You are on page 1of 75

INTRODUCTION

Some linguists do not ascribe proverbs and saying to the category of


phraseological unities because they are taken from peoples speech and underwent
changes while traveling from mouth to mouth. But anyway they are phraseological
units, because they have the direct meaning, Sometimes they may have the
opposite meaning.
Between all these notions related to phraseological units, phraseological
fusions are the most difficult to translate, because they lack motivation. Their
meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of their component elements.
Every language has such patterns as phraseological units whom native
speakers are used to or look for their definitions in reliable sources in order to get
the point. Some of these have equivalents while others not, and the peculiarities of
translating them from English into Romanian seems to be very interesting due to
the fact that there can be word by word translation , there can be equivalences or
just explanation.
The motivation to study closer the phraseological units in S.W. Maughams
works was dictated by the large amount of idioms, which makes the language more
colorful and more expressive. Moreover, there is a dictionary of phraseological
units , where the English explanations or the Romanian equivalents are indicated.
The purpose of this work is to identify the semantic and idiomatic
peculiarities of translating the phraseological units and to determine the means
used for this.
The objectives of this study are:
to define the concept of translation;
to define phraseological units;
to classify the ways of translation;
to analyze phraseological units from the semantic perspective;
to establish the differences between different types of translation;
to determine the effect of different ways of translation from English
into Romanian

to characterize and classify the phraseological units on the basis of the


compiled corpus linguistic;
The research methods employed in the work are analysis, which was used
for the study of phraseological units and determining their essential features;
diachronic analysis, that focuses on the etymology and the historical evolution of
phraseological units; the classification, and the contextual analysis.
The actuality of the research is in the fact that there will be made an
analysis of the phraseological units of two countries, in two languages, and will be
found the similarities and differences. There are fewer works which analyze the
phraseological units from this point of view, and this make the actuality of the
research more interesting.
Nevertheless, an important task of grammarian working in the field of
phraseology is to bring together the finding of a common ground for a theory of
phraseology and practice of teaching foreign languages.
The central problem in the study of substantival phraseological units in
English and Romanian language is not merely to define another type of
phraseological units.
Despite the fact that there are many works devoted to the problem under
analysis some important aspects, such as structural or the substantival
phraseological units as components of grammar and semantic have not been fully
investigated. This defines the actuality of the work and its theoretical value.
In order to achieve the set aim we are to determine the following tasks:
To consider the phraseology as a system of language.
To study the types of phraseological units, idioms and their
classifications.
To research the problems of translation of phraseological units.
The theoretical value of the term paper is to do thorough research in the field
of phraseology.
The novelty of the term paper is in the detailed investigation of
phraseological units and to show the problems of translation phraseological units.

This work consists of an introduction, two chapters, conclusion and bibliography.


Chapter

is

entitled

PHRASEOLOGY.

CLASSIFICATION

OF

PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS and present a theoretical approach to the studied


theme. In this chapter is given the definition of phraseological units as well as the
criteria for phraseological units. Also in this chapter is presented a classification of
phraseological units and phraseology is studied as the branch of linguistics. A
subchapter is dedicated to the problem of terminology.
Chapter II is entitled TRANSLATION OF PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS
FROM ENGLISH INTO ROMANIAN and it is a practical chapter where are
presented methods and techniques used in translation of Phraseological Units from
English into Romanian. Based on the methods described is done a contrastive
analyses of English and Romanian phraseological units.
The practical value of the work lies in the fact that the results of the
investigation can be used in courses of grammar and semantics, seminars in
semantic and grammatic problems from one language to another, and can also be
useful for practical courses of English Grammar and Romanian Grammar.

Chapter

I.

PHRASEOLOGY.

CLASSIFICATION

OF

PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS
Definition of phraseological units. Criteria for phraseological
units
Phraseology could be portrayed as gallery, where representations of the
nations cultural customs are collected. Under this perspective, this field of
language is not only the most colorful, but also probably the most egalitarian area
of vocabulary and it drowses its resources mostly from the very depths of popular
speech. Moreover, together with the study of synonyms and antonyms,
phraseology represents one of the most expressive disciplines within linguistics. It
is precisely due to its richness of expressions and to its heterogeneity that it seems
difficult to identify which are the borders of phraseology. Delimiting the object of
study of phraseology and finding a uniformed classification system seems to be a
difficult task (Glser 1988, Melcuk 1988, Howarth 1998, Ruiz Gurillo 1997,
Cowie 1998, Moon 1998, Corpas Pastor 2000). In fact, the same terminological
diversity that linguists (Fernando and Flavell, 1981, Glser 1988, Corpas Pastor
2000) have used to refer both to the generic discipline and to the elements it
studies highlights its instability. Despite the increasing amount of research within
phraseology in the past fifty years, and the consequent improvement regarding the
delimitation of the units that constitute its object of study, there seems to be still a
great diversity of criteria. This hinders the consolidation of a systematic and
scientific study of this topic.
Phraseology is an intermediary field, being close, in the reference literature,
both to vocabulary studies, since it studies fixed word combinations, characterized
by a unitary meaning, as well as to syntax, since phraseologic phenomena are
defined by syntactic relations of various kinds, which are realized on a syntagmatic
axis. Given the expressive nature of phraseologic phenomena, these have also been
associated to stylistics. Taking into consideration the possibility of differentiating
styles and functional variants of a language by analysing phraseologic units, it has
been particularly drawn closer to functional stylistics.

But beyond the closeness to different linguistic disciplines, phraseology


tends to be regarded as an autonomous discipline, with its own object and methods
of investigation.
The term phraseology designates the discipline as well as its object, the set
or totality of phraseologic units in a given language. According to the origin of
phraseologisms, a line has been drawn between two areas of investigation, namely,
linguistic phraseology understood as a communitys means of expression and
literary phraseology including aphorisms, witticism, word combinations with an
accidental character, belonging to certain writers, outstanding people. As an
autonomous discipline, the object of research of phraseology consists in
phraseologic units from a given language (or a group of languages).
The concepts, different authors define it differently, sometimes do not
provide a clear-cut definition, or conflate several terms that many scholars prefer to
distinguish. However, a closer comparative look at the vast majorities of studies
that exist allows for identifying a set of parameters that are typically implicated in
phraseological research. We believe a rigorous definition of co-occurrence
phenomena in general, and phraseology in particular, needs to take a stand
regarding at least the following six parameters.
the nature of the elements involved in a phraseologism;
the number of elements involved in a phraseologism;
the number of times an expression must be observed before it counts as a
phraseologism;
the permissible distance between the elements involved in a phraseologism;
the degree of lexical and syntactic flexibility of the elements involved;
the role that semantic unity and semantic non-compositionality / nonpredictability play in the definition.
As to the first criterion, the definition of a phraseologism we will adopt is
among the broadest conceivable ones. We consider a phraseologism to be the cooccurrence of a form or a lemma of a lexical item and any other kind of linguistic
element, which can be, for example,

another (form of a) lexical item (kith and kin is a very frequently cited
example of a nearly deterministic co-occurrence of two lexical items,
as is strong tea);
a grammatical pattern (as opposed to, say, a grammatical relation), i.e.
when a particular lexical item tends to occur in / co-occur with a
particular grammatical construction (the fact that the verb hem is
mostly used in the passive is a frequently cited case in point).
We maintain a very productive idea flashed out by the linguist and consisting
in that phraseological meaning cannot be realized without the existence of definite
structures, i.e. it is impossible to study the features of phraseological units without
knowledge of their structure. There are, as far as his scheme goes, seven main
structural types of phraseological units in the English language. They are as
follows:
1. Unitop phraseological units (the term was introduced by A.I. Smirnitsky
consisting of one notional and one functional lexeme, or one notional and two or
three functional lexemes. By functional lexemes one should consider lexemes
which do not function as independent members of thesentence and serve for word
connection

in

the

sentence

(prepositions,

conjunctions),

and

also

for

characterization of the categories of number, definiteness or indefiniteness of


nouns (or articles).
2. Phraseological units with the structure of subordinate or coordinate
combination of words (to have a finger in every pie to be involved in every plan;
high and mighty the powerful minority).
3. Phraseological units with the partially predicative structure (i.e. lexeme +
subordinate clause): ships that pass in the night momentary encounters).
4. Phraseological units with the structure of subordinate clause (when pigs
fly (colloq.) never);
5. Phraseological units of nominative-communicative class, i.e. verbal
constructions with the structure of a word combination with a verb in the form of

infinitive and the structure of a sentence with a verb in the passive voice (break the
ice C to make a beginning > the ice is broken the beginning is made).
6. Phraseological units with the structure of a simple or complex sentence (A
bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow;
Do you see any green in my eye? Do you really think me to be so naive? Tell
it to the marines! Nonsense!).
In the literature dealing with phraseology, different terms, such as idiom,
phraseme or word-group have often been used to refer to the same category. Each
of them is defined according to different criteria and, for this reason, each term
leads to broader or narrower definitions and views. [11,p.90]
For this reason, although each phraseological unit in the corpus of this paper
has been carefully considered and selected, the pertinence of the inclusion of some
of them has been, and still is, open to discussion. The difficulty of providing a
close and definite corpus of phraseological units, arises from its heterogeneity
and variety and also the from fact that the same investigators are still struggling to
find a precise definition for this category. Below we provide some examples, for
the sake of discussion. In 1979 phraseological units were defined by R. Ginzburg
and her colleagues as follows:
phraseological units are non-motivated word groups that cannot be freely
made up in speech but are reproduced as ready-made units
Glser, in turn, defines the phraseological unit as:
a more or less lexicalized, reproducible bilexemic or polylexemic wordgroup in common use, which has syntactic and semantic stability, may be
idiomatized, may carry connotations, and may have an emphatic or intensifying
function in a text
Nevertheless, despite the heterogeneity of terminology, there seems to be a
general agreement in that a phraseological unit is a fixed word-combination whose
main features are summarized in Corpas Pastors Manual de fraseologa. Here, she
lists the main features of a phraseological unit, summarizing them from previous
different authors. According to Corpas Pastor a phraseological unit :

is an expression made of various words


is institutionalized (institutionalization)
presents some kind of semantic or syntactic specificity (idiomaticity)
has different degrees of stability (graduality and stability)
is possible a certain variation of its components (variation)
is usually characterized by an high frequency of use
In general function is a role which an element plays in activity of that
structure, part of which it makes.[6,p.28]
Some functions are constant, i.e. inherent in all phraseological units in any
conditions of their realization, other functions are variable, peculiar only to some
classes ofphraseological units. Communicative, cognitive and nominative
functions refer to the constant functions.
The communicative function of phraseological units is their ability to serve
as communicative or message means. Communication presupposes a mutual
exchange of statements, and message presupposes the transfer of information
without a feedback with the reader or the listener.
The nominative function of phraseological units is their relation to objects of
the real world, including situations, and also replacement of these objects in speech
activity by their phraseological denominations. The filling of lacunas in the lexical
system of the language is characteristic of the nominative function of
phraseological units. This function is peculiar to the overwhelming majority of
phraseological units, as they do not have lexical synonyms. The sub-kinds of the
nominative function are neutrally-nominal and nominal functions.
The neutrally-nominal function is the basic one for phraseological units, for
example, brown paper. At realization of such phrases in communication the fact of
a designation of the object is important, and not the stylistic use of the phrase. The
nominal function is also characteristic for semantically transferred phraseological
units (idiomatisms and idiophraseomatisms), but it is not neutral, it is stylistically
marked.

In Stilistica limbii romne, Iorgu Iordan defines phraseologic structures,


referred to in the paper by the term isolations, as fixed formulas, somehow
created for good, that are handed down through tradition and remain unchanged
both in terms of formal aspect and as meaning, motivating his calling it
isolation with the fact that their constitutive elements also isolate themselves
from the rest of the linguistic material, in the sense that they are treated
separately. These structures are interesting exclusively for their meaning which
is unitary, just like in the case of a single word.[8,p.22]
An essential thing to be taken into account is the connection between
phraseologisms and metaphor. In Lexic romnesc. Cuvinte, metafore, expresii,
Stelian Dumistrcel claimed that the connection between metaphors and
idiomatic phrases asserts itself on its own by the fact thatthey have the same
stylistic function, expressivity and, logically speaking, by the fact that both carry a
certain (figurative) meaning. Concerning proverbs, Cezar Tabarcea went as far as
to claim that they are deictic metaphors. It is known that in structures with a fixed
nature, the degree of connotativeness accumulates from several sources. Elena
Slave compares the connotative resources of a word with those of a lexical
combination, showing that, whereas the connotation of a word results from
addition, that of an idiom results from synthesis. For example, the connotation of
the word ngera (little angel), with the meaning of child is obtained from the
latent connotation of the meaning child, plus the affective connotation of the
suffix -a and the one springing from the metaphor used, while the connotation of
the compound zgrie-brnz (tight-fisted; literally: scratch-cheese) is the result of a
synthesis superior to the two sources, namely brnz (literally, cheese) which, by
the referential and socio-cultural aspect evokes a certain atmosphere, and zgrie
(literally, scratch), whose connotative value results from the meaning of the act as
related to the object brnz.
A very significant fact is that, as Cristina Florescu also observed, the
connotativeness of fixed structures often manifests itself at the level of the
colloquial register. Therefore, the features which may be taken as criteria for

distinguishing phraseological units are stability (manifested in the high frequency


of occurrence in the language) and semantic unity (reflected in the lack of the
correspondence between the general signification of the structure and the
accumulation of significations of the constituent elements). The two characteristics
are closely interconnected: the global signification associated with the group leads
to its repetition, its frequent use leading to stability.
From this point of view the sub-kinds of pragmatic function are stylistic,
cumulative, directive, valuative and summarizing functions. The stylistic function
is a special, in comparison with neutral way of expression, purposefulness of
language means for achievement... of stylistic effect with preservation of the
general intellectual content of the statement. The stylisticfunction realizes in
speech connotative features of a phraseological unit. In the language there is only
stylistic colouring. The idea about it is given by marks and comments in stylistic
dictionaries which, unfortunately, are still far from being perfect. Comparison of a
phraseological unit with its variable prototype also helps to reveal stylistic
colouring.[1,p.74]
Developing, on the Romanian material, the phraseological theory in its
functional-semantic aspect, M. Cerencu singles out some functions of
phraseological units. These functions are peculiar also to English phraseological
units:
the expressively-figurative function (catch at a straw; forbidden fruit, etc.);
the emotionally-expressional function (damn your eyes!; go to the devil!);
the function of speech concision by omitting some components (do not count
your chickens! instead of do not count your chickens before they are
hatched).
Proverbs, especially short ones, even not of the reduced kind, carry out the
function of speech laconisation, for example, prevention is better than cure action
taken to prevent an illness, dangerous event, etc., from taking place is wiser and
more useful than any action that is taken to reduce its harmful effect. It is evident,
that the definition is almost five times longer than the proverb itself.

