The word-group theory in Modern English

Definition and general characteristics of the word-group. Study of classification and semantic properties of the data units of speech. Characteristics of motivated and unmotivated word-groups; as well as the characteristics of idiomatic phrases.

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The word-group theory in Modern English


  • Introduction
  • 1. Definition and general characteristics of the word-group
  • 2. Classification of word-groups
  • 3. Semantic features of word-groups
  • 4. Motivated and non-motivated word-groups
  • 5. Phraseological word-groups
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Introduction
  • Lexicology is a branch of linguistics - the science of language. Lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims and methods of scientific research. Its basic task - being a study and systematic description of vocabulary in respect to its origin, development and its current use. Lexicology is concerned with words, variable word-groups, phraseological units and morphemes which make up words.
  • Being the object of the linguistic research within the frameworks of the lexicological analysis, word-groups draw much attention of different scientists at different stages of the research history.
  • Such linguists as Shveitser, Arnold, Nikitin, Akhmanova, Marchenko, and many others devoted their research papers to the matter of the word-groups, their classification, semantic features, and other specific characteristics. They have contributed linguistic research with a number of works, connected with this lexical units. The matter of the word-group thorough study is topical with a glance at their specific features, some phraseological peculiarities and semantic-grammatical structure.
  • The above-mentioned aspects have predetermined our choice of the topic of the present report "The word-group theory in Modern English".
  • The object of the investigation are word-groups of Modern English.
  • The subject of the present report includes specific features and characteristics of word-groups.
  • The purpose of the report writing is to investigate word-groups functioning in the Modern English language.
  • The purporse of the report has predetermined the following tasks of the investigation:
  • - to define the notion of the word-group and outline its general characteristics;
  • - to suggest the classification of the word-group;
  • - to consider semantic features of word-groups;
  • - to characterize motivated and non-motivated word-groups;
  • - to specify peculiar features of phraseological word-groups.
  • The practical value of the present report is performed by the possibility of using its materials for the further thorough study of this matter.
  • 1. Definition and general characteristics of the word-group
  • A word group is the simplest nonpredicative (as contrasted to the sentence) unit of speech. The word group is formed on a syntactic pattern and based on a subordinating grammatical relationship between two or more content words. This relationship may be one of agreement, government, or subordination. The grammatically predominant word is the main element of the word group, and the grammatically subordinated word the dependent element.
  • A word group denotes a fragment of extralinguistic reality. The word group combines formally syntactic and semantically syntactic features. Such features reveal the compatibility of grammatical and lexical meanings with the structure of the object-logical relations that these meanings reflect.
  • Word groups may be free or phraseological. Free word groups are formed in accordance with regular and productive combinative principles; their meanings may be deduced from those of the component words.
  • There are a lot of definitions concerning the word-group. The most adequate one seems to be the following: the word-group is a combination of at least two notional words which do not constitute the sentence but are syntactically connected. According to some other scholars (the majority of Western scholars and professors B.Ilyish and V.Burlakova - in Russia), a combination of a notional word with a function word (on the table) may be treated as a word-group as well. The problem is disputable as the role of function words is to show some abstract relations and they are devoid of nominative power. On the other hand, such combinations are syntactically bound and they should belong somewhere.
  • General characteristics of the word-group are:
  • 1) As a naming unit it differs from a compound word because the number of constituents in a word-group corresponds to the number of different denotates: a black bird - чорний птах (2), a blackbird - дрізд (1);
  • a loud speaker (2), a loudspeaker (1).
  • 2) Each component of the word-group can undergo grammatical changes without destroying the identity of the whole unit: to see a house - to see houses.

3) A word-group is a dependent syntactic unit, it is not a communicative unit and has no intonation of its own [4; p. 28].

2. Classification of word-groups

Word-groups can be classified on the basis of several principles:

According to the type of syntagmatic relations: coordinate (you and me), subordinate (to see a house, a nice dress), predicative (him coming, for him to come),

According to the structure: simple (all elements are obligatory), expanded (to read and translate the text - expanded elements are equal in rank), extended (a word takes a dependent element and this dependent element becomes the head for another word: a beautiful flower - a very beautiful flower).

1) Subordinate word-groups.

Subordinate word-groups are based on the relations of dependence between the constituents. This presupposes the existence of a governing

Element which is called the head and the dependent element which is called the adjunct (in noun-phrases) or the complement (in verb-phrases).

According to the nature of their heads, subordinate word-groups fall into noun-phrases (NP) - a cup of tea, verb-phrases (VP) - to run fast, to see a house, adjective phrases (AP) - good for you, adverbial phrases (DP) - so quickly, pronoun phrases (IP) - something strange, nothing to do.

