Anthroponymical Phraseological Unit English Language Essay

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Until recently, English and American linguistic doctrine didnt recognize phraseology as a bona fide science. Nevertheless, the advent of anthropological, discourse and cognitological paradigms gave impulse to studying nation-marked phraseologisms as culture signs of a given language community, researching their dynamics in the corpora of the English language and interpreting their cognitive nature. Consequently, it is necessary to define the phrasologism as a language unit before proceeding further.

There is no single, conventional definition of a phraseological unit (FU) that is recognized by different linguistic schools. It is possible, however, to deduce most of the key properties characterizing a phraseological unit: it contains multiple words [1; 3; 4; 6; 10; 17], is of stable [1; 3; 4; 6; 10; 12; 17], idiomatic [3; 4; 6] and figurative nature [3; 9; 17], whereas the meaning is not a composition of the constituent expressions [1; 10; 12; 17]. The above-mentioned characteristic lead to conclusion that, to be considered a phraseologism, the group of words should have at least 2 lexemes; be commonly used and referred to; possess a stable lexico-grammatical form; exclude change in the order of the elements; be characterized by a partial or complete reinterpretation of the components and have a figurative platform.

In this article we are dealing specifically with anthroponymical phraseological units as distinctive phraseological corpora of English or any other language. According to B. Serebrennikov, close attention that the 'human' factor in language receives is based on investigation of the philosophical problem of subjective origin in cognition and its manifestation in the language map of the world. [14].

V. Teliya believes that it is a common knowledge that the phraseological corpora of any given language is its most distinctive phenomenon in terms of both system-regulating anomality and also the role of phraseological units in expressing the national identity of the ethnic group speaking the language [16]. Y. Pradid recognizes the following methods of reflecting the national peculiarities: '1) undivided, in complex, by all elements as a whole i.e. by the phraseological meaning; 2) divided i.e. by the word components; 3) by prototypes as genetically free word combinations describe certain customs, cultural traditions and lifestyle trends of any given nation' [13]. We would like to add the inner form as it is a graphic medium between the expression and content plans, synthesizing various aspects of outlook. Therefore, in one way or another, it is connected with material, social and spiritual culture of a given language community and thus can testify to its cultural, national experience and traditions. However, the phraseological units of any given language are characterized by a common feature - they are anthropometric signs as the qualification of the signified fragment of reality, called FU, always corresponds to the human properties. It is a probable reason behind the fact that a large portion of phraseologisms concentrate on characterizing a person; on events related to manifestation of these properties in actions and behavior; on social dispositions of a person; and on mental states and feelings. It is also common for phraseological units to signify the objects calling for distinct identification, persons through their occupation or relationship to other people.

Another argument in favor of the anthropometric 'prism' for perceiving the objective reality is the fact that in the lexicon of any language, according to Y. Karaulov, the section devoted to 'Human' turns out to have been described and studied the best [8].

Various attempts have been made to analyse phraseological units from the point of their etymology, structure (L. Skrypnyk), semantics (B. Azhniuk, A. Koonin), and functions they perform (V. Vinogradov). However, few investigations have been directed at the comprehensive research of phraseological units. At present, there is a tendency in Western linguistic tradition towards an extensive analysis of phraseological unit structure. In this article we will try to outline the main features of the six-dimensional approach to anthroponymical phraseological unit structure analysis in the author's discourse [7].

The object of the research is represented by 507 anthroponymical phraseological units retrieved from lexicographic sources (Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary, Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Idioms, and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English) and 20 anthroponymical phraseologisms documented in literary discourse ("Exodus" by Leon Uris, "A Study in Scarlet" by Arthur Conan Doyle, "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris and "The Ghost" by Robert Harris), the length of the texts under analysis constituted 914720 word usage.

The main hypothesis of the research is that the correlation rate of anthroponymical phraseological units (APUs) and the length of the text are relatively low.

Let's analyse APUs in the discourse. We came across 8 examples of APUs in "Exodus" by Leon Uris (John Bull, poor as Lazarus, appeal to Caesar, like Daniel in the lion's den, David and Goliath, out-Herod Herod, as wise as Solomon, in Abraham's bosom); 3 cases in "A Study in Scarlet" by Arthur Conan Doyle (by Jove, Parthian shot, street Arab); 5 instances were retrieved from "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris (Tweedledum and Tweedledee, John Doe, Jack and Jane, for Christ's sake, plain Jane) and it was 4 APUs recorded in "The Ghost" by Robert Harris (a sword of Damocles, for Christ's sake, Uncle Sam, Big Ben).

We can specify Howarth's six-dimensional phraseological unit analysis for their further detailed description:

the nature of the elements involved in a phraseologism, which presupposes that a phraseologism is a co-occurrence of a form of a lexical item and any other kind of linguistic element;

the number of elements involved in a phraseologism, which presupposes whether a phraseologism can consist of two or more elements;

the number of times an expression must be observed before it counts as a phraseologism (here we will consider an expression a phraseologism if its observed frequency of occurrence is larger than its expected one);

the permissible distance between the elements involved in a phraseologism;

the degree of lexical and syntactical flexibility of the elements involved;

the role that semantic unity and semantic non-compositionality/non-predictability play. [7].

