more general  and highly complex issues of the relation between language, cognition, and  culture. The idea that the world is principally perceived through the medium of language, which determines the speaker’s world view can be found in several directions of phraseological research.  This conception postulates, that the analysis of phraseology allows insight into the speech  community’s own culture and mentality, if not into its national character.

In our essay we  have attempted  to approach the complex of  figurative phraseology  and culture. A look at entire conceptual domains has then shown that cultural phenomena are determinable at the levels of complete source concepts and semantic  fields. Finally, the possibility of capturing aspects of a cultural world-view by means of the analysis of cultural components  and cross-linguistic  comparisons has been touched upon briefly, as have etymology and historical phraseology. To summarise, phrasemes  as conventional  figurative multi-word units that are passed on from generation to generation through continual repetition turn out to be especially suitable for revealing cultural relevant concepts. 

(Emirova F/ Zentsova A.)

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