The semantic compression, characteristic for phraseological units, is one of


the displays of language economy. All these functions, and also the function of
hyperbolization and intensity are sub-kinds of the stylistic function. The
cumulative function is peculiar, for example, to proverbs. They are generalization
of life experience of the people.
With the cumulative function one more, the second function is closely
connected directly managing, directing, influencing, and in separate prospect
bringing up, forming a person. We named it directive.
Examples of proverbs with the directive function can be the following: as
you brew, so must you drink; cut your coat according to your clot; look before you
leap, etc.
The summarizing function of a phraseological unit consists in the fact that it
is the short resume of the previous statement, e.g., that's flat (coll.) it is
definitively solved, resolutely and irrevocably: Well, I will not marry her: that's
flat.
Summarizing function in a context is characteristic of many proverbs, for
example, all's well that ends well; in for a penny, in for a pound, etc. Pragmatic
character is also carried by the evaluative function.[3,p.82]
A kind of the pragmatic function is the contact-establishing function
consisting in creation of easy dialogue between the author and the reader or the
listener, and also among the characters themselves. Introducing a luxury car that
will not take you for a ride.
The given advertising heading concerns the car, and two meanings of the
phraseological unit take smb for a ride are played up
to kill, finish off smb;
to inflate, deceive smb.
Proverbs are often used in the function of confirmation of a thought. It is
also one of the sub-kinds of the pragmatic function.

It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest only the bad bird defiles the nest:
Augustus: ...Do you mean to say, you scoundrel, that an Englishman is capable of
selling his country to the enemy for gold?
The Clerk: Not as a general thing I would not say it, but there's men here
would sell their own mothers for two coppers if they got the chance.
Augustus:... It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest. (G.B. Shaw).
Interjectional phraseological units can carry out the compensatory function
which is realized in the description of strong sincere emotional experience,
affect,when speech of the subject is complicated and an interjectional
phraseological unit is the only content of the whole remark.
Oh dear my God:
Jimmy: They did not say much. But I think she's dying.
Cliff: Oh, dear (J. Osborne).
The text-building (or the context-building) function is characteristic of
phraseological units at their realization. For the first time the question
concerningtext-building functions of phraseological units was raised by I.I.
Chernysheva. Under text-building factors of phraseological units we mean
realization oflinguistic properties of the given language signs allowing them,
equally with grammatical and lexical means of language, to create those links in
structure of the text which are elements of the structure and in certain cases also
binding means of fragments of the text.
The repetition of one-structural comparisons creates parallel constructions
within the limits of a phrase context.
'Not was but a poor man himself,' said Peggotty, 'but as good as gold and as
true as steel' (Ch. Dickens).
In texts of various types phraseological units carry out various functions
descriptive, characterizing, terminological and others.
All functions considered above are usual. Occasional functions based on
theusual ones are characteristic of phraseological units in the context when
occasionalchanges take place: the function of additional sense, the weakening

function or thefunction of specification of meaning, etc. Functions often cross in


statements.
The

interaction

of

functions

is

characteristic

of

idioms

and

idiophraseomatisms:
Like a shot:
quickly, promptly, at full speed;
instantly, at once;
very willingly, with pleasure.
The following fuctions are evident here:
the intensity function;
the expressively-figurative function;
the function of speech compression.
Functions of phraseological units form two principal kinds of binary
oppositions, i.e. regular pair oppositions:
1) stylistically neutral functions stylistically marked functions;
2) usual functions occasional functions
The presence of these oppositions can be explained by the asymmetry in the
sphere of functioning of phraseological units and is one of the important elements
of the phraseological system.[14,p.45]
The enumeration of functions of phraseological units given above does not
represent their classification. This challenge is waiting for its solution.
Michael McCarthy and Felicity ODell use the term idiom in their book
English Idioms in Use and write that idioms are fixed expressions which have a
meaning that is not immediately obvious from looking at the individual words.
Hockett claims that it is a phrase whose meaning is non-compositional, that
is the meaning of the whole cannot be fully deduced from the meanings of the
parts.
The English scholar U. Weinreich asserts that idiom is a phraseological unit
involving at least two polysemous constituents and there is a reciprocal contextual
section of subsenses.

J. Strasslers definition of an idiom is as follows: An idiom is a


concatenation of more than one lexeme whose meaning is not derived from the
meanings of its constituents and which does not consist of a verb plus adverbial
particle or preposition.
Though there are differences in opinions, all linguists agree that
phraseological units or idioms are probably the most picturesque, colourful and
expressive part of the language vocabulary, which reflect nations customs,
traditions and prejudices, recollections of its past history, scraps of folk songs and
fairy tales. But it is necessary to distinguish them from other words and phrases
existing in the language.
R.S.Ginzburg also accepts the term phraseological units and the definition
given by her is the following: Phraseological units are [..] non-motivated wordgroups that cannot be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready-made
units.
In her turn N.N.Amosova defines phraseological units as units of fixed
context, that is a context characterized by a specific and unchanging sequence of
definite lexical components and a peculiar semantic relationship existing between
them.
Our definition and analysis of the idiom is based on the study of idioms in
relation to all other types of phrases that will be included in the dictionary.
The idiom in our model is defined as a combination of two or more words
which as a whole function as a metaphorical expression. It should be noticed that it
is the whole phrase and not just a part of it that has been metaphorized.[25,p.141]
The idiom is interpreted according to the function it has in discourse,
irrespective of what the single words mean when they are interpreted one by one.
Thus in the idiom cast pearls before swine it is not the metaphors pearls and swine
that give the phrase the status of being an idiom, but the fact that they are included
in a whole phrase which in normal contexts is used in such a way that it is evident
that the single words should not be understood in their literal sense but transferred
to a metaphorical level.

The group of phrases in which the idiom is included also consists of similes
and proverbial phrases. Similes are comparisons like vara som ettrttskynkefr ngn
"be like a red rag to a person". Proverbial phrases are conventional utterances in
the form of sentences like man ska ta seden dit man kommer "when in Rome you
must do as the Romans do".
These categories are parts of what we call an idiom cluster, where the idioms
are at the center and the proverbial phrases and similes are at the outer edges
(Clausen 1993). Similes and idioms often interact: vara [som] ett rott skynke for
ngn "be [like] a red rag to a person". Proverbial phrases and idioms also interact:
[man ska] ta seden dit man kommer.
In analyzing the idioms we give special attention to literal counterparts. We
have noted five types of idioms, four of which have phraseological, non-idiomatic
equivalents. Earlier studies of idioms often discuss non-idiomatic equivalents in
order to describe idiomaticity: the less semantically motivated they think an idiom
is in relation to its literal counterpart, the higher the degree of idiomaticity. The
authors of Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English are clear about the fact
that one of their two categories of idioms called 'figurative idioms' have
equivalents among the restricted collocations (e.g. catch fire).
The first type of idiom (a) has a non-idiomatic equivalent from which a
complement is transferred from the status of examples to the status of fixed
phrases. In the metaphorization focus is shifted and a verb is often weakened or
even omitted. The idiomatic expression vara [som] ett slag i ansiktet "be [like] a
slap in the face" with the metaphorical meaning 'be an insult' has the non-idiomatic
equivalent ge nagon ett slag "give a person a slap" (e.g. han gav honom ett slag i
ansiktet "he gave him a slap in the face"). [30,p.369]
The second type of idiom (b) has a non-idiomatic equivalent with an
optional complement which is transferred and has become obligatory in the
metaphorization. The idiomatic expression f small p fingrarna "get a rap on the
knuckles" with the metaphorical meaning 'be reprimanded' has a non-idiomatic
equivalent

small

[p

fingrarna]

"get

rap

[on

the

knuckles]"

(e.g.pojkenficksmallpfingrarna iskolan "the boy was rapped on the knuckles at


school").
The third type of idiom (c) has a non-idiomatic equivalent which has the
same form, but one part which is variable has become non-variable in the
metaphorized expression. The idiomatic expression sl nven i bordet "hit the table
with one's fist" with the metaphorical meaning 'firmly object to something' has the
non-idiomatic equivalent sl nven i bordet/katedern "hit the table/desk with one's
fist". The fourth type of idiom (d) has a non-idiomatic equivalent with exactly the
same form but with different meaning. The idiomatic expression spela teater "play
theatre" with the metaphorical meaning 'put on an act' has the non-idiomatic
equivalent spela teater with the meaning 'act'.
If we analyze the non-idiomatic expressions we find that they belong to
different categories in our model: the equivalents of type (a), type (b) and type (c)
are unrestricted collocations, the equivalents of type (d) belong to restricted
collocations.
1.2 Classification of phraseological units
There are three classification principles of phraseological units. The most
popular is the synchronic (semantic) classification of phraseological units by V.V.
Vinogradov. He developed some points first advanced by the Swiss linguist
Charles Bally and gave a strong impetus to a purely lexicological treatment of the
material. It means that phraseological units were defined as lexical complexes with
specific semantic features and classified accordingly. His classification is based
upon the motivation of the unit that is the relationship between the meaning of the
whole and the meanings of its component parts. The degree of motivation is
correlated with the rigidity, indivisibility and semantic unity of the expression that
is with the possibility of changing the form or the order of components and of
substituting the whole by a single word though not in all the cases.[24, p.89]
A.J.Smirnitsky classifies phraseological units according to their stylistic
features:

phraseological units (stylistically neutral, with faded metaphorical


motivation, be in love, fall in love);
idioms (they are based on metaphor, they are emotionally and stylistically
coloured, cool as a cucumber).
I.Arnold classifies phraseological units according to the type of the
component parts and the functioning of the whole. She states that structured like
phrases they function like words.
There are seven types of phraseological units in I.Arnolds structural
classification:
nominal phrases, high life
verbal phrases, put ones head in a noose
adverbial phrases, by hook or by crook
adjectival phrases, as wet as a drowned rat
5) prepositional phrases, in accordance with
6) conjunctional phrases, as long as
7) interjectional phrases, well, I never did!
Another classification in which there are two principles applied is
established by N.Amosova. She distinguishes two types of phraseological units:
phrasemes (units of fixed context in which one of the components has
specialized meaning dependent on the second component, e.g., small talk,
fair sex);
idioms (idioms are semantically and grammatically inseparable units,
e.g., play with fire).
Taking into account the comparative analysis of different classifications of
phraseological units which the author has observed, she has to admit that the
following classification worked out by A.V.Kunin can be considered the most
detailed one. He has critically examined most of the existing classifications and
elaborated his own classification of phraseological units which is based on more
thorough analysis of these phenomena of language. In his classification A.V.Kunin
keeps a close watch to the elements of phraseology which have not been

emphasized by other researchers, as well as takes into consideration also the


development of the English language. Since A.V.Kunins classification of
phraseological units is grounded on wide theoretical and practical material
concerning different languages, the author of the present article assumes that this
classification could be applied also to the phraseological systems of other
languages.
According to Vinogradovs classification all phraseological units are divided
into

phraseological

fusions,

phraseological

unities

and

phraseological

combinations.
Phraseological fusion is a semantically indivisible phraseological unit which
meaning is never influenced by the meanings of its components [2; 44].
It means that phraseological fusions represent the highest stage of blending
together. The meaning of components is completely absorbed by the meaning of
the whole, by its expressiveness and emotional properties.
Once in a blue moon very seldom;
To cry for the moon to demand unreal;
Under the rose quietly.
Sometimes phraseological fusions are called idioms under which linguists
understand a complete loss of the inner form. To explain the meaning of idioms is a
complicated etymological problem (tit to tat means to revenge, but no one can
explain the meaning of the words tit and tat).
Phraseological unity is a semantically indivisible phraseological unit the
whole meaning of which is motivated by the meanings of its components [2; p.45].
In general, phraseological unities are the phrases where the meaning of the
whole unity is not the sum of the meanings of its components but is based upon
them and may be understood from the components. The meaning of the significant
word is not too remote from its ordinary meanings. This meaning is formed as a
result of generalized figurative meaning of a free word-combination. It is the result
of figurative metaphoric reconsideration of a word-combination.
To come to ones sense to change ones mind;

To come home to hit the mark;


To fall into a rage to get angry.
Phraseological unities are characterized by the semantic duality. One cant
define for sure the semantic meaning of separately taken phraseological unities
isolated from the context, because these word-combinations may be used as free in
the direct meaning and as phraseological in the figurative meaning.
Phraseological combination (collocation) is a construction or an expression
in which every word has absolutely clear independent meaning while one of the
components has a bound meaning [2;p. 40].
It means that phraseological combinations contain one component used in its
direct meaning while the other is used figuratively.
To make an attempt to try;
To make haste to hurry;
To offer an apology to beg pardon.
Some linguists who stick to the general understanding of phraseology and
refer to it communicational units (sentences) and winged words, define the fourth
type of phraseological units.
Phraseological expression is a stable by form and usage semantically
divisible construction, which components are words with free meanings [2;p. 39].
East or West, home is best;
Marriages are made in heaven;
Still waters run deep.
Phraseological expressions are proverbs, sayings and aphorisms of famous
politicians, writers, scientists and artists. They are concise sentences, expressing
some truth as ascertained by experience of wisdom and familiar to all. They are
often metaphoric in character and include elements of implicit information well
understood without being formally present in the discourse.
Prof. A.I. Smirnitsky worked out structural classification of phraseological
units, comparing them with words. He points out one-top units which he compares
with derived words because derived words have only one root morpheme. He also

points out two-top units which he compares with compound words because in
compound words we usually have two root morphemes.
The variety of phenomena comprised by phraseology makes classification
attempts difficult. External marks for recognizing a certain category of
phraseologisms are related to the form of the group, the fixed order of elements,
the reduced possibilities of separating them, the impossibility to replace one
element or another, whereas internal marks are related to the fact that the entire
ensemble embodies an act of unitary thinking, equivalent to a single word, the
existence of certain syntactic-semantic phenomena characteristic of the group (the
presence of certain lexical, semantic or syntactic archaisms, ellipsis or
redundancy).
The types of phraseological units, which have received most attention in
linguistic literature, have been phrases and idioms.
The definitions proposed for the term phrase generally have the same
structure, highlighting traits such as stability, syntactic and semantic unity:
expression constitue par lunion de plusieurs mots formant une unit syntaxique
et lexicologique, the group of words more or less that are joined together, that
has a unitary meaning and grammatically behaves as a single part of speech, a
grouping of two or more words, unitary in meaning that relates to the context as a
single element, no matter whether these relations are achieved by one of its
constitutive elements or whether the group, as a whole, establishes connections as
a single term.
Concerning the second fundamental type of phraseologic unit, the idiom,
despite the frequent use of the term in the well-established literature of
phraseology, its features have been revealed particularly by relation to the stylisticfunctional behaviour of phrases. Sometimes, there is not even a clear distinction
between these two terms, their parallel use with the same meaning being the
common practice.[24, p.89]
The majority of studies dedicated to defining and describing idioms take into
consideration the functional-structural and expressive criteria, although there is no

