V Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2013


Забелина О.Н. 1, Федуленкова Т.Н. 1
1Владимирский государственный университет им. А.Г. и Н.Г. Столетовых
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Phraseological life of the word, that is the existence of the word in the PU as a lexeme, has a number of features in comparison with the existence of the same word with a separate lexical meaning out of the frame of the PU. The number of forms typical for components of PUs are less than the number of forms that have the same words outside the PU (see also: [Федуленкова 1991: 120]).

A characteristic feature of verbal PUs is the change of the form of the verbal component or verbal components within the phrases with ordinative structure. Let us analyse the idiom pull smb's leg in terms of morphogenesis. The verb within the structure of the PU is used in the following forms: Present Continuous, Present Perfect Continuous, Past Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect (Passive Voice). Undoubtedly the above forms are the most common. Thus, the verb in the PU is used primarily in several forms, while as an independent word the verb pull may be used in all the forms. The imperative is possible, but is found only in negative terms:

Don't pull my leg. You went to the theatre (A.J. Cronin).

There are some verbal idioms in which the form of the noun does not depend on the number of persons engaged in the action, denoted by this idiom, but it depends on the number of objects which the action denoted by this idiom is directed to:

We used to pull his leg about shadowing people and all that (J.B. Priestley).

Сompare: They have just been pulling our legs very wittily (G.B. Shaw).

The plural form is not completely established sometimes in the idiom, which denotes action performed by several persons, and the PU is also found in the singular. This phenomenon is observed, for example, in the idiom cut off one's nose to spite one's face which means 'to act to the detriment of himself under the influence of anger, of annoyance to do smth spite of himself and others', e.g.:

Many labor leaders rushed to comply with the ob­noxious clause... even if it meant cutting off their noses to spite their faces (Gr. Greene).

I believe that the most deep-rooted of human pas­sions is that which makes men cut off their nose to spite their face... (W.S. Maugham).

In many PUs characterized by a high degree of abstraction [Fedulenkova 2009: 42] from the literal meaning of their components, the lexemes in some way lose their intrinsic properties. Thus, nouns, which are used as separate words in the singular and in the plural, in the range of idioms can be used only in the singular or only in the plural, that is their word forms are fixed in any context.

The examples of verbal PUs, in which nouns are always used only in the singular, regardless of the number of persons engaged in the action, indicated by the idiom, or the number of objects to which this action is directed, include the following phrases:

carry (or keep) a stiff upper lips– tokeep your pecker up;

cook smb's goose – to destroy someone;

cost a pretty penny – to cost a lot of money;

not to have a leg to stand on – to be unfounded, unverified;

shake a leg – 1) to dance; 2) (Amer.) to hurry;

throw up the sponge – to give up, to throw in the towel, e.g.:

Your colleagues are good at keeping a stiff upper lip (C.P. Snow).

"Well," he said with a chuckle, "I think we've cooked their goose" (R. Aldington).

...they certainly had plenty to do and would have to shake a leg the remainder of the night (J. Conroy).

On May 9, 1945, the Germans completely defeated threw up the sponge (W. Foster).

The use of nouns in the plural in these idioms is either impossible, for instance, do one's bits, or it turns PUs into variable phrases, for example, cook smb's geese – to roast someone’s geese.

In many verbal PUs nouns are used only in the plural as the action they denote is produced by not the only person. The examples of such verbal PUs are: be on pins and needles;burn one's fingers;draw in one's horns.

Plural noun is an important component of the literal meaning of the components on the basis of which the phraseological meaning of the idioms could appear. Thus, the word spurs in the PU win one's spurs – "to excel, to achieve fame and recognition" can be only in the plural, since knights were awarded two spurs, not one.

A characteristic feature of the idioms in English, especially those with full or partial shift of meaning in components, including verbal idioms, is presence of a smaller number of word forms as compared to the number of word forms in the variable combinations of words. In this regard, it should be emphasized that many of the components of idioms have a zero paradigm, that is, they are used in a strictly fixed form, or an incomplete paradigm, that is, they are used in two or more tense forms but not in all possible ones.. There are also significant limitations in the choice of affirmative, negative and interrogative forms.