The formation of the subordinate word-group depends on the valency of its constituents. Valency is a potential ability of words to combine. Actual realization of valency in speech is called combinability [6; p. 162-163].

2) The noun-phrase (NP).

Noun word-groups are widely spread in English. This may be explained by a potential ability of the noun to go into combinations with practically all parts of speech. The NP consists of a noun-head and an adjunct or adjuncts with relations of modification between them. Three types of modification are distinguished here:

Premodification that comprises all the units placed before the head: two smart hard-working students. Adjuncts used in pre-head position are called pre-posed adjuncts.

Postmodification that comprises all the units all the units placed after the head: students from Boston. Adjuncts used in post-head position are called post-posed adjuncts.

Mixed modification that comprises all the units in both pre-head and post-head position: two smart hard-working students from Boston.

3) Noun-phrases with pre-posed adjuncts.

In noun-phrases with pre-posed modifiers we generally find adjectives, pronouns, numerals, participles, gerunds, nouns, nouns in the genitive case (see the table) [8; p. 43]. According to their position all pre-posed adjuncts may be divided into pre-adjectivals and adjectiavals. The position of adjectivals is usually right before the noun-head. Pre-adjectivals occupy the position before adjectivals. They fall into two groups: a) limiters (to this group belong mostly particles): just, only, even, etc. and b) determiners (articles, possessive pronouns, quantifiers - the first, the last).

Premodification of nouns by nouns (N+N) is one of the most striking features about the grammatical organization of English. It is one of devices to make our speech both laconic and expressive at the same time. Noun-adjunct groups result from different kinds of transformational shifts. NPs with pre-posed adjuncts can signal a striking variety of meanings:

world peace - peace all over the world

silver box - a box made of silver

table lamp - lamp for tables

table legs - the legs of the table

river sand - sand from the river

school child - a child who goes to school

The grammatical relations observed in NPs with pre-posed adjuncts may convey the following meanings:

subject-predicate relations: weather change;

object relations: health service, women hater;

adverbial relations: a) of time: morning star,

b) place: world peace, country house,

c) comparison: button eyes,

d) purpose: tooth brush.

It is important to remember that the noun-adjunct is usually marked by a stronger stress than the head.

Of special interest is a kind of `grammatical idiom' where the modifier is reinterpreted into the head: a devil of a man, an angel of a girl.

4) Noun-phrases with post-posed adjuncts.

NPs with post-posed may be classified according to the way of connection into prepositionless and prepositional. The basic prepositionless NPs with post-posed adjuncts are: Nadj. - tea strong, NVen - the shape unknown, NVing - the girl smiling, ND - the man downstairs, NVinf - a book to read, NNum - room ten.

The pattern of basic prepositional NPs is N1 prep. N2. The most common preposition here is `of' - a cup of tea, a man of courage. It may have quite different meanings: qualitative - a woman of sense, predicative - the pleasure of the company, objective - the reading of the newspaper, partitive - the roof of the house.

5) The verb-phrase.

The VP is a definite kind of the subordinate phrase with the verb as the head. The verb is considered to be the semantic and structural centre not only of the VP but of the whole sentence as the verb plays an important role in making up primary predication that serves the basis for the sentence. VPs are more complex than NPs as there are a lot of ways in which verbs may be combined in actual usage. Valent properties of different verbs and their semantics make it possible to divide all the verbs into several groups depending on the nature of their complements [7; p. 91].

Classification of verb-phrases.

VPs can be classified according to the nature of their complements - verb complements may be nominal (to see a house) and adverbial (to behave well). Consequently, we distinguish nominal, adverbial and mixed complementation.

Nominal complementation takes place when one or more nominal complements (nouns or pronouns) are obligatory for the realization of potential valency of the verb: to give smth. to smb., to phone smb., to hear smth.(smb.), etc.

Adverbial complementation occurs when the verb takes one or more adverbial elements obligatory for the realization of its potential valency: He behaved well, I live …in Kyiv (here).

Mixed complementation - both nominal and adverbial elements are obligatory: He put his hat on he table (nominal-adverbial).

According to the structure VPs may be basic or simple (to take a book) - all elements are obligatory; expanded (to read and translate the text, to read books and newspapers) and extended (to read an English book).

6) Predicative word-groups.

Predicative word combinations are distinguished on the basis of secondary predication. Like sentences, predicative word-groups are binary in their structure but actually differ essentially in their organization. The sentence is an independent communicative unit based on primary predication while the predicative word-group is a dependent syntactic unit that makes up a part of the sentence. The predicative word-group consists of a nominal element (noun, pronoun) and a non-finite form of the verb: N + Vnon-fin. There are Gerundial, Infinitive and Participial word-groups (complexes) in the English language: his reading, for me to know, the boy running, etc.)