common viewpoint concerning this issue. In terms of functionality, idioms have


been defined by Ioana Boroianu as fixed word groupings that cover a whole
sentence, which have, therefore, a subject (expressed or general, widelyunderstood) predicated with contingent complements. One category of idioms
which raises analysis and definition difficulties is represented by idiomatic phrases
(also called idiotisms or, even idiomatisms). The main characteristic of this
category is that it has a figurative meaning which belongs to the entire
phraseologic group, which is impossible to translate literally into another language.
Having as a fundamental criterion the establishment of the stylistic value of
idiotisms based on the relations among their intellectual values, objective
communication and expressiveness degree, Al. Andriescu proposes - in Valoarea
stilistic a expresiilor idiomatice - a classification of these according to their
power to sensitize communicant ideas. The author speaks about idiotisms that
have lost part of their initial emotional value by losing the ability to act as images
(the stylistic value is given by the presence of the terms in the passive background
or by syntactic phenomena such as ellipsis), idiotisms that have been created in
certain historical circumstances and that no longer nurture their ability of
concretisation by relating to the realities that created them but are based on some
new associations, with no link to the initial realities and idotisms that ever since
they were created - and nowadays, too - have been serving the needs of emotions
as images. This classification has the disadvantage that it uses the degree of
expressiveness as a criterion which involves a high level of subjectivity. Other
types of phraseologisms are the periphrases, structures located, according to Ioana
Boroianu, on the edge between free word associations and phraseologic units
a face de mncare (prepare a meal),
a avea poft (have a craving for),
a-i fi foame (be hungry),
a-i fi poft de (crave for);
defined and integrated by Th. Hristea in the object of study of phraseology,
after having identified certain features characteristic of phraseologisms: frequency,

expressivity, repeatability, age, meaning unity. The same category also comprises
synapses, units that are made up of a determined and a determinant carrying the
meaning of one single word, common combinations, representing the names of
certain institutions, titles of literary, scientific, cinematographic works, etc,
emphatic phrases, fixed collocations where one of the terms adds a superlative
meaning to the other [beat turt (dead drunk);], stereotypical similes, emphatic
phrases where the comparison is maintained [ieftin ca braga (as cheap as dirt);],
international formulas and clichs, structures of a conventional and international
nature, occurring in various languages of culture and civilisation [mrul discordiei
(the apple of discord), oul lui Columb (Columbus egg);]. The inventory of terms
related to phraseology and the research of the meanings of various terms bespeak
the difficulties that the delimitation of the sphere of this linguistic discipline
implies. Such efforts prove the complexity of the problems raised by theorizing
phraseologisms, a complexity that is irreducible to unique and definitive solutions.
[22,p.201]
Among one-top units he points out three structural types:
a) units of the type to give up (verb + postposition type);
To back up to support;
To drop out to miss, to omit.
b) units of the type to be tired. Some of these units remind the Passive
Voice in their structure but they have different prepositions with them, while in the
Passive Voice we can have only prepositions by or with:
To be tired of;
To be surprised at.
There are also units in this type which remind free word-groups of the type
to be young:
To be akin to;
To be aware of.
The difference between them is that the adjective young can be used as an
attribute and as a predicative in a sentence, while the nominal component in such

units can act only as a predicative. In these units the verb is the grammar centre
and the second component is the semantic centre:
c) prepositional-nominal phraseological units:
On the doorstep - quite near;
On the nose exactly.
These units are equivalents of unchangeable words: prepositions,
conjunctions, adverbs, that is why they have no grammar centre, their semantic
centre is the nominal part.
Among two-top units A.I. Smirnitsky points out the following structural
types:
a) attributive-nominal such as:
A month of Sundays
A millstone round ones neck.
Units of this type are noun equivalents and can be partly or perfectly
idiomatic (if the expression is idiomatic, then we must consider its components in
the aggregate, not separately). In partly idiomatic units (phrasisms) sometimes the
first component is idiomatic: high road; in other cases the second component is
idiomatic: first night.
In many cases both components are idiomatic: red tape, blind alley, bed of
nail, shot in the arm and many others.
b) verb-nominal phraseological units:
To read between the lines;
To sweep under the carpet.
The grammar centre of such units is the verb, the semantic centre in many
cases is the nominal component: to fall in love. In some units the verb is both the
grammar and the semantic centre: not to know the ropes. These units can be
perfectly idiomatic as well: to burn ones boats, to vote with ones feet, to take to
the cleaners etc.
c) phraseological repetitions, such as:
Now or never;

Part and parcel (integral part).


Such units can be built on antonyms: ups and downs, back and forth; often
they are formed by means of alliteration: cakes and ale, as busy as a bee.
Components in repetitions are joined by means of conjunctions. These units are
equivalents of adverbs or adjectives and have no grammar centre. They can also be
partly or perfectly idiomatic: cool as a cucumber (partly), bread and butter
(perfectly).
Phraseological units the same as compound words can have more than two
tops (stems in compound words):
To be a shadow of ones own self,
At ones own sweet will.
Phraseological units can be classified as parts of speech. This classification
was suggested by I.V. Arnold. Here we have the following groups:
a) nominal phrases or noun phraseologisms denoting an object, a person or
a living being:
Bullet train;
The root of the trouble.
b) verbal phrases or verb phraseologisms denoting an action, a state or a
feeling:
To sing like a lark;
To put ones best foot forward.
c) adjectival phrases or adjective phraseologisms denoting a quality:
As good as gold;
Red as a cherry.
d) adverbial phrases or adverb phraseological units, such as:
From head to foot;
Like a dog with two tails.
e) prepositional phrases or preposition phraseological units:
In the course of;
On the stroke of.

f) conjunctional phrases or conjunction phraseological units:


As long as;
On the other hand.
g) interjectional phrases or interjection phraseological units:
Catch me!;
Well, I never!
In I.V.Arnolds classification there are also sentence equivalents, proverbs,
sayings and quotations: The sky is the limit, What makes him tick, I am
easy. Proverbs are usually metaphorical: Too many cooks spoil the broth, while
sayings are as a rule non-metaphorical: Where there is a will there is a way

Phraseology as the branch of Linguistics. The problem of terminology


The role phraseology has played in linguistic theory is quite varied. On the

one hand, it is varied because theoretical frameworks or approaches in linguistics


differ widely in terms of the importance attached to phraseologisms. [21, p.9]
It is probably fair to say that phraseology has played a rather limited role
during most of the development of the various versions of generative grammar.
Given a conception of the linguistic system which crucially involves only a
grammar, i.e. a set of algorithmic rules that combines linguistic elements only with
respect to their structural characteristics and irrespective of their meaning; and a
lexicon, i.e., a repository of all non-compositional irregularities that must be rotelearned; it comes as no surprise that, of the above six parameters, the only one
which plays a role for generative linguistics is the last one, semantic unity and noncompositionality. In this conception, an expression such as to bite the dust is
recognized as an idiom, a non-compositional semantic unit in the sense of the
above quote of Fraser, and thus stored with its syntactic characteristics as a
separate item in the lexicon. Note also that this conception of the linguistic system
is somewhat at odds with my above definition of phraseologisms because my
above definition does not treat grammatical and lexical elements as different in
kind.

This generative conception of phraseologisms comes with a few problems.


On the one hand, it is much more difficult to draw a strict dividing line between
what is idiomatic and what is not than one may initially think; for the difficulty of
obtaining unanimous judgments as well as Cowie and Mackin and Gibbs for
discussion. On the other hand, research has shown that phraseologism/idioms vary
considerably in terms of the syntactic operations they allow, and since not all of
these can be explained away by straightforward performance factors, one would
have to postulate that the lexicon contains for each putative unit a list of what
operations are licensed, an option that is particularly unattractiv for an approach
that otherwise eschews redundant representation.[33]
Phraseology is a separate branch of Linguistics which deals with a
phraseological subsystem of language, with all types of set-expressions. The basic
unit of phraseology is a phraseological unit. According to A. V. Koonin a
phraseological unit is a stable word-group characterized by a completely or
partially transferred meaning.
Phraseology studies the following types of set-expressions: phraseological
units (proper); phraseomatic units; border-line cases belonging to the mixed class.
There exist other approaches to the problem of phraseology: the semantic
approach developed by academician Vinogradov; the functional approach; the
contextual approach worked out by N. N. Amosova and etc.
A phraseological unit is a word-group which presents a functionally,
semantically and structurally inseparable unit. Phraseological units or idioms are
contrasted to free phrases.
By phraseology, we mean the branch of linguistics dealing with stable wordcombinations characterized by certain transference of meaning.
Despite differences of opinion, most authors agree upon some points
concerning the distinctive features of phraseological units, such as:
Integrity (or transference) of meaning means that none of the idiom
components is separately associated with any referents of objective

reality, and the meaning of the whole unit cannot be deduced from the
meanings of its components;
Stability (lexical and grammatical) means that no lexical substitution
is possible in an idiom in comparison with free or variable wordcombinations (with an exception of some cases when the author
makes such substitutions intentionally). The experiments conducted in
the 1990s showed that, the meaning of an idiom is not exactly
identical to its literal paraphrase given in the dictionary entry. That is
why we may speak about lexical flexibility of many units if they are
used in a creative manner. Lexical stability is usually accompanied by
grammatical stability, which prohibits any grammatical changes;
Separability means that the structure of an idiom is indivisible; certain
modifications are possible within cer-tain boundaries. Here we meet
with the so-called lexical and grammatical variants. To illustrate this
point we will give some examples: "as hungry as a wolf (as a hunter)",
"as safe as a house (houses)" in English.
Expressivity

and

emotiveness

means

that

idioms

are

also

characterized by stylistic colouring. In other words, they evoke


emotions or add expressiveness.[18,p.32]
Anita Nacisciones book can be read linearly as an up-todate study and
account of the theory and practice of phraseological units in the English language,
but it can also be read tangentially. From this second point of view the book can be
regarded as being built around several dichotomies, which are sometimes opposed,
sometimes complementary, and which are also sometimes intermingled because of
the nature of the topic itself:
1. Core use vs. instantial (stylistic) use. Core use is the most common form
and meaning of a given phraseological unit according to its base form, which is
(relatively) stable in a given natural language. By contrast, instantial stylistic use is
a particular instance of a unique stylistic application characterized by a significant
change in its form and meaning.

2. Synchrony vs. diachrony. Phraseological units usually have a synchronic


meaning, but they can also be studied diachronically, tracing the different
meanings of these units in the past. To know about these different meanings and
the process of change that has brought about the present meaning of the
phraseological unit is crucial when we want to understand older texts, particularly
when phraseological units are only alluded to or only partially quoted.
3. Theory vs. practice. Since phraseological units are usually alluded to or
used according to their instantial use and not according to their core form,
theoretical studies can fail if they are not built on case studies of actual and
practical uses, mainly in literary texts.
4. Literary use vs. common use. As has been pointed out already, research
into the uses of phraseological units in literary texts is essential. Only then can they
be contrasted with their utilization in common language.
5. English vs. other languages. Phraseological units change diachronically
and instantaneously within a single language, but they also change when they are
transferred between languages. Knowing about these changes and about the
different forms that phraseological units can take is especially important when
trying to translate between languages.
6. Literal meaning(s) vs. figurative meaning(s). Phraseological units are
typical cases of sentences having both a literal and a figurative meaning, where the
figurative meaning is its salient and first order meaning. Nevertheless, since the
original literal meaning motivates the common figurative meaning(s) and speakers
might be aware of this original literal meaning, instantial uses and changes can
achieve certain cognitive effects, word plays, and allusions.
It is only in more recent developments of this framwork that the importance
of phraseologisms has come to be recognized more openly. For example, Culicover
insightfully discusses a variety of patterns that one would usually classify as
phraseologisms and points out that they pose serious challenges to a modular
organization of language in terms of an algorithmic grammar and a lexicon
because these phraseologisms appear to cut across this supposedly well-established

boundary. A similar tack is taken in some recent work by Jackendoff. To name but
one example, Jackendoff is concerned with a phraseological expression the
'time' away construction exemplified by We're twistin' the night away, which, given
its properties with respect to the above parameters, would doubtless nature of the
elements: words and phrases in a transitive phrasal verb frame;
distance of elements: the intransitive verb, the direct object, and away occur
right next to each other;
flexibility of the elements: just like regular transitive phrasal verbs, the
intransitive verb, the direct object, and the particle can occur in the order or
in the order; passivization and tough movement are possible, but rare;
semantics: the pattern of transitive phrasal verbs with time expressions as
direct object and away functions as a semantic unit, which is evidenced by
the fact that this pattern forces a particular interpretation of the clause such
that referent of the subject is understood to act volitionally; the verb must
denote an activity, not a state, and the ly be recognized as a phraseologism
by most phraseologists: referent of the subject uses up the whole time
denoted by the time expression.[17,p.48]
I am not aware that the following has been recognized or even
acknowledged all too openly by transformational-generative grammarians, but it is
interesting to note that the notion of phraseologism, which has been rather on the
fringe in transformational-generative grammar in particular and in most of
theoretical linguistics in general, is so crucial to the revision of the most dominant
linguistic paradigm of the 20th century and, thus, of the way the linguistic system
proper is viewed. More specifically, it is, among other things of course, the
recognition of phraseologisms as theoretically relevant entities in their own right
that begins
to undermine the modular organization of the linguistic system into a
grammar and a lexicon and