Previously examples of verbal non-comparative PUs with constant and constant-variant component dependencies were provided. In this section, the widespread replacement of alternants in verbal PUs with constant-variant-changeable and constant-changeable component dependencies is considered.

Alternants are the pronouns one, one's, oneself, smb (or smb's) and smth, included in the PUs [Кунин 1972: 169]. Alternants can be replaced by other pronouns, nouns or phrases in accordance with the requirements of the speech situation. The pronoun one is usually replaced by one of the personal pronouns in the objective case, the pronoun one's – by one of the possessive pronouns, oneself – by one of reflexive pronouns, smb – by one of the personal pronouns (in the objective case), the noun or variable phrase, smb's – by one of the possessive pronoun, a noun in the genitive case or variable phrase with a noun in the genitive case, smth – by a noun, a variable phrase or a sentence. Here are a few examples to illustrate the various replacements of alternants:

take one's time: They took their time, never seemed to be in a hurry (K.S. Prichard).

take oneself in hand: Seriously, Shannon, for your own good, I advise you to take yourself in hand (A.J. Cronin).

get smb's goat: That was why he hated Kid Lewis so. He never got the Kid's goat (E. Hemingway).

give smb the cold shoulder: Already they were quite little adepts at giving the bourgeois the cold shoulder (R. Aldington).

The indefinite pronoun smth is often replaced by a noun, noun phrases or less by a subordinate sentence. For example:

knowsmthfromAtoZ(orlikeapalmofone'shand): Неknew his work from A to Z (W.S. Maugham). He knew the parish like the palm of his hand (C.P. Snow).

close (or shut) one's eyes to smth:So long as he could close his eyes to what was going on under his nose he did not seem to mind (K.S. Prichard).

The pronoun one's is used in the case where the act performed by a particular person, is aimed at himself, for example: put one's tail between one's legs – to quail. Replacing the pronoun one's by pronoun smb's in these phrases is impossible (compare, impossibility of such phrase in Russian: "tuck one's tail").

The pronoun one's is also used in the verbal PUs, which represent the action of a certain person, aimed at something, such as: play one's best (or trump) card– to beat for sure.

The pronoun one's can be used in the idioms denoting a state of a particular person or object, such as: be on one's last legs– be close to death, to breathe its last.

The pronoun smb's is used in the case where the act committed by one person is aimed at another person, for example: pull smb's leg – to fool anyone; to fool someone's head.

Smb's is also used when the PU denotes the state of a particular person, depending on the other person, such as: be in smb's hands.

Appropriateness of this distinction, especially from the lexicographic point of view, can be seen in the following example: keepone'snosetothegrindstone – to toiland keep smb's nose to the grindstone – to get someone to toil.

Similar examples are:

cookone's(orone'sown)goose – to destroy themselves; to cut down the branch on which you sit, to dig yourself a pit; cook smb's goose – to destroy someone; stay one's hand – to refrain from anything; stay smb's hand – to prevent anyone from sth.

However, it should be said that in many British and American dictionaries in all these cases the pronoun one's is used.

So, the paradigm of the PU is less numerous as compared the the paradigm of its components in a variable word combination.

Библиографический список

Кунин А.В. Фразеология современного английского языка. – Международные отношения, 1972. – 289 с. Федуленкова Т.Н. Возможности реализа­ции лексико-морфолого-синтаксического потен­циала в фразеологиче­ских единицах // Материалы вторых Сейфул­линских чтений. – Целино­град: Целиноградский гос. пед. ин-т им. С. Сейфул­лина, 1991. – Т. 1. – С. 120-121. Fedulenkova T. Phraseological Abstraction // Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Approaches to Phraseology: ESSE-9, Aarhus, 22-26 August 2008 / T. Fedulenkova (ed.). – Arkhangelsk; Aarhus, 2009. – P. 42-54.
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