3. Semantic features of word-groups

A word-group is the largest two-facet lexical unit comprising more than one word but expressing one global concept.

The lexical meaning of the word groups is the combined lexical meaning of the component words. The meaning of the word groups is motivated by the meanings of the component members and is supported by the structural pattern. But it's not a mere sum total of all these meanings! Polysemantic words are used in word groups only in 1 of their meanings. These meanings of the component words in such word groups are mutually interdependent and inseparable (blind man - "a human being unable to see", blind type - "the copy isn't readable).

Word groups possess not only the lexical meaning, but also the meaning conveyed mainly by the pattern of arrangement of their constituents. The structural pattern of word groups is the carrier of a certain semantic component not necessarily dependent on the actual lexical meaning of its members (school grammar - "grammar which is taught in school", grammar school - "a type of school"). We have to distinguish between the structural meaning of a given type of word groups as such and the lexical meaning of its constituents [11; p. 62-64].

It is often argued that the meaning of word groups is also dependent on some extra-linguistic factors - on the situation in which word groups are habitually used by native speakers.

Words put together to form lexical units make phrases or word-groups. One must recall that lexicology deals with words, word-forming morphemes and word-groups.

The degree of structural and semantic cohesion of word-groups may vary. Some word-groups, e.g. at least, point of view, by means, to take place, etc. seem to be functionally and semantically inseparable. They are usually described as set phrases, word-equivalents or phraseological units and are studied by the branch of lexicology which is known as phraseology. In other word-groups such as to take lessons, kind to people, a week ago, the component-members seem to possess greater semantic and structural independence. Word-groups of this type are defined as free word-groups or phrases and are studied in syntax.

Before discussing phraseology it is necessary to outline the features common to various word-groups irrespective of the degree of structural and semantic cohesion of the component-words [18; p. 231].

There are two factors which are important in uniting words into word-groups:

- the lexical valency of words;

- the grammatical valency of words.

Let's consider the matter of the lexical valency of word-groups.

Words are used in certain lexical contexts, i.e. in combinations with other words. E.g. the noun question is often combined with such adjectives as vital, pressing, urgent, delicate, etc.

The aptness of a word to appear in various combinations is described as its lexical valency. The range of the lexical valency of words is delimited by the inner structure of the English words. Thus, to raise and to lift are synonyms, but only the former is collocated with the noun question. The verbs to take, to catch, to seize, to grasp are synonyms, but they are found in different collocations:

to take - exams, measures, precautions, etc.;

to grasp - the truth, the meaning.

Words habitually collocated in speech tend to form a cliche.

The lexical valency of correlated words in different languages is not identical, because as it was said before, it depends on the inner structure of the vocabulary of the language. Both the English flower and the Russian цветок may be combined with a number of similar words, e.g. garden flowers, hot house flowers (cf. the Russian - садовые цветы, оранжерейные цветы), but in English flower cannot be combined with the word room, while in Russian we say комнатные цветы (in English we say pot-flowers).

Words are also used in grammatical contexts. The minimal grammatical context in which the words are used to form word-groups is usually described as the pattern of the word-group. E.g., the adjective heavy can be followed by a noun (A+N) - heavy food, heavy storm, heavy box, heavy eater. But we cannot say "heavy cheese" or "heavy to lift, to carry", etc.

The aptness of a word to appear in specific grammatical (or rather syntactical) structures is termed grammatical valency.

The grammatical valency of words may be different. The grammatical valency is delimited by the part of speech the word belongs to. E.g., no English adjective can be followed by the finite form of a verb.

Then, the grammatical valency is also delimited by the inner structure of the language. E.g., to suggest, to propose are synonyms. Both can be followed by a noun, but only to propose can be followed by the infinitive of a verb - to propose to do something.

Clever and intelligent have the same grammatical valency, but only clever can be used in word-groups having the pattern A+prep+N - clever at maths.

Structurally word-groups can be considered in different ways. Word-groups may be described as for the order and arrangement of the component-members. E.g., the word-group to read a book can be classified as a verbal-nominal group, to look at smb. - as a verbal-prepositional-nominal group, etc.

By the criterion of distribution all word-groups may be divided into two big classes: according to their head-words and according to their syntactical patterns.

Word-groups may be classified according to their head-words into:

nominal groups - red flower;

adjective groups - kind to people;

verbal groups - to speak well.

The head is not necessarily the component that occurs first.