to make linguists aware of the way in which the analysis of phraseologisms


in performance data reveals many subtle interdependencies on different
levels of linguistic analysis.
Cognitive linguistics as such is not so much one particular theory, but rather
a set of related approaches that share several fundamental assumptions that set it
apart from other competing frameworks.
Differences in figurative use largely depend on language traditions, attitudes
and theoretical assumptions. One indicator is the recognition of metaphor as a
legitimate tool of expressing abstract thought. Cognitive linguists believe that
recognition of figurative use is of paramount importance for the understanding of
metaphor in thought, language and culture.[19, p.104]
In many countries, linguists usually have no problems with recognising
metaphor in literary discourse, especially poetry and folk songs. However,
difficulties arise with recognition of metaphor in scientific discourse, specialist
terminology and its translation. Failure to recognise metaphor reveals the
theoretical reasons that lie behind it.
A symbolic unit in turn is a pairing of a form and a meaning/function, a
conventionalized association of a phonological pole and a semantic/conceptual
pole. The more often a speaker/hearer encounters a particular symbolic unit, the
more entrenched this symbolic unit becomes in his linguistic system and the more
automatically the unit is accessed. Thus, unit status correlates positively with a
speaker/hearer not analyzing the internal structure of a unit. Crucially for our
present purposes, the notion of symbolic unit is not restricted to morphemes or
words, but comprises the kind of more abstract grammatical patterns such as, for
example, transitive constructions, reference-point constructions, idioms, etc. Using
the above defining parameters of a phraseologism, a symbolic unit can be defined
as follows:
nature of the elements: no restrictions as long as a form is paired with a
meaning/function;
number of elements: no restrictions;

frequency of occurrence: a symbolic unit must have occurred frequently


enough for it to be entrenched in a speaker/hearer's linguistic system;
distance of elements: no restrictions as long as the speaker/hearer
categorizes the parts as making up one symbolic unit;
flexibility of the elements: no restrictions as long as the speaker/hearer can
form one or more generalizations.
semantics: by definition, the symbolic unit must have a semantic pole or
meaning/function, but non-compositionality is not required.
This definition is of course not only Langacker's; other scholars such as
Bybee, also subscribe to this kind of definition. As is obvious, this definition of a
symbolic unit is nearly perfectly compatible with that of a phraseologism
embraced above: it is only somewhat broader, including as it does simple
words/morphemes and also lexically unspecified patterns. However, given this
definition, phraseologisms do not enjoy a special status within Cognitive
Grammar: they are just one kind of symbolic units, requiring the same descriptive
apparatus as the more specific categories of morphemes or words or the more
general categories of argument structure constructions or clause patterns. In terms
of what they consider the central units of analysis, Cognitive Grammar and
phraseology research are, thus, nearly maximally compatible.[1,p.74]
As will become equally obvious shortly, we find about the same degree of
compatibility between Construction Grammar and phraseological research. Given
the theoretical affinity of Cognitive Grammar and Construction Grammar and the
parallel evolution of the two theories, this should not come as a big surprise, and
the main difference between how Cognitive Grammar and Construction Grammar
define their objects of study as compared to phraseological research is largely
terminological. The central linguistic unit of Construction Grammar the analogon
to symbolic units in Cognitive Grammar is the construction. A construction in the
sense of Goldberg's (1995) Construction Grammar is defined as
The only major difference of this definition to those of a symbolic unit
above and phraseologisms above is that a construction as defined here requires

non-compositionality or, in Goldberg's terminology, non-predictability while this


was not required of symbolic units and phraseologisms.8 This difference certainly
has implications concerning the nature of the linguistic system postulated but is
certainly not a major qualitative difference. Put differently, symbolic unit is a most
general notion, construction as defined above is slightly more specific by requiring
one non-predictable aspect, and phraseologism as defined here is also more
specific by not requiring non-predictability, but at least one lexically specified
element. It remains obvious, though, that again the degree of compatibility
between phraseological research and construction grammarians is striking. [12,
p.266]
Finally, there is another aspect of both Cognitive Grammar and Construction
Grammar that is worth pointing out here and will become more relevant shortly,
viz. the importance both theories attach to actual frequencies of usage or
occurrence. As mentioned above, Langacker's Cognitive Grammar is explicitly
usage-based in the sense that exposure to, and use of, symbolic units, i.e.
performance is assumed to shape the linguistic system of speakers and hearers and
sufficient frequency of occurrence is a necessary condition for entrenchment and,
in turn, unit status of a linguistic expression. In this respect, Goldberg's approach
does not differ from Langacker's approach, and while non-compositionality was an
additional necessary condition for constructionhood in Goldberg's, sufficient
frequency was of course also a necessary condition for construction status. Thus,
many construction grammarians have made heavy use of studying the frequency
distribution and behavior of constructions in authentic language data in theoretical
literature, but also in other domains such as first language acquisition, language
change etc.
By way of an interim summary, contrary to the transformational-generative
paradigm, both Cognitive Grammar and Construction Grammar are highly
compatible with phraseological research. True, terminologies differ and definitions
are not completely identical, but it is easy to see that phraseologisms do not just
enjoy a marginal status in both theories but are rather at the core of what both

theories consider to be their fundamental entities. From this, it of course also


follows in turn that phraseological research has a lot to offer to these theories in
terms of descriptive work as well as exploration of the ontological status of
phraseological elements. In the opposite direction, phraseological research can
benefit from the elaborate theoretical apparatus and the cognitively plausible
background provided by Cognitive Grammar and Construction Grammar.
The following section will be concerned with the approach that is probably
most intimately connected to phraseological research, viz. corpus linguistics, and
we shall see that there is again a high degree of both theoretical and practical
overlap, testifying even more to the relevance of phraseological research.
While the two previous sections were concerned with different linguistic
theories (from the opposite ends of virtually all conceivable dimensions), the
present section will be concerned with the relation of phraseologisms in a
methodological paradigm, that of corpus linguistics.[15, p.22]
While much of 20th century linguistics has been characterized by a strong
methodological predominance of acceptability/grammaticality judgments, corpus
linguistics as a method has constantly increased in importance in most fields of
linguistics, and to my mind at least it is nowadays perhaps the single most
frequently used method employed in the study of phraseology. This predominance
of corpus-linguistic methods within phraseological research is of course not
accidental. Corpora as such can only provide frequency information frequencies
of occurrence and frequencies of co-occurrence.9 From this, it is a rather small
conceptual leap to the above definition of phraseologisms as a co-occurrence
phenomenon. As a matter of fact, some of the most central notions in corpus
linguistics can be straightforwardly compared to phraseologisms on the basis of the
six criteria discussed above. The terms word clusters / n-grams and collocations,
for example, refer to frequent co-occurrences of this kind:
nature of the elements: words;
number of elements: n (usually, that means 'two or more');

frequency of occurrence: sufficiently frequent to be recognized as an


combined element;
distance of elements: for clusters/n-grams, the distance is usually 0 (i.e., the
elements are immediately adjacent); for collocations, the distance between
the elements involved can vary, but usually exhibits one or a few preferred
distances;
flexibility of the elements: for clusters/n-grams, there is usually no
flexibility; for collocations, one usually allows for some flexibility: the
collocation of strong and tea would be instantiated both by strong tea or the
tea is strong;
semantics: n-grams are usually retrieved for natural language processing
purposes where the issue of non-compositional semantics is only sometimes
relevant; for collocations, researchers differ as to whether they require some
non-predictable behavior (strong tea is acceptable but powerful tea is not) or
not. Similarly, the notion colligation is nowadays usually not used as it was
originally defined by Firth as the co-occurrence of grammatical patterns
but also as a particular kind of phraseologism, namely one in which one or
more words habitually co-occur with a grammatical pattern (cf. the example
of to hem's preference for passives mentioned at the beginning of this
paper). From these brief remarks concerning the nature and the number of
elements involved, it also follows that much work in corpus linguistics cuts
across the boundary of syntax and lexis upheld in formal approaches to
language, and that there is a considerable overlap of the assumptions held by
cognitive linguists, phraseologists, and, as we now see, also corpus linguists.
Another central notion in contemporary corpus linguistics, the pattern,
involves additional parameters of the above set, viz. the parameter of noncompositionality/non-predictability. This is the definition of a pattern according to
Hunston and Francis : The patterns of a word can be defined as all the words and
structures which are regularly associated with the word and contribute to its
meaning. A pattern can be identified if a combination of words occurs relatively

frequently, if it is dependent on a particular word choice, and if there is a clear


meaning associated with it.[10,p.102]
An expression that would therefore not count as a pattern according to this
definition is the adjective available followed by spatial prepositions such as at or
from simply because the information provided by the phraseological unit headed
by these prepositions is straightforwardly and compositionally providing the place
where something is available and the phraseological units are fairly freely movable
within the clause. we would imagine that many, if not most, phraseologists would
also not consider CDs are available at the store an instance of a phraseologism.
Also, since this definition of a pattern does not only address most of the above six
defining parameters, it is also virtually the same as that of a phraseologism from
above as well as that of symbolic units in Cognitive Grammar and constructions in
Construction Grammar. All this testifies strongly to the fact that phraseology is one
of the key concepts both in theoretical linguistics and in the method of corpus
linguistics even if different terminology may sometimes render this fact more
opaque than desirable.
In fact, the range of correspondences is even larger. For example, we have
seen above that the notion of a unit in Cognitive Grammar involves a degree of
automaticity in accessing a structure as well as a lack of the need to analyze the
internal structure of a unit. Exactly these notions figure in the formulation of one
of the most prominent principles in contemporary corpus linguistics, Sinclair's socalled idiom principle.
In

transformational-generative

linguistics,

the

identification

of

phraseologisms has been rather eclectic. Given a linguistic system involving only
perfectly productive rules and a lexicon as the grab bag of exceptions and the
objective of developing a language-independent / universal grammar, there has
never been a systematic identification of the inventory of phraseologisms in a
language within transformational-generative grammar. And from this perspective,
why should there be? Phraseologisms are by most accounts not productive, and
thus only to be relegated to the exceptional part to begin with, and phraseologisms

are by their very nature not universal and, thus, of little relevance to the core
objective of the whole generative enterprise. The lack of a comprehensive
identification procedure therefore does not come as a big surprise, and it is
probably fair to say that the identification of phraseologisms has been largely
based on recognizing that a particular semantic unit's behavior be that unit a
single- or multi-word unit defies a characterization in terms of the hard-and-fast
rules of the grammar that are thought to be necessary on syntactic grounds alone.
The most comprehensive identification procedures of phraseologisms are
doubtlessly found in corpus linguistics, which is to be expected given that corpus
linguistics is a methodology mostly concerned with lexical (co-)occurences.
Several levels of sophistication are discernible. As in cognitive linguistics and
Construction Grammar, the most basic approaches are, it seems, also the most
widely used ones. First, much work in this area, e.g., by Stubbs and his colleagues,
involves the generation of frequency lists of n-grams, i.e. uninterrupted sequences
of word forms; the upper limit of n is usually five.[28,p.225]
While the above methods are no doubt the most widespread ones, there are
also some methodological shortcomings that are associated with these. One of the
most severe shortcomings is the oftentimes limited degree of quantitative
sophistication exhibited by many of the studies utilizing the above methods. For
example, Stubbs and Stubbs and Barth largely ignore the immensely interesting
work that has been done concerning the automatic or semi-automatic identification
of multi-word units (cf. below for a variety of relevant references). Similarly,
Hunston and Francis's above formulation that a combination of words needs to be
"relatively frequent" to qualify as a pattern is so vague as to be practically vacuous.
Relatedly, Hunston

discusses the frequencies of after a moment, after a few

moments, and after a few moments of, and then asks that "how many examples of
a three-, four, or five-word sequence are necessary for it to be considered a
phrase?" All this is all the more regrettable because there is a huge body of
research illustrating sophisticated tools for the identification of phraseologisms.
For example, there is a vast array of studies researching how and which

collocational statistics improve on the predominant approach of just reporting


observed frequencies; cf. Church et al. for an early study as well as work by, for
example, Evert and colleagues and Gries and Stefanowitsch's work on
collostructional analysis, a family of methods concerned with measuring and
interpreting the statistical association of words to constructions/patterns as well as
Gries, Hampe, and Schnefeld for experimental confirmation. In addition, Mason
and Cantos and Sanchez discuss a variety of issues concerning the overall validity
of collocational studies.
Finally, most of the above studies are based on a particular search span or
presupposed a particular length of the collocation investigated. However, the
definition of phraseologisms from requires decisions concerning the length of
phraseologisms and the different levels of granularity at which co-occurrences can
be observed. In addition, recall that a top-down, or a priori, approach may not
always be the most useful strategy in the sense that sometimes it may be more
revealing to let the data rather than the preconceptions of any particular
researcher decide what the potentially most revealing pattern is. There is a large
body of immensely interesting work in this area: For example, Kita et al.'s cost
criterion serves to identify in a bottom-up manner the size of interesting
uninterrupted multi-word units, which are prime candidates for phraseologisms.
For example, Mason's notion of lexical gravity helps to identify the range of
collocates the span of a word that exhibits interesting distributional patterns
and has unfortunately never received the recognition it deserves. Also, the methods
proposed in Dias, Pereira Lopez, and Guillor, Nagao and Mori, Ikehara et al., to
name but a few additional works, contain interesting concepts and methodological
tools concerning the (semi-)automatic identification of phraseologisms that most
corpus-linguistic, let alone cognitive-linguistic, work has not even begun to
recognize or utilize to their fullest potential. We would hope that the ideas
developed in these and similar studies find their way into phraseological research
soon and that this chapter as well as the chapter specifically addressing this area,

'Computational approaches (automatic extraction of phraseological units)', will


help promote these approaches.[6,p.29]
In phraseological unities the meaning of the whole can be guessed from the
meanings of its components, but it is transferred (metaphorical or metonymical),
e.g. to play the first fiddle (to be a leader in something), old salt (experienced
sailor) etc. The meaning of the whole word combination is not the sum of the
meanings of its components, but it is based on them and the meaning of the whole
can be inferred from the image that underlies the whole expression, e.g. to get on
one's nerves, to cut somebody short, to show one's teeth, to be at daggers drawn.
Phraseological unities are often synonyms of words, e.g. to make a clean
breast of=to confess; to get on one's nerves=to irritate.
Phraseological unities are equivalents of words as
1) only one of components of a phraseological unity has structural forms'
e.g. to play (played, is playing, etc.) the first fiddle (but not played the first
fiddles); to turn ( turned, will turn, etc.) a new leaf ( but not to turn newer leaf or
new leaves);
2) the whole unity and not its components are parts of the sentence in
syntactical analysis, e.g. in the sentence He took the bull by the horns (attacked a
problem boldly) there are only two parts: he - the subject, and took the bull by the
horns - the predicate.
In phraseological fusions the degree of motivation is very low, we cannot
guess the meaning of the whole from the meanings of its components, they are
highly idiomatic and cannot be translated word for word into other languages, e.g..
to pull one's leg (to deceive); at sixes and sevens (in confusion); a mare's nest ( a
discovery which turns out to be false or worthless); to show the white feather (to
show cowardice); to ride the high horse (to put on airs).
Phraseological fusions are the most idiomatic of all the kinds of
phraseological units.
Phraseological fusions are equivalents of words: fusions as well as unities
form a syntactical whole in analysis.