"With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him."

nature of elements: words;

number of elements: two;

frequency of occurrence: the two parts of the expression co-occur more often than expected by chance: of all 7647 sentence units from the authors' discourse nouns Parthian and shot occur in 1 and 3 sentence units respectively; thus one would expect 0,0003 within sentence-unit co-occurrences, but we have actually obtained 1;

distance of elements: the two parts of the phraseological unit under analysis usually co-occur adjacently;

flexibility of the elements: the component father can occur both as appellative and onym, which is not characteristic of Christmas;

semantics: Parthian shot functions as one semantic unity meaning "a final remark, typically a cutting one, made by someone at the moment of departure; so named because of the trick used by Parthians of shooting arrows backwards while in real or pretended flight".

"For Christ's sake, if one of our troops sets foot on this boat or if one round is fired from any of our guns they are going to blow themselves up".

nature of elements: words;

number of elements: two;

frequency of occurrence: in the authors' discourse the element for occurs 16372 times, the proper noun Christ occurs 12 times, whereas the appellative sake occurs 93 times in all forms respectively. Therefore, one should expect 395 co-occurrences, however, in actual fact, one obtains only 11 instances;

distance of elements: all 3 elements occur right next to each other;

flexibility of the elements: the component Christ's can be easily substituted with God's, Heaven's or appellatives;

semantics: the relative combinability and non-stability of its elements allows for the conclusion that this idiom should be more regarded as a collocation rather than a phraseologism.

"Although he moved in the highest circles most of the leaders treated him like a harmless eccentric. "Our mad John Bull," he was called with affection".

nature of elements: words;

number of elements: two;

frequency of occurrence: in the authors' discourse, the length of which constitutes 46194 sentence units the proper noun John and noun Bull occur in 36 and 3 sentences respectively. That provides ground to expect 0.002 within sentence-unit co-occurrences, but we have actually retrieved 1 case;

distance of elements: the elements occur adjacently;

flexibility of elements: the element Bull can change number;

semantics: the two elements function as an indivisible semantic unity meaning "a typical Englishman, especially one who does not like foreigners

In the process of our investigation we can come to a conclusion that the adopted six-dimensional method of phraseological unit analysis enabled us carry out a comperehensive research on distributional, structural, semantic and syntactic features of anthroponymical phraseological units in author's discourse. What the core of the method presupposes is that a phrase can be counted as a phraseologism when its actual discourse co-occurrence exceeds the expected one. According to the statistics given above, such APUs as for Christ's sake, like Daniel in the lion's den, as wise as Solomon, in Abraham's bosom, for Christ's sake, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Jack and Jane are not phraseologisms, taking into consideration the fact that their expected co-occurrence rates are higher than their actual ones. As one may notice, this method of computing the co-occurrence rate is not often valid for the phraseological units containing more than 2 components. However, we can not state that the above-cited phrases are not idioms. It has only been a modest step taken forward and we have to work further in order to make sure the results of the investigation are always valid and reliable.

After having retrieved all the anthroponymical phraseological units from the lexicographic sources available (the total number constitutes 507 units), we expected that the correlation between the above-mentioned number and the author's discourse would be relatively low. In actual fact, this is exactly what it turned out, taking into account the fact that the total number of the units obtained constituted only 20 phraseologisms (the total length of the texts under analysis was 914720 lexical units).

Moreover, the data obtained from the four novels written within a time frame of one century allows for stating the fact that there is a tendency of neglecting phraseologisms in general and anthroponymical ones in particular by the authors, especially in suspense and thriller genres.

As to the analysis of anthroponymical phraseologisms' discoursive features, we have made a modest attempt to study their structural, semantic, distributional and pragmatic features with the help of six-dimensional method of phraseological unit analysis [7]. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for the researchers to mathematically determine whether the phrase in question can be counted as a phraseologism or not.

We expected that the above-mentioned method would be valid for all the anthroponymical phraseological units under investigation. However, what we found out is that it could only be reliable for the phraseologisms having two components in their structure. Given the statistics, such anthroponymical phraseological units as like Daniel in the lion's den, as wise as Solomon, in Abraham's bosom, for Christ's sake, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Jack and Jane are not phraseologisms, because their expected co-occurrence rates are higher than their actual ones. In fact, we cannot state that our data are 100% reliable, as we only managed to yield approximate calculations.

In the view of possibly conducting similar research in the future, we have to facilitate our quantitative methods of analysis in order to make the data obtained count as valid. This can be achieved with improving the existing methods, both quantitative and qualitative, or adopting some new ones. In addition, the range of the discourse sources to be analyzed must be broader and the length should be greater. At this juncture, more reliable data will be obtained, which, in its turn, will allow for valid outcomes of the future research.