Word-groups are classified according to their syntactical pattern into predicative and non-predicative groups. Such word-groups as he went, Bob walks that have a syntactic structure similar to that of a sentence are termed as predicative, all others are non-predicative ones [17; p. 94].

Non-predicative word-groups are divided into subordinative and coordinative depending on the type of syntactic relations between the components. E.g., a red flower, a man of freedom are subordinative non-predicative word-groups, red and freedom being dependent words, while day and night, do and die are coordinative non-predicative word-groups.

The lexical meaning of a word-group may be defined as the combined lexical meaning of the component members. But it should be pointed out, however, that the term "combined lexical meaning" does not imply that the meaning of the word-group is always a simple additive result of all the lexical meanings of the component words [12; p. 201]. As a rule, the meanings of the component words are mutually dependent and the meaning of the word-group naturally predominates over the lexical meaning of the components. The interdependence is well seen in word-groups made up of polysemantic words. E.g., in the phrases the blind man, the blind type the word blind has different meanings - unable to see and vague.

So we see that polysemantic words are used in word-groups only in one of their meanings.

4. Motivated and non-motivated word-groups

word group semantic motivated

The term motivation is used to denote the relationship existing between the phonemic or morphemic composition and structural pattern of the word on the one hand and its meaning on the other.

There are three main types of motivation:

1) phonetical

2) morphological

3) semantic

1. Phonetical motivation is used when there is a certain similarity between the sounds that make up the word. For example: buzz, cuckoo, gigle. The sounds of a word are imitative of sounds in nature, or smth that produces a characteristic sound. This type of motivation is determined by the phonological system of each language.

2. Morphological motivation - the relationship between morphemic structure and meaning. The main criterion in morphological motivation is the relationship between morphemes. One-morphemed words are non-motivated. Ex - means "former" when we talk about humans ex-wife, ex-president. Re - means "again": rebuild, rewrite. In borrowed words motivation is faded: "expect, export, recover (get better)". Morphological motivation is especially obvious in newly coined words, or in the words created in this century. In older words motivation is established etymologically.

The structure-pattern of the word is very important too: "finger-ring" and "ring-finger". Though combined lexical meaning is the same. The difference of meaning can be explained by the arrangement of the components.

Morphological motivation has some irregularities: "smoker" - si not "the one who smokes", it is "a railway car in which passenger may smoke".

The degree of motivation can be different:

"endless" is completely motivated

"cranberry" is partially motivated: morpheme "cran-" has no lexical meaning.

3. Semantic motivation is based on the co-existence of direct and figurative meanings of the same word within the same synchronous system. "Mouth" denotes a part of the human face and at the same time it can be applied to any opening: "the mouth of a river". "Ermine" is not only the anme of a small animal, but also a fur. In their direct meaning "mouth" and "ermine" are not motivated [13; p. 86].

In compound words it is morphological motivation when the meaning of the whole word is based on direct meanings of its components and semantic motivation is when combination of components is used figuratively. For example "headache" is "pain in the head" (morphological) and "smth. annoying" (sematic).

When the connection between the meaning of the word and its form is conventional (there is no perceptible reason for the word having this phonemic and morphemic composition) the word is non-motivated (for the present state of language development). Words that seem non-motivated now may have lost their motivation: "earn" is derived from "earnian - to harvest", but now this word is non-motivated.

As to compounds, their motivation is morphological if the meaning of the whole is based on the direct meaning of the components, and semantic if the combination is used figuratively: watchdog - a dog kept for watching property (morphologically motivated); - a watchful human guardian (semantically motivated) [5; p. 94-95].

Every vocabulary is in a state of constant development. Words that seem non-motivated at present may have lost their motivation [16; p. 34]. When some people recognize the motivation, whereas others do not, motivation is said to be faded.

Semantically all word-groups may be classified into motivated and non-motivated. Non-motivated word-groups are usually described as phraseological units or idioms.

Word-groups may be described as lexically motivated if the combined lexical meaning of the groups is based on the meaning of their components. Thus take lessons is motivated; take place - `occur' is lexically non-motivated.

Word-groups are said to be structurally motivated if the meaning of the pattern is deduced from the order and arrangement of the member-words of the group. Red flower is motivated as the meaning of the pattern quality - substance can be deduced from the order and arrangement of the words red and flower, whereas the seemingly identical pattern red tape (`official bureaucratic methods') cannot be interpreted as quality - substance.

Seemingly identical word-groups are sometimes found to be motivated or non-motivated depending on their semantic interpretation. Thus apple sauce, e.g., is lexically and structurally motivated when it means `a sauce made of apples' but when used to denote `nonsense' it is clearly non-motivated [15; p. 90].

