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Fixed Expressions - Essay Example

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Summary
English language has a millennial history. During this time it has accumulated a plenty of expressions, which people have considered to be successful, neat and proper. Thus a special layer of language has come into existence - a set of fixed expressions having an independent meaning.
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Fixed Expressions

Download file to see previous pages... Rosamund Moon claims that "fixed expressions, especially highly colorful and metaphorical idioms and proverbs, are comparatively infrequent. They appear to be more frequent in spoken text than written; although to date there are few extensive studies of their actual distribution". Strassler assesses the "frequency of idioms, excluding phrasal verbs, in spoken discourse as around one per 4.5 minutes of conversation. A survey of 240 English proverbs finds that there are around 33 instances of proverbs per million words of OHPC"1.
As a matter of fact the use of fixed expressions, which are not translated literally, but are perceived after comprehension, amplifies the aesthetic aspect of language. By means of idioms the information aspect of language is supplemented with a sensual-intuitive description of our world, our life.
In order to make a clear analysis of any phenomenon it is very important first to consider its terminology. While Moon is using fixed expressions and idioms (FEIs) as a general term, there are others in use, in addition to broader uses of idiom. "Phraseological unit is used in some Slavonic and German linguistic traditions as a superordinate term for multi-word lexical items: see, for example, Glser (1984: 348). Similarly phraseme is sometimes used as a superordinate term outside Anglo-American traditions, for example Mel'cuk (1995). There are, however, other uses for both terms. For example, Vinogradov and Tschernischova restrict phraseological unit to more metaphorical items, and Amosova (1963) uses phraseme for multi-word items which are not pure idioms: see Klappenbach (1968: passini). Phraseological unit and phraseme can be identified with Lyons's phrasal lexeme (1977: 23)"2.

Classifications of fixed expressions and idioms
Rosamund Moon's classification
Now let us consider different types of classifications of fixed expressions and idioms. Moon limits classification of forms of fixed expressions to simple categories such as:
Metaphors: semantically marked (non-compositional). There are three types of metaphors:
1. Opaque metaphors (for example: bite the bullet, kick the bucket);
2. Transparent metaphors (for example: behind someone's back, pack one's bags);
3. Semi-transparent metaphors (for example: on an even keel, pecking order)3.
Formulae, which are pragmatically marked. Moon considers three different types of formulae4:
1. Similes (as good as gold);
2. Simple formulae/sayings: compositional strings with a special discourse function (alive and well, a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse);
3. Metaphorical/literal proverbs: (you can't have your cake and eat it, enough is enough).
Anomalous collocations, collocations that are lexico-grammatically marked, grammatically ill-formed, or restricted, or contain a word or use of a word that is unique to the combination5. Within anomalous collocations Moon distinguishes four types:
1. Phraseological collocations: semi-productive constructions, occurring in paradigms (in/into/out of action, on show/display);
2. Cranberry collocations: idiosyncratic lexical component - one or more words found only in that collocation (in retrospect, kith and kin);
3. Defective collocations: idiosyncratic meaning component (in effect, foot the bill);
4. Ill-formed collocations: (at all, by and large).
Collocations: "compositional word co-occurrence of markedly high frequency6. There are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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