And one more point: free word combinations can never be polysemantic,
while there are polysemantic phraseological units, e.g.
To be on the go
1. to be busy and active
to be leaving
to be tipsy
to be near one's end
have done with
1. Make an end of
give up
reach the end of
Two types of synonymy are typical of phraseological units:
Synonymy of phraseological units that do not contain any synonymous
words and are based on different images, e.g.
To leave no stone unturned = to move heaven and earth
To haul down colours = to ground arms
In free word combinations synonym is based on the synonymy of particular
words (an old man = elderly man).
Phraseological units have word synonyms: To make up one's mind = to
decide
To haul down colours = to surrender
Phraseological unites are partially non-motivated as their meaning can
usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological
unit. For example, to show one's teeth, to wash one's dirty linen in public if
interpreted as semantically motivated through the combined lexical meaning of the
component words would naturally lead one to understand these in their literal
meaning. The metaphoric meaning of the whole unit, however, readily suggests
'take a threatening tone' or 'show an intention to injure' for show one's teeth and
'discuss or make public one's quarrels' for wash one's dirty linen in public.

Phraseological unities are as a rule marked by a comparatively high degree of


stability of the lexical components.
Phraseological collocations are motivated but they are made up of words
possessing specific lexical valency which accounts for a certain degree of stability
in such word-groups. In phraseological collocations variability of member-words is
strictly limited. For instance, bear a grudge may be changed into bear malice, but
not into bear a fancy or liking. We can say take a liking (fancy) but not take hatred
(disgust). These habitual collocations tend to become kind of clichs See 'WordGroups and Phraseological Units'. Here the terms phraseological collocations and
habitual collocations are used synonymously, where the meaning of member-words
has to some extent be dominated by the meaning of the whole group. Due to these
phraseological collocations are felt as possessing a certain degree of semantic
inseparability.

Chapter II. TRANSLATION OF PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS FROM


ENGLISH INTO ROMANIAN
2.1 Methods and Techniques in Translating Phraseological Units from
English into Romanian
In the theory and practice of translation, idioms are considered a special
chapter, as linguists and translators are often concerned about finding conceptual
and formal correspondences from one language to another. Translators must be
aware of the fundamental problems of phraseological units, of their semantic and
stylistic peculiarities.
Now we shall speak about some adequate ways of translation of
idioms with colour elements in their semantic structure.
That is we can say that the phraseological units are translated either by
the already existed equivalents or by means of some other methods, giving
non-phraseological translation because of lacking of the analogous equivalents
in the TL.
The first group can be represented by the idioms that fully coincide in
both languages, have one and the same meaning, one and the same stylistic
shades and inner form. For example:
Black as coal / ink / night / pitch etc.- negru ca smoala,cerneala,noaptea, etc.,
Black ingratitude nerecunotin (neagr)
Red as blood rou ca single;
Red Cross crucea roie;
Like a red rag to a bull a face pe cineva s fie foarte emoionat/excitat sau
violent; a nfuria pe cineva; a face s vad rou n faa ochilor de furie;
Blue blood persoan ce provine dintr-o familie nobil, aristocratic;
Yellow press presa de scandal;
Look at smth through rose coloured glasses a vedea lucrurile ntr-un mod
mai optimistic;
Green with envy - a fi extrem de enervat;
White war rzboi economic

All the above mentioned examples have their phraseological equivalents in


most languages, that is they are equal to the original phraseological units.
The number of such coincidences is very limited.
The second group includes idioms with partial equivalents. It means that they
have similar meaning but are different in the inner character of imaginary
form. Such equivalents are called relative phraseological units. They can differ
from the original phrase by some components, usually synonymous, then by
little deviation in syntactic or morphological structure, collocability etc. But
their relativeness is covered by the context.
To be in a black book a fi n defavoare, dezaprobat la modul cel mai
serios/ categoric,pe lista neagr;
Yellow belly la, fricos,
Golden opportunity - caz minunat, posibilitate excelent
Kill the goose that laid / lays golden eggs a omor gina care afec ou de aur, a
ncerca s obii un avantaj mai mare distrugnd astfel sursa acestuia;
Grey cells / matter materie sur (creierul uman)
White lie o minciun spus n slujba unui scop nobil, a unei scuze bune;
Put down in black and white a scrie negru pe alb
It is necessary to remember that using this method of translation one
should consider emotional and expressive colouring of the phraseological
unit. The difficulty is that such expressions are real or forgotten metaphors
unconsciously assimilated by the native speakers.
The third group, the most numerous, includes idioms having no
equivalents in the language of translation. To transfer their meanings into
any other language one should use non-phraseological ways of translation.
Non-phraseological translation transfers the meaning of the idiom by
lexical and not by the phraseological means. Such translation can not be
considered of full value.

There

are

often

some

losses:

imaginary,

expressiveness, connotation, figurativeness, shades of meanings etc. That is


why the translator very seldom use this method of translating.

When it is impossible to transfer the semantic-stylistic and expressiveemotional colouring of the phrase we use another method which is connected the
usage of loan words, if possible. This method is preferable when it is possible
to convey the meaning of the original phrase by its word-to-word translation
in order for the reader to understand the phraseological meaning of the
whole expression and not only its constituent parts.
Most loans can be considered to be phraseological, for example, the
English phrase the hill the grass is always greener on the other side of
the hill was used as a word-to-word translation in the newspaper Loc
European in the article What is Good in Toronto?:
14,5 % izraelieni, ce au plecat n Toronto, triesc sub nivelul srciei. ce ia permis directorului general al ministerului de integrare, Mirle Gali, s observe,
c iarba la vecini e ntotdeauna mai verde.
Sometimes translators not only give the loan translation but also some
historical commentary. Such translation is called double or parallel.
For example, white elephant . The expression is not formal, and means a
very costly possession that is worthless to its owner and only a cause of
trouble, - lucru costisitor de ntreinut,care te cost enorm/ ct ochii din cap.
The car we bought last year is a white elephant; it uses a lot of petrol
and breaks down again and again
The recent Budget has offered hundreds of millions of pounds to share
up private enterprise and to finance such white elephants as Concorde and
the Channel Tunnel [New Statesman, 22 Nov 74].
The expression 'white elephant' referred to a practice of the kings of
Siam when they wished to get rid of the followers who had displeased them.
The king would give the follower a white elephant. The elephant was so costly
to keep that its owner would be ruined.
In conclusion, we can say, as we saw from the above-mentioned examples,
that the translation of the idioms is not context-free. Only in the cases when the
same construction is used literally, it may be translated word by word.

The idioms present troublesome expressions that cannot be translated word


for - word, thats why they must be given in a special dictionary as ready-made
expressions with their translation; otherwise they bring to typical language
mistakes to misunderstandings due to their apparent similarity in structure.
In this study, we noticed that idioms can rarely be rendered literally and that
translating them means discovering the proper equivalent which is able to express
the semantic and stylistic particularities of idioms from the source language. We
presented several types of equivalences which illustrate that idioms are not only a
part of a linguistic system, but also an important and expressive component within
a cultural framework. From all these categories of equivalence, we insisted upon
the linguistic concept of the complete, partial and zero equivalence, by bringing
numerous examples from English and Romanian phraseological dictionaries,
articles and books. We concluded that in the interlinguistic transfer of idioms from
English to Romanian and vice versa, one may find various equivalent patterns, in
spite of the special syntactic and semantic characteristics of phraseological units.
[9,p.30]
Phraseology is an intermediary field, being close, in the reference literature,
both to vocabulary studies, since it studies fixed word combinations, characterized
by a unitary meaning, as well as to syntax, since phraseologic phenomena are
defined by syntactic relations of various kinds, which are realized on a syntagmatic
axis. Given the expressive nature of phraseologic phenomena, these have also been
associated to stylistics. Taking into consideration the possibility of differentiating
styles and functional variants of a language by analysing phraseologic units, it has
been particularly drawn closer to functional stylistics.
In what concerns the syntagmatic, the discursive dimension and especially
the cultural-cognitive, phraseology has recently recorded a very productive period,
since specialists in the field have been ardently researching this topic in line with
the interdisciplinary approach. This study can be positioned along the lines of the
interdisciplinary approach as well, in an attempt to comprehend the phenomenon
of antonymy at phraseological level.

In Romania, phraseology as an independent branch of linguistics has


started to develop in the 80s. There are many Romanian linguists and researchers
who are worth mentioning for their valuable contributions to this complex domain,
such are: B.P. Hasdeu, Al. Philippide, I.-A. Candrea, I. Iordan, Florica Dimitrescu,
Th. Hristea, St. Dumistrcel, Gh. Colun, L. Groza etc. In the beginning, the study
of phraseology focused predominantly on the structural semantic analysis and the
contrastive approach. More recent direction are the integral approach, in the
Coserian tradition, which relies on the understanding of the functions of
phraseological units in repeated discourse, as well as the culturological
approach, in an attempt to decode the culture-specific of idioms
Starting from the 90s, E.N. Miller has drawn attention upon the need to
investigate the phenomenon of antonymy at phraseological level and consequently
upon the necessity of a dictionary of phraseological antonyms.
But beyond the closeness to different linguistic disciplines, phraseology
tends to be regarded as an autonomous discipline, with its own object and methods
of investigation.
In the cases when an equivalent cannot be found in the target language, there
are several strategies that can be applied. A first one is the literal translation of the
phraseological unit. It has also been called pseudo equivalence.
However, this solution is not accepted by most linguists, especially in the
case of the translation of phraseological units, where the global meaning is not
made up by the sum of the meanings of its component parts. It is considered a
mistake, since it does not remain true to the spirit of the original and deprives the
phraseological unit of its semantic, stylistic, phonetic specificity.
One of the most common patterns of instantial use is phraseological pun
which involves the juxtaposition of the figurative meaning of the PU and the literal
meaning of a component or components. As Pus are figurative cohesive
combinations of words they lend themselves to punning very well, for each
figurative component invariably has a literary meaning at the same time, affording
a dual perception:

to pull someone's leg


But I laughed and said, "Don't worry, Professor, I am not pulng her
ladyship's leg. I wouldn't do such a thing. I have too much respect for that
charming limb.
Phraseological puns are frequently sustained beyond the level of the sentence.
Punning creates an abrupt semantic shift as the PU is also simultaneously
perceived as a non-figurative combination of words which reveis the secret of
image creation. Another example:
the white feather
David had asked about the apparent paradox of the od man's pacifism in
1916 and his serving as medical orderly with the International Brigade during the
Spanish Civil War.
'White feather, dear boy. Quite literal, you know. Had a collection of the
damn' things. Didn't care, all a joke. Russell, he converted me...' [38 .p.66 ]
It is important to learn to read with awareness and process a literary text,
which will not be complete without the interpretation of instantial stylistic use.
Another widespread stylistic pattern involving Pus in discourse is extended
phraseological metaphor.
Sometimes the meaning may be roughly similar to that of the source
language, but most times it deviates completely from it, presenting different or
even antagonistic situations, since, in some cases, it is based on the so called false
friends analogy. It could only be acceptable in the cases when the phraseological
units have transparent meanings, which can be easily grasped, but this is not a very
frequent case.[20,p.14]
E.g.:Money has no smell, translated as Banii n-au miros
The translation by paraphrase is considered a more adequate strategy than
the literal translation. It has also been referred to as zero equivalence. It
corresponds to what Vinay and Darbelnet call transposition, which is the process
of replacing one word class with another without changing the meaning of the
message. In the case of a phraseological unit, it is substituted by a string of words,

with no idiomatic character, which expresses the global sense conveyed by the
original unit. In this case, the meaning is rendered, although the formal aspect,
including the stylistic effect produced by the phraseological unit, is lost. It is also a
good solution when the use of phraseological units in the target language text does
not seem appropriate because of differences in stylistic preferences of the source
and target languages.
The term phraseology designates the discipline as well as its object, the set
or totality of phraseologic units in a given language. According to the origin of
phraseologisms, a line has been drawn between two areas of investigation, namely,
linguistic phraseology understood as a communitys means of expression and
literary phraseology including aphorisms, witticism, word combinations with an
accidental character, belonging to certain writers, outstanding people.
As an autonomous discipline, the object of research of phraseology consists
in phraseologic units from a given language (or a group of languages).[14, p.45]
For the translation of phraseological units which contain culture-bound
elements there are several strategies that can be used, especially when the
expression is paraphrased. Rodica Dimitriu considers that cultural plurality has
given rise to specific translation strategies through which cultural difference is
highlighted. Two such strategies are transcription (cultural borrowing or
assimilation), or what Newmark

calls transference, and calque (literal

translation). The purpose of these strategies is to retain some local colour, but
while the second one does not completely block comprehension, in the first one the
message will in most cases be at best vague, if not entirely opaque. For this reason
Newmark mentions that it is a good practice to employ two or more translation
strategies at the same time, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings. For
example, transference is usually accompanied by naturalisation. There are other
strategies that can be used for different purposes: neutralisation, in which case the
cultural flavour is lost, but the meaning becomes clear. It can be in the form of
either translation by a more general item (a superordinate) or by a more neutral,
less expressive item.

E.g.: a jack of all trades (a person who can do many different kinds of
work, but perhaps does not do them very well) om bun la toate (neutralisation)
Or the translator might opt for cultural substitution, by replacing the
culture-specific item with a target language one which does not have the same
meaning, but is likely to have a similar impact on the target reader.
E.g.: Work like a beaver A munci ca o furnic
Another strategy is the translation by omission, when a phraseological unit
may sometimes be omitted altogether in the target text. This strategy can be used
either because it has no adequate equivalent, it cannot be easily paraphrased or for
stylistic reasons.
This strategy is usually accompanied by compensation, which is seen as the
technique of making up for the translation loss of important source text features by
approximating their effects in the target text through means other than those used
in the source text. In this case, the omission of a phraseological unit at some point
in a target text can be compensated by the introduction of another unit in a
different part of the text, thus maintaining the idiomatic character of the text. This
type of compensation is referred to as compensation in place
The concept of phraseologic unit (unit phrasologique) has been first used
by Charles Bally, in Prcis de stylistique, wherefrom it was taken by V. V.
Vinogradov and other Soviet linguists, who translated it by frazeologhiceskaia
edinitsa, which led to the term frazeologhizm, with the same meaning, and then
subsequently borrowed by different languages belonging to the European culture.
In present-day Romanian linguistics, the concepts of phraseologic unit and
phraseologism are seriously challenged, on different levels, by the structures stable
syntactic groups, phraseologic groups, constant word combinations, fixed word
combinations, fixed syntagms, syntagmatic units. For that matter, Casia Zaharia
has drawn out an extensive list of phraseologic terms used in Romanian and
German linguistics and also wrote, at the same time and in a paper on comparative
phraseology with a significant theoretical foundation, a biography of the most
important ones.[31,p.343]

To clearly delineate the area of phraseology as a linguistic discipline, we


may regard it as starting where vocabulary meets syntax, once the boundaries of
the word - conceived as a semantic and functional unit contained in-between
spaces - have been crossed.
Therefore, the delineation of the field of phraseology requires, on the one
hand, the separation of lexicology by illustrating the differences between the
phraseologic unit and the compound word and, on the other hand, the separation
from syntax by differentiation from syntagm or the phrase of an accidental,
unrepeatable, unstable nature.
Fulvia Ciobanu and Finua Hasan attempt to outline stable syntactic groups
of words, starting from the premise that a compound represents one single word
and the syntactic group, several words. Taking into account the three
characteristics of a word, morphological unit, syntactic unit and syntactic
behaviour, the authors aim at defining the category of compound words.
Morphologically speaking, the elements which distinguish compound words from
fixed syntactic groups are the presence of inflection, the indefinite article, the
existence of a single main accent. Semantically speaking, the relations between the
terms of the compound are, most of the times, understandable. In terms of syntactic
behaviour, the compound word which displays morphological unity, behaves like a
simple word, not allowing the insertion of a determinant, and compound words
with no morphological unity can be separated by possessive or demonstrative
adjectives.
The difference between phraseological units and free word combinations is
derived precisely from the syntactic stability of the former which, having been
established through usage, are felt as distinct units due to the very fusion (to a
larger or smaller extent) of the constitutive elements.[4, p.78]
It is rather difficult to define the phraseological unit and phraseology, in
general, due to their complex nature. Certain aspects regarding the phraseological
unit

should

be

clarified,

however;

the

phrases

phraseological

unit,

phraseological constructions, collocations, fixed structures and the words

phraseologism and phraseme used in different papers in the field are


considered in the present research as generic terms and somewhat synonymic,
referring to all phraseologisms or any phraseological construction. However, it is
understood that these terms are not fully synonymic, but drawing clear distinctions
among these concepts is avoided since my goal is to identify the antonymic
relationship between all kinds of multi-word units. Regarding the idiomatic
expressions or idioms we adopt R.A. Budagovs point of view, who claims that
these type of multi-word units cannot be translated literally, but they have to be
understood as fixed word structures, indestructible due to the complete loss of
individual lexical meanings of their components and the accumulation of a unitary,
global meaning, a phraseological/idiomatic meaning, which could only result at the
level of the construction as a whole. In the following examples, we have added in
brackets the translation of the idiomatic meaning of the Romanian phraseological
units, an equivalent phraseological unit in English often being complicated to find,
as they are culturally-specific:
La Patele cailor ("never), de florile cucului ("useless), la dracu-n
praznic ("far away), a-i sri mutarul ("to get angry), a-i lua inima n dini ("to
dare), a umbla cu capul n traist ("to be careless), a-i lua lumea-n cap ("to
leave"), a fi tmie ("unwise), a mnca cu ochii ("to crave), a nveli tciunele
("to leave, to elude), din topor ("rude), coad de topor ("spy, snitch), cu
traista-n b ("poor), Soarbe-zeam ("foolish, weak man"), Zgrie-brnz
("miser). [37, p.109]
Studies related to the phenomenon of antonymy in phraseology have been
carried out by Russian specialists such as: A.I. Molotkov, A.I. Aliokhina, A.M.
Emirova, N.F. Alefirenko, E.R. Mardieva et al. In Romanian linguistics,
phraseological antonymy has come under consideration much later, starting with
Gh. Colun, Gh. Brlea, L. Groza, thus the theoretical background of this research
refers predominantly to the above-mentioned works. Concerning the existence of
phraseological antonymy there have been contradictory views, since some
researchers claim that it is not a typical phenomenon or it is a very rare one. This

view can be argued against, since phraseological units lie at the intersection of
lexis, grammar and syntax; they may behave like lexemes, therefore they have
antonyms, synonyms, polysemes and even homonyms. Yet, phrasemes are not
equivalent of lexemes. The word is a notion with multiple denotational and
connotational meanings, while the phraseological unit often implies only one
meaning from this semantic plethora. In addition, the phraseological meaning is
rather related to the connotational, figurative meaning, than to the referential,
denotational one. Metaphorization, metonymization and abstraction generally, take
a leading role in the process of semantic expansion, engaging cognitive processes
which provide a linguistic-cognitive conceptualization and categorization. As a
result, the speaker, easily, often spontaneously, identifies and uses in discourse
certain syntagmatic constituents; for example water as a syntagmatic constituent
for the following multi-word units (in Romanian ap):
ap limpede, ap tulbure, ap de but, ap potabil, ap
plat, ap mineral, ap vie, ap moart, ap de ploaie, a cra ap
cu ciurul, a-i lsa gura ap, a intra la ap, a nu avea nici dup ce bea
ap, a se simi ca petele n ap etc. [in English: drinking water, fresh water,
salt water, still water, mineral water, running water, spring water, tap water, toilet
water, take to sth. like a duck to water, like a fish out of water, muddy the waters,
blood is thicker than water etc.].
To illustrate, consider the following example Puterea opoziiei i opoziia
Puterii from the Romanian media discourse. Also pertaining to the play on words
we can mention the so-called occasional phraseology, relying on antonymic
substitution, through the substitution of some phraseological units with elements,
that allow this type of change, the result often being quite spectacular: lumina din
captul tunelului ntunericul din captul tunelului [light at the end of the tunnel
darkness at the end of the tunnel]. For example, the phraseological unit gol
puc (gun naked) substituted by mbrcat pistolv (pistol dressed) can lead to
creating a phraseological synonymy based on antonymic pairs: gol vs. mbrcat
(naked vs. dressed), puc vs. pistol.[27,p.464]

We consider the active nature of phraseological units as a very important


characteristic; the main function of phraseological units at the level of discourse
being to structure it; thus we believe that some phraseological units are discourse
structuring units. To illustrate we will present a series of utterances, which belong
to either the journalistic discourse (mostly television channels), or the literary
discourse.
Ctigtorul Eurovision Romnia vine s comenteze la cald rezultatul
obinut i s analizeze la rece ansele la finala Eurovision 2013 (March 9th,
2013, TVR 1 Channel); un berbecu cu minimul de mijloace i cu maximul de
savoare (March 30th, 2013, Kanal D Channel); laptele conform s fi intrat n
contaminare cu laptele neconform (March 18th, 2013, TVR 1 Channel); fiul
risipitor va spune eminentul savant se ntoarce ca fiu aduntor; pentru cei
de afar e o cifr obinuit, ca oricare alta. Nici mai bun, nici mai rea.; nici
vii, cu snge pulsnd n vene, nici stafii; intr-n grab, ies-n grab;ei fac ru
involuntar, ncercnd s fac bine;femeia care i-a fost alturi la bine i la ru.
In my opinion antonymic relationships in phraseology can occur between
phraseological units, between global phraseological meanings, but also within a
single phraseological unit (of which it can be said that a certain antonymic pattern
was followed in order for it to be build), through the emergence of canonical
antonyms within the phraseological unit or through the presence of syntagmatic
constituents.
2.2 Contrastive analyses of English and Romanian phraseological units
Starting from the cognitive linguistic hypothesis that are conceptual, not
linguistic in nature and that their meanings can be seen as motivated, and not
arbitrary, Tratescu analyses and compares body part idioms in English and
Romanian in terms of conceptual metaphor, conceptual metonymy and
conventional knowledge.[16,p.16]
A conceptual metaphor consists of two conceptual domains in which one
domain is understood in terms of another, while conceptual metonymy is the
cognitive process in which one conceptual entity, the vehicle, provides mental

access to another conceptual entity, the target, within the same conceptual domain.
Conventional knowledge is information that is widely know and shared between
members of a speech community,an dis thus likely to be more central to the mental
representation of a particular lexical concept. The author subdivides conventional
knowledge into knowledge relative to position, knowledge relative to the shape,
and knowledge relative to the function of the body-part analyzed.
Idioms containing four main body-part terms are: HEAD, HEAR, EYE, and
HAND. Concerning the motivation of body part idioms, the linguists rightly
emphasize that they are motivated not by one of the three cognitive mechanism
mentioned above: there are cases when a combination of them underlies them. For
instance, in the idiom the right hand does not know what the left hand is going,
The HAND FOR ACTIVITY conceptual metonymy combines with the HAND
FOR PERSON metonymy and equally with the conceptual metaphor
COOPERATION IS SHAKING HANDS. In general, HEAD, HAND, EYE and
HEART idioms do not display significant differences in the two languages
considered by Tratescu. However, there are instances when English idioms do not
have comparable idiomatic equivalents in Romanian: off the top of ones head, in
good heart, not to see eye to eye, take a hand in sth, make sth with ones own fair
hands. The author also identifies and comments on Romanian body part idioms
lacking English idiomatic equivalents:
o dat cu capul/n ruptul capului not for the world,
s-i fie de cap go and be hanged,
i vrsa focul inimii to unburden ones heart,

a avea inima larg to be kind hearted,

a nchide ochii to ignore, to sleep, to die,


a deschide ochii to be born,
a privi cu ochi buuni/ri to look favourably/unfavourably.
[37, p.45]
Another cognitive linguistic study on idioms discusses the influence of
cultural traditions on Romanian conceptualization of soul Neagu arguest that the

Romanian suflet,soul, like the Russian dusha is semantically closer to the


English heart than the English soul, due to its focus on moral values and emotions.
The concept of SOUL, presupposing domains such as body, mind, heart, life,
death, essence, immortality, God, is a cultural construct as it reflects differences in
the ethno philosophies associated with different languages. A valuable theoretical
framework combining the quest for cognitive approaches and interest in the
semiotics of culture is Dobrovolskij and Piirainens conventional figurative
language theory, where conventional figurative language is regarded as a
subsystem of the lexicon, as opposed to figurative adhoc expressions produced in
discourse. Using empirical data from various languages, the two authors suggest
that many significant properties of figurative language can only be explained on
the basic of specific conceptual structures generally referred to as cultural
knowledge.[2,p.39]
In Romanian linguistics, some approaches to idioms are concerned with
differences in conceptualizations. These differences show up in the case of the four
basic element idioms, containing terms such as WATER, AIR, EARTH, and FIRE.
For example, not all the basic level objects involved by the category FIRE are
conceptualized alike in Romanian and English. In Romanian, the idea of intensity
of a state or condition is conveyed by a wide range of FIRE idioms, usually
pointing to intense love (ndrgostit foc head over heels in love), anger (a se face
foc i par fly into a rage), jelousy (gelos foc externely jealous), and EARTH
idioms, expressing condition (srac lipit pmntului as poor as a church mouse),
physical and moral qualities (frumuseea pmntului divinely beautiful,
buntatea pmntului extremely kind hearted) which do not alwazs have
corresponding idioms in English.[3,p.82]
The astounding multiplicity, and the prodigious idiomatic and figurative
richness of the phraseological lexical stock (including the apophthegamtic units of
a language) is not only remarkably attractive for linguists, but also worth every
effort by the researcher. On the other hand, the exploration of the diachronic
dimension of such gems of collective imagination is an undertaking both enriching

and gratifying, but not devoid of arduousness and variegated challenges.


Discovering lost images and word stories may be a safe and fruitful way to
provide a broader, andmore human picture of a nations cultural quintessence.
Moreoever, most images evinced by such lexical units tend to become
international, addressing the innermost psyche of man.
The present papers main aims are to compare such phraseological units,
basically trying to assess their degree of convergence (as concepts/images/ideas, so
in point of sense, and also in point of expression), the prevalence of either sense or
expression,

and

the

expressive

quality

mainly

resulting

from

their

figurative/graphical nuances, or from their stylistic overtones (e.g. absurdity, irony,


etc.), the expressive concreteness in either of the two languages considered, the use
of obsolete (possibly, archaic) terms, or of sheer idiomatic terms (which can
sometimes be nonce words).

The author did not mean to form an undue

demonstrative association between the concepts that are the very key-words of the
present contribution, viz. idiomatic, phraseological and proverbial/apophthegmatic,
but started from the unassuming remark that some common, widely circulated
phraseologisms are at the same time allusions to, remnants or reminders of, (prior)
well-known proverbial units. That is to say that, in such cases, the dividing line
between the phraseological and idiomatic units, on one hand, and the
proverbial/apophthegmatic units, on the other hand, is rather vague (cf. the manner
in which the issue is treated by most dictionaries).[23, p.248]
The ample domain represented by proverbs, maxims, adages, sayings and
(wise) saws, aphorisms, and even epigrams1 materializes through verbal
expressions that set forth universal wisdom, usually a (general/basic/self-evident)
truth (or practical precept), or some commonplace fact of experience. They are
essentially memorable, short, concise, condensed, and can be found in frequent and
widespread use; more often than not, they use bold imagery, and may summarize
an abundance of ethical, cultural, and even practical aspects; sometimes, briefly
stated rules of conduct, or guiding principles characteristic of a group, etc., are
expressed.

On the other hand, an idiom is a group of words whose meaning cannot be


predicted from the meanings of the constituent words, as for example (It was
raining) cats and dogs; a speech form or an expression of a given language that is
peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual
meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on; idiomatic means . peculiar to or
characteristic of a given language. The idiomatic character of the fixed
expressions in a language is often ensured by those words which either have no
definite (or etymologically certain) sense, or have so to speak no sense at all .
[7,p.13]
In a previous contribution, we tried to analyze and compare the
expressiveness of such phrases, starting from the assumption that the more
concrete the phrases in question, the more graphical they are. In the process (which
involved perusing such common use bilingual dictionaries as the ones compiled by
the late professor Andrei Bantas, or the collaborative edition now being prepared
for print by the author of the present contribution), we came across and recognized
in the figurative metaphorical, essentially expressive set of images displayed by
the idiomatic and proverbial phrases in English concepts and ideas familiar to
most speakers of Romanian. They are obviously transparent on a semantic It
seems only natural that many phraseological units should be, at least to a certain
extent, international (through either meaning or phrasing or both). Some English
items can be considered (lexical or ideological) variants of what Romanians
commonly use. Consider such instances as:
a cincea roata (la caruta) fifth wheel a hanger-on; a person who serves no
function;
a sterge de pe fata pamntului to wipe out To raze to the ground;
a face o scena to make a scene; (de indignare etc.) to put up a great
show (of indignation, etc.); ca sardelele packed like sardines; cu orice pret
at all costs, at any price;
cntecul lebedei cf. swansong;
a studia (ceva) la microscop (fig.) to put (smth.) under the microscope;

n toi in full swing (n toiul luptei in the thick of the battle), etc.
[37, p.71]
The fact that some phraseological units (seen from the angle of both
expression and image) tend to become (increasingly) international is no doubt an
important feature of current phraseology.
By conducting a modest though essentially didactic-oriented
comparative analysis of the corpus sampled for English and Romanian, we could
detect a number of points of (literal) convergence and divergence.[26, p.76]
There are units that seem to prove Romanian to be the more expressive
language:
si cu asta basta and that is that;
l paste un pericol a danger threatens him;
a bate toba to make a great fuss;
a baga (pe cineva) la apa to get (smb.) into trouble;
a baga n mormnt to be the death of;
a fi cu cntec to have its (hidden) meaning;
a mnca ct patru to be a heavy eater;
a nu se baga to stand aloof, to keep off;
a o scrnti, a face una boacana to put ones foot in it;
a se baga pe sub pielea cuiva to ingratiate oneself with smb.;
a se vr (pe) sub pielea cuiva to curry favour with smb.;
a sta n capul oaselor to sit up;
a vorbi ntre patru ochi to talk (to smb.) in private;
a-si lua cmpii to run away;
amorezat/ndragostit lulea (de cineva) nuts/carried away/crazy about;
cntec de inima albastra sad song;
de atta amar de vreme for such a long time;
de caciula per head, each, apiece;
de-a berbeleacul head over heels;
din acelasi aluat of a kind;

din burta (fig.) off hand;


n capul oaselor sitting up;
nu te baga! mind your own affairs/business!;
pe la cntatori at cock-crow;
pe toate drumurile/cararile at every corner;
un bujor de fata a flower of a girl;
una vorbim si basca ne ntelegem we talk at cross purposes.
[37, p.67]
Then, there are differences in point of expressiveness, with English as the
more expressive of the two languages; let us compare: at loggerheads with
certat cu; between you and me (and the bedpost) ntre patru ochi; good
riddance (to a bad bargain) atta paguba; she is a fine bit of crumpet/fluff/
skirt/stuff e o bucatica buna; smitten amorezat/ndragostit/pna peste cap
lulea (de cineva); stale joke banc vechi; to be/keep mum a-si tine gura, a tacea
din gura; to cool ones heels a face anticamera; to drop a hint a face o aluzie;
to go on a wild bender cf. a face / trage o bauta (zdravana); to look seedy cf. a
arata prost. [37, p.56]
Sometimes, expressiveness is aided in English by a specific type of
(somewhat rhetorical) overstatement as in: hed take a candy from a baby e un om
fara (nici un pic de) inima. [37, p.11]
It could be noted that, when the English structure has a higher degree of
referentiality as compared to the Romanian one, the latter is either more figurativemetaphorical, or more conventional, e.g. to be drawn into a se angrena n (ceva);
Id give my shirt to (do smth.) ce n-as da sa; to get it hot/in the neck a mnca
bataie; a se mnia tare/rau to blow ones top. [37, p.44]
Some expressive /graphical images in English mainly rely on the abovementioned type of referentiality, e.g. to be skating on thin ice a fi ntr-o situatie
delicata.[13,p.164]
Conversely, the Romanian structure can have a higher degree of
referentiality as compared to the English one, which is either more figurative-

metaphorical, or more conventional, a bea aldamasul to wet the bargain; a-si


uda gtlejul to wet ones whistle, to moisten ones clay; (galben) ca ceara as
pale as death; n-as pune mna n foc (pentru el/ca el nu) we wouldnt put it
past (him); a rde mnzeste to put on a forced/wry smile; to give a hollow laugh.
So, the more conventionalized the structures are, the less expressive they are
overall: Rom. tot o apa/tot un drac Eng. much of a muchness; a face pe cineva
albie de porci to call smb. names. Yet, such phrases as the ones below are
altogether comparable: a fi rebegit de frig to be stiff with cold, to be chilled to the
bone/frozen to the marrow. [37, p.23]
On the other hand, we happened to come across etymological surprises
involving a faade/veneer of absurdity concealing (quite valuable) historical and
cultural information, as in a pig in a poke
something bought or received without prior sight or knowledge,
something that is offered in a manner that conceals its true nature or
value
[A pig in a poke is concealed in a sack from the buyer. The noun poke
meaning a bag or sack dates from the 14th century in English. In many parts of
Scotland poke means a little paper bag for carrying purchases or a cone-shaped
piece of paper for an ice-cream cone. The Oxford English Dictionary gives similar
forms in other languages: Icelandic poki, Gaelic poc or poca, and French poche.
Pouch and pocket are undoubtedly cognates]. A similar case is Romanian colac
peste pupaza.
Similarly, hidden semantic hints, some of which also belonging to the
cultural (and often ideological) pool, prove greatly informative when it comes to
dead metaphors and lost images. In most cases, such allusions, hints and
references are cultural, mythological, biblical, etc. Within that specific set, the
biblical (cultural) allusions and references seem to represent the most significant
subset irrespective of their structural type:
phraseological units resembling the common phrases/syntagms of the
language, an eye for an eye Exodus: Thou shalt give life for life, eye

for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, forbidden fruit, Jobs
comforters ( someone who apparently offers consolation to another person
but actually makes the other person feel worse), kill the fatted calf (the
return of the Prodigal Son), thirty pieces of silver ( the money Judas
Iscariot received for betraying Jesus to the authorities), through a glass
darkly (to have an obscure or imperfect vision of reality Apostle
Paul),valley of the shadow of death (the Twenty-third Psalm (The Lord is
my shepherd) meaning the perils of life, from which God protects
believers), [37, p.34] ,wolves in sheeps clothing (the image of false
Prophets, adapted from words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount;
figuratively, it stands for anyone who disguises a ruthless nature through
an outward show of innocence); [29,p.295]
(b) phraseological units whose structure includes the conjunction and, e.g.
alpha and omega i.e. the beginning and the end in the New Testament Book of
Revelation; loaves and fishes cf. Jesus miracle, when he was preaching to a
crowd of several thousand who grew hungry and needed to be fed); sometimes, the
conjunction can be missing, e.g. easy come, easy go;
(c) phraseological units that have/can have a sentential structure, e.g.
Consider the lilies of the field cf. the words of Jesus, encouraging his followers
not to worry about their worldly needs: Why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
And yet we say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like
one of these; By their fruits ye shall know them Jesus words suggesting that we
are able to distinguish between false and genuine Prophets by the things they do
and say; Cast not pearls before swine/Do not cast your pearls before swine to
refrain from sharing something of value with those who will not appreciate it; Cast
thy bread upon the waters cf. the Book of Ecclesiastes; the saying calls on people
to act with the faith that the benefit of their good deeds will not be lost on them;
The last shall be first; [37, p.94]

(d) phraseological units having the structure of complex (or compound)


sentences. That some (biblical) proverbs (and quotations) have become (or else,
have come to be used as) idioms proper can be proved by such instances as: Spare
the rod and spoil the child which implies, in fact, the biblical quotation He that
spareth his rod hateth his son: he that loveth him chastiseth him betimes/Rom.
Cine cruta toiagul sau si uraste copilul, iar cel care l iubeste l cearta la vreme
(Pilde, 13:24).[11,p.90]
It seems only natural that many phraseological units should be, at least to a
certain extent, international (through either meaning or phrasing or both). Some
English items can be considered (lexical or ideological) variants of what
Romanians commonly use. Consider such instances as:
a cincea roata (la caruta) fifth wheel a hanger-on; a person who serves
no function;
a sterge de pe fata pamntului to wipe out To raze to the ground;
a face o scena to make a scene; (de indignare etc.) to put up a great show
(of indignation, etc.);
ca sardelele packed like sardines;
cu orice pret at all costs, at any price;
cntecul lebedei swansong; a studia (ceva) la microscop (fig.) to put
under the microscope;
n toi in full swing (e.g. n toiul luptei in the thick of the battle), etc. The
fact that some phraseological units (seen from the angle of both expression and
image) tend to become (increasingly) international is no doubt an important feature
of current phraseology. [37, p.92]
By conducting a modest though essentially didactic-oriented
comparative analysis of the corpus sampled for English and Romanian, we could
detect a number of points of (literal) convergence and divergence.
There are units that seem to prove Romanian to be the more expressive
language:
si cu asta basta and that is that;

l paste un pericol a danger threatens him;


a bate toba to make a great fuss;
a baga (pe cineva) la apa to get (smb.) into trouble;
a baga n mormnt to be the death of;
a fi cu cntec to have its (hidden) meaning;
a mnca ct patru to be a heavy eater; a nu se baga to stand aloof, to
keep off;
a o scrnti, a face una boacana to put ones foot in it;
a se baga pe sub pielea cuiva to ingratiate oneself with smb.;
a se vr (pe) sub pielea cuiva to curry favour with smb.; a sta n capul
oaselor to sit up;
a vorbi ntre patru ochi to talk (to smb.) in private;
si baga nasul (unde nu-i fierbe oala) to poke/stick ones nose (where
its not wanted);
si lua cmpii to run away;
amorezat/ndragostit lulea (de cineva) nuts/carried away/crazy about;
cntec de inima albastra sad song; de atta amar de vreme for such a
long time;
de caciula per head, each, apiece;
de-a berbeleacul head over heels; din acelasi aluat of a kind;
din burta (fig.) off hand;
n capul oaselor sitting up; nu te baga! mind your own affairs/business!;
pe la cntatori at cock-crow;
pe toate drumurile/cararile at every corner;
un bujor de fata a flower of a girl;
una vorbim si basca ne ntelegem we talk at cross purposes.
[37, p.45]
Then, there are differences in point of expressiveness, with English as the
more expressive of the two languages; let us compare:
at loggerheads with certat cu;

between you and me (and the bedpost) ntre patru ochi;


good riddance (to a bad bargain) atta paguba;
she is a fine bit of crumpet/fluff/ skirt/stuff e o bucatica buna; smitten (Inf.)
amorezat/ndragostit/pna peste cap lulea (de cineva);
stale joke banc vechi; to be/keep mum a-si tine gura, a tacea din gura;
to cool ones heels a face anticamera;
to drop a hint a face o aluzie;
to go on a wild bender a face / trage o bauta (zdravana);
to look seedy a arata prost.
[37, p.79]
Sometimes, expressiveness is aided in English by a specific type of
(somewhat rhetorical) overstatement as in: hed take a candy from a baby e un om
fara (nici un pic de) inima. [37, p.4]
It could be noted that, when the English structure has a higher degree of
referentiality as compared to the Romanian one, the latter is either more figurativemetaphorical, or more conventional, e.g.
to be drawn into a se angrena n (ceva); Id give my shirt to (do smth.) ce
n-as da sa;
to get it hot/in the neck a mnca bataie;
a se mnia tare/rau to blow ones top. Some expressive /graphical images in
English mainly rely on the above-mentioned type of referentiality, e.g.
to be skating on thin ice a fi ntr-o situatie delicata. [37, p. 34]
Conversely, the Romanian structure can have a higher degree of referentiality as
compared to the English one, which is either more figurative-metaphorical, or
more conventional, e.g.
a bea aldamasul to wet the bargain;
a-si uda gtlejul to wet ones whistle, to moisten ones clay;
(galben) ca ceara as pale as death;
n-as pune mna n foc (pentru el/ca el nu) I wouldnt put it past (him);
a rde mnzeste to put on a forced/wry smile; to give a hollow laugh.

[37, p.39]
So, the more conventionalized the structures are, the less expressive they are
overall: Rom. tot o apa/tot un drac Eng. much of a muchness; a face pe cineva
albie de porci to call smb. names. [37, p.78]
Yet, such phrases as the ones below are altogether comparable: a fi rebegit de
frig to be stiff with cold, to be chilled to the bone/frozen to the marrow.
Sometimes, the biblical-cultural allusion has a jocular tinge, e.g. Romanian
n costumul lui Adam in ones birthday suit.
Similarly, the cultural allusion encapsulated by an idiom has, in some cases,
become completely opaque, e.g. mother Carey is plucking her geese (Rom. Baba
Dochia si scutura cojoacele): see Mother Carey [Possibly translation and
alteration of Medieval Latin mater cara, Virgin Mary: Latin mater, mother + Latin
cara, dear]. Even an isolated (expressive) term can display cultural allusion, e.g.
to kowtow a face temenele [from Chinese k'o t'ou, from k'o to strike, knock +
t'ou head].
But the most interesting cases are, we think, those exhibiting different
cultural loads in the two languages analysed (cf. the specific cultural and historical
bias), e.g. a o sterge englezeste cf. to take French leave. Quite similarly, there is the
case of Eng. to stand a Dutch treat and Romanian a plati nemteste [a Dutch treat
means an outing, a date, an entertainment, meal, etc., where each person pays for
themselves, and to go Dutch means (informal) to go on such a date, where
expenses are equally shared].[8,p.21]
Here are some examples of embedded historical and cultural anecdotes
(the Romanian counterpart of the Eng. expression as the saying goes, i.e.
povestea vorbei): to let the cat out of the bag to make known smth. that was a
secret, accidentally and at the wrong time; to disclose a secret (Rom. a-l lua
gura pe dinainte; a lasa sa-i scape/dezvalui/divulga un secret; infml. a lasa sa-i
scape porumbelul din gura): Formerly, countryfolk going to market would
sometimes put a cat in a bag that they pretended held a sucking pig, hoping to
impose this on a greenhorn who would buy it without examination; but, if the

intending buyer opened the bag, the trick was disclosed; (to sit) above the salt;
(antonym (to sit) below the salt); not fml., old-fash. (To be) in a position of
honour/not (to be) in a position of honour, esp. among guests at a dining table.
From the fact that in the houses of rich and important people salt was formerly
kept in a large container placed in the middle of the long diningtable; Rom. a fi
asezat n capul/vs. coada mesei; a ocupa un/a fi ntr-un post mare; colloq. a fi n
capul treburilor; to pay through ones nose (colloq.) to pay an exorbitant
price/an extortionate amount; to be overcharged: In the 9th century, the Danes
imposed a poll tax in Ireland, and the penalty for non-payment was the slitting of
the nose; to take time by the forelock (not fml., rather old-fash.): to act quickly
and without delay, to take advantage of present chances; from the fact that time
was represented by an old man with no hair on his head, except for a forelock over
his forehead; the Greek god of occasion, Chairos, was represented with a full
forelock. (Shakespeare, who uses the image in several plays, calls time, that bald
sexton. Rom. a prinde momentul prielnic/favorabil; a bate fierul ct e cald; a
nu pierde vremea (de pomana); to go through fire and water to suffer risks or
dangers willingly, because one is so determined to do smth. or to serve smb.;
Rom. a trece prin ncercari grele; a trece prin multe; a trece prin foc si para
(pentru cineva); approx. a trece prin ciur si prin drmon: The risk of being
burned or drowned is used as a symbol of what a person is ready to undergo; the
expression may allude to the mediaeval ordeal by fire and water in trials, in AngloSaxon times. We think it would suffice to add such (now semantically opaque)
Romanian expressions as a da sfoara n tara, cal de gloaba, a plati gloaba (pentru
ceva), etc [37, p.15]
A situation in which a desired solution or outcome is impossible to
attain because of a set of paradoxical/inherently illogical rules, or
set of circumstances/conditions; the rules or conditions that create
such a situation;
a situation characterized by absurdity, in which any move that
someone

can make will lead to trouble;


a contradictory or self-defeating course of action;
a tricky or disadvantageous condition; a catch.
There are cases of cultural allusion typical of British/English-speaking
culture, e.g. gentlemens agreement/gentlemans agreement (Romanian acord
tacit): a personal understanding or arrangement based on honour and not legally
binding; or of Romanian (folk/religious) culture, e.g. e gerul Bobotezei its
freezing hard, its bitter cold. A phrase like Romanian coada de topor . Trojan
horse can be read as a cultural allusion associated with the cultural corpus specific
to the Romanian language and literature (Grigore Alexandrescus fable Padurea si
toporul).
There is a similar class of learned idiomatic expressions in Romanian, such
as a trai ntr-un turn de fildes to live in watertight compartments though the
same image is used in English (where it is calqued/translated from French), e.g.
ivory tower seclusion or remoteness of attitude regarding real problems, everyday
life, etc.; a place or an attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty,
remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.
Interestingly enough, we could detect a category of phraseological/
apophthegmatic False Friends within the above-mentioned class, e.g. to lead by
the nose to make (someone) do unquestioningly all one wishes; dominate
(someone) (Rom. a duce de nas to pull the wool over (someones) eyes); to beat
the drum/drums to give enthusiastic public support or promotion, e.g. a politician
who beats the drum for liberalism vs. Rom. a bate toba (fig.) to make a great
fuss. Similarly, there are deceptive items deriving from false etymologies, or
rather etymologies based on misreading, e.g. scapegoat one that is made to bear
the blame of others; (Bible) a live goat over whose head Aaron confessed all the
sins of the children of Israel on the Day of Atonement.[5,p.30]
Last but not least, proverbs themselves can be used (and recorded in
dictionaries and glossaries) as phraseological units, or rather apophthegmatic
phraseological units and no estimates of expressiveness seem to be possible in

that field i.e. comparison seems to be rather counterproductive, e.g. unity is


strength unirea face puterea. Equivalence is a matter of sheer translation, and /
or conventionality, e.g. Walls have ears. Si peretii au urechi. [We may be
overheard without our knowing it. This saying is a warning to persons with
secrets]. The devil is not so black as he is painted. Nu-i dracul asa de negru (pe
ct se spune). A tree is known by its fruit. Pomul se cunoaste dupa roade (si omul
dupa fapte). [By their fruits ye shall know them A teaching of Jesus in the Sermon
on the Mount; it suggests that we are able to distinguish between false and genuine
prophets by the things they do and say]. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Nevoia te nvata. [A need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need
or solve the problem. This saying appears in the dialogue Republic, by the ancient
Greek philosopher Plato]. Time is a great healer. Timpul le vindeca pe toate. [or:
Time heals all wounds People eventually get over insults, injuries, and hatreds].
Speech is silver, but silence is gold. Tacerea e de aur (si vorba de argint). To make
a mountain out of a molehill. A face din tntar armasar. Too many cooks spoil the
broth. Copilul cu mai multe moase ramne cu buricul netaiat. [When too many
people work together on a project, the result is inferior]. A new broom sweeps
clean. Sita noua cerne bine. [New leadership injects energy]. It is easy to be
wise after the event. (approx.) Dupa razboi multi viteji se-arata. It takes all sorts
to make a world. (approx.) Mare e gradina Domnului.
[37, p.90]
Concluding,

we

can

say

that

phraseologisms

and

idioms,

and

apophthegmatic units too represent, on the one hand, well-known challenges in the
acquisition of English as a foreign language, and, on the other hand, most valuable
instruments to use in becoming proficient in that language.

CONCLUSION
Languages lead their speakers to construe experience in different ways,
specific to their culture. As a consequence, a great challenge that the translator
faces in the case of phraseological units is to reconcile respect for the cultural
specificity with the desire to render the foreign familiar. The aim is to make them
available to someone unfamiliar with the culture, without destroying the cultural
images on which they are based. In the translation of phraseology, perhaps more
than in any other type, the translator becomes a real mediator between cultures and
languages. And this is beyond a doubt a tough row to hoe.
The vocabulary of a language is enriched not only by words but also by
phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in
the process of speech; they exist in the language as ready-made units.
Translation has played a role throughout history any time there has been an
intersection of two cultures and languages. And each time one culture has produced
a written text, translators serve as the bridge that allows literate members of one
culture to be exposed to the written material the other has produced.
This paper, focused on the contrastive analysis of English and Romanian
phraseology involving kinship terms, started summarizing the main theoretical
aspects related to phraseology, culture and kinship.
Phraseology becomes the embodiment of persons national consciousness
and culture, and at the same time serves as the means of communication and the
knowledge of reality.
The analysis of special literature during the last decades shows that the
majority of linguists consider the coincidence of semantic structure, grammatical
(or syntactical) organization and componential (lexeme) structure the main criteria
in defining the types of interlanguage phraseological conformities/disparities with
the undoubted primacy of semantic structure.
The contrastive analysis of the phraseological units that was performed in
the practical chapter of the present research paper revealed the techniques and
methods used in their translation from English into Romanian. We can say that

the phraseological

units

are

translated

either

by

the

already

existed

equivalents or by means of some other methods, giving non-phraseological


translation because of lacking of the analogous equivalents in the TL. In the
second chapter we have 200 examples of English phraseological units and their
translation into the Romanian language.
Groups

31
Total equivalence
Partial equivalence
No ecuivalence

100
69

The first group represented by the idioms that fully coincide in


both languages, have one and the same meaning, one and the same stylistic
shades and inner form. We found 31 examples have their phraseological
equivalents in most languages, that is they are equal to the original
phraseological units. The number of such coincidences is very limited.
The second group included idioms with partial equivalents. It means
that they have similar meaning but are different in the inner character of
imaginary form. Such equivalents are called relative phraseological units. They
can

differ

from

the

original

phrase

by

some

components,

usually

synonymous, then by little deviation in syntactic or morphological structure,


collocability etc. But their relativeness is covered by the context. We found 69
examples belongigng to this group.
The third group, the most numerous, includes idioms having no
equivalents in the language of translation and we found 100 examples. To

transfer their meanings into any other language one should use nonphraseological ways of translation.
The following translation techniques used for phraseological units and
idioms were depicted: calque, cultural substitution and omission.
Translation techniques

14
29

57

calque

cultural substitution

omission

Non-phraseological translation transfers the meaning of the idiom by


lexical and not by the phraseological means. Such translation can not be
considered of full value.

There

are

often

some

losses:

imaginary,

expressiveness, connotation, figurativeness, shades of meanings etc. That is


why the translator very seldom use this method of translating.
When it is impossible to transfer the semantic-stylistic and expressiveemotional colouring of the phrase we use another method which is connected the
usage of loan words, if possible. This method is preferable when it is possible
to convey the meaning of the original phrase by its word-to-word translation
in order for the reader to understand the phraseological meaning of the
whole expression and not only its constituent parts.
In Conclusion we can say that distinguishing between free word-groups
and phraseological units its further complicated by the existence of a great number
of marginal cases so called: Semi-fixed or semi-free word-groups, also called non-

phraseological word-groups which share with phraseological units, their structural


stability but lack their semantic unity and figurativeness.
Usually when people speak about translation or even write about it in special
literature they seldom specific about the meaning. Translation means both a
process and a result, and when defining translation we are interested in both
aspects. But at the same time we need the result of translation since alongside with
the source the translated text is one of the two sets of observed events we have at
our disposal if we need to compare the original (source) text and the resulting
(target) one.
However, the formation of the source and target texts is governed by the
rules characteristic of the source and target languages. Hence the system of the two
languages is also included in our sphere of interest. These systems consist of
grammar units and rules, morphological and word-building elements and rules,
stylistic variations, and lexical distribution patterns (lexico-semantic paradigms).
In translation we deal with two languages and to verify the information they
give us about the extralinguistic objects (and concepts) we should consider
extralinguistic situation, and background information.
The structure of the translation should follow that of the original textthere
should be no change in the sequence of narration or in the arrangement of the
segments of the text.

It is necessary to remember that using this method of

translation one should consider emotional and expressive colouring of the


phraseological unit. The difficulty is that such expressions are real or
forgotten metaphors unconsciously assimilated by the native speakers.
The aim is maximum parallelism of structure which would make it possible
to relate each segment of the translation to the respective part of the original. It is
presumed that any breach of parallelism is not arbitrary but dictated by the need for
precision in conveying the meaning of the original.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Literary Criticism
1. Aliokhina, A.I. 1968. Frazeologieskaja antonimija v sovremennom
anglijskom jazyke, rezumatul tezei, eljabinsk.

2. Avdanei, C. 2000. Construcii idiomatice n limbile romn i englez,


Iai: Editura Universitii Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
3. Brlea, Gh. 1999. Contraria latina. Contraria romanica (Sistemul
antonimelor n limbalatin i reflexele sale n limbile romanice),
Bucureti: All Educational.
4. Borchin, M. 2007. Conectorii discursivi. In Comunicare i argumentare.
Teorie i aplicaii, (coord. M. Borchin), Timioara: Excelsior Art, pp. 7879.
5. Buc, M. 2008. Dicionar de antonime [Dictionary of Antonyms],
Timioara: Meteor Press.
6. Buc, M. 2011. Marele dicionar de expresii romneti, (MDER) [The
Great Dictionary of Romanian Expressions], [Bucureti]: Meteor Press.
7. Buc, M., Evseev, I. 1976. Probleme de semasiologie, Timioara: Facla.
8. Budagov, R.A. 2003. Vvedenie v nauku o jazyke: u. posobie, 3rd edition,
Moskva: Dobrosvet-2000.
9. Coltun, Gheorghe, Spirescu, Monica, Aspecte ale frazeologismelor de
origine biblica, in Language and Literature. European Landmarks of
Identity, Pitesti, Editura Universitatii din Pitesti, 2009, p. 30-34.
10.Coseriu, Eugeniu, Lectii de lingvistica generala, Chisinau, Editura Arc,
2000.
11.Coseriu, Eugeniu, Lingvistica integrala, Bucuresti, Editura Fundatiei
Culturale Romne, 1996.
12.Dejica, D. 2010. Idiomatic expressions. In Approaching the
information universe for translation purposes: the atomistic perspective.
In Romanian Journal of English Studies, (7), pp. 266-278.
13.Dinova, Ja.V. 2011. Zamena komponentov kak prijom okkazionalnoj
modifikacii frazeologieskih edinic (na materiale anglijskogo i russkogo
jazykov). In Vestnik MGOU, Seria Lingvistika, No. 3, pp. 164-168.
14.Emirova, A.M. 2008. "Ob antonimieskih oppozicijah v sfere frazeologii.
In Izbrannye naunye raboty, Simferopol: KPR, pp. 45-47.
15.Mccarthy, M.; Carter, R. (1995), Language as Discourse: Perspectives for
Language Teaching, London and New York, Longman [1994].
16.Mcrae, J. (1990), Words on Words: How to Write a Commentaty on a
Passage

of

Literary

Prose,

Napoli,

Loffredo

[1987].

(1996),

"Representational language learning: from language awareness to text

awareness", Language, Literature and the Learner. Creative Classroom


Practice, Ronald Crter and John McRae (eds.), London and New York,
Longman, 16-40.
17.Mcrae, J.; Boardman, R. (1989), Reading Between the Lines: Integrated
Language and Literature Activities, Teacher's Book, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press [1984].
18.Miller, E.N. 1978. Antonimija v leksike i frazeologii (na materiale
nemeckogo i russkogo jazykov), Alma-Ata.
19.Miller, E.N. 1990. Priroda leksieskoi i frazeologieskoi antonimii,
Saratov: Izd. Saratovskogo un.
20.Murphy, M.L. 2006. Antonyms as lexical constructions: or, why
paradigmatic construction is not an oxymoron. In Construction, SV1 (8),
pp. 1-37.
21.New Websters Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language.
USA: Lexico Publications, Inc., 1993. 1,248 p.;
22.Noua revist filologic (NFR), anul II, nr.1-2 (3-4), 2011, p. 9.
23.Practical English Dictionary. London: Holland Enterprises LTD, 2001. P.
141;
24.The New Encyclopedia, Inc. Britanica. Micropaedia. Robert P. Grinn,
Chairman. Chicago, Auckland, Geneva, London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo,
Toronto. Vol. 3;
25.The Oxford Illustrated English Dictionary. Oxford University Press,
2001;
26.The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. New York,
1970;
27.Spears A. Richard. American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, Illinois,
USA: National Textbook Company, 1991. 464 p.
28.Srbu, R. 1982. Modele derivative antonimice. In SCL, an XXXIII, nr.
3, pp. 225-238.
29. .. . : [. . . .]. 3- ., . . .: . .,
1986. 295.
30. .. :
. .:
, 2002. 368.

31. .. . ( . . ) .,
,1970. 343.
Internet resources
32.www.bohemika.com Phraseological combinations and fusions.
33.www.schwabe.ch Phraseological Units.
34.www.corpus.bham.ac.uk the Determination of Phraseological Units.
35.http://www.ranez.ru/article
Literary works
36.Biblia, Patriarhia Romn, 1988.
37.Book of Wisdom. The sin of the people, London, 1809.
38.Fowles John. The Ebony Tower. Little, Brown, 2013 p. 320
39.Maugham W. Somerset. Creatures of Circumstance. Transaction
Publishers, 2011. p. 375
40.Maugham W. Somerset. The Moon and Sixpence. Arc Manor LLC, 2008
p.180
41.Maugham W. Somerset. The Hero. The Floating Press, 2012 . p. 288
42.The Holy Bible Commonly Known as the Authorized (King James)
Version, The Gideons International, 1988.