Word-groups like words may be also analyzed from the point of view of their motivation. Word-groups may be called as lexically motivated if the combined lexical meaning of the group is deducible from the meaning of the components. All free phrases are completely motivated.

It follows from the above discussion that word-groups may be also classified into motivated and non-motivated units. Non-motivated word-groups are habitually described as phraseological units or idioms.

5. Phraseological word-groups

Investigations of English phraseology began not long ago. English and American linguists as a rule are busy collecting different words, word-groups and sentences which are interesting from the point of view of their origin, style, usage or some other features. All these units are habitually described as "idioms", but no attempt has been made to describe these idioms as a separate class of linguistic units or a specific class of word-groups.

Difference in terminology ("set-phrases", "idioms" and "word-equivalents") reflects certain differences in the main criteria used to distinguish types of phraseological units and free word-groups. The term "set phrase" implies that the basic criterion of differentiation is stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure of word-groups.

There is a certain divergence of opinion as to the essential features of phraseological units as distinguished from other word-groups and the nature of phrases that can be properly termed "phraseological units". The habitual terms "set-phrases", "idioms", "word-equivalents" are sometimes treated differently by different linguists. However these terms reflect to certain extend the main debatable points of phraseology which centre in the divergent views concerning the nature and essential features of phraseological units as distinguished from the so-called free word-groups.

The term "set expression" implies that the basic criterion of differentiation is stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure of word-groups.

The term "word-equivalent" stresses not only semantic but also functional inseparability of certain word-groups, their aptness to function in speech as single words [10; p. 31].

The term "idioms" generally implies that the essential feature of the linguistic units under consideration is idiomaticity or lack of motivation. Uriel Weinreich expresses his view that an idiom is a complex phrase, the meaning of which cannot be derived from the meanings of its elements. He developed a more truthful supposition, claiming that an idiom is a subset of a phraseological unit. Ray Jackendoff and Charles Fillmore offered a fairly broad definition of the idiom, which, in Fillmore's words, reads as follows: "…an idiomatic expression or construction is something a language user could fail to know while knowing everything else in the language". Chafe also lists four features of idioms that make them anomalies in the traditional language unit paradigm: non-compositionality, transformational defectiveness, ungrammaticality and frequency asymmetry.

Great work in this field has been done by the outstanding Russian linguist A. Shakhmatov in his work "Syntax". This work was continued by Acad. V.V. Vinogradov. Great investigations of English phraseology were done by Prof. A. Cunin, I. Arnold and others [1; p. 121].

Phraseological units are habitually defined as non-motivated word-groups that cannot be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready-made units; the other essential feature of phraseological units is stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure.

Unlike components of free word-groups which may vary according to the needs of communication, member-words of phraseological units are always reproduced as single unchangeable collocations. E.g., in a red flower (a free phrase) the adjective red may be substituted by another adjective denoting colour, and the word-group will retain the meaning: "the flower of a certain colour" [2; p. 54].

In the phraseological unit red tape (bьrokratik metodlar) no such substitution is possible, as a change of the adjective would cause a complete change in the meaning of the group: it would then mean "tape of a certain colour". It follows that the phraseological unit red tape is semantically non-motivated, i.e. its meaning cannot be deduced from the meaning of its compo­nents, and that it exists as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow any change of its lexical components and its grammatical structure [9; p. 45-46].

Grammatical structure of phraseological units is to a certain degree also stable:

red tape - a phraseological unit;

red tapes - a free word-group;

to go to bed - a phraseological unit;

to go to the bed - a free word-group.

Primary ways of forming phraseological units are those when a unit is formed on the basis of a free word-group :

a) The most productive in Modern English is the formation of phraseological units by means of transferring the meaning of terminological word-groups, e.g. in cosmic technique we can point out the following phrases: "launching pad" in its terminological meaning is "стартова площадка", in its transferred meaning - "відправний пункт", "to link up" - "cтикуватися, стикувати космічні човни" in its tranformed meaning it means -"знайомитися";

b) a large group of phraseological units was formed from free word groups by transforming their meaning, e.g. "granny farm" - "пансионат для старих людей", "Troyan horse" - "компьютерна програма, яка навмиснестворена для пвиведення з ладу компьютера";

c) phraseological units can be formed by means of alliteration, e.g. "a sad sack" - "нещасний випадок", "culture vulture" - "людина, яка цікавиться мистецтвом", "fudge and nudge" - "ухильність".

d) they can be formed by means of expressiveness, especially it is characteristic for forming interjections, e.g. "My aunt!", "Hear, hear !" etc

e) they can be formed by means of distorting a word group, e.g. "odds and ends" was formed from "odd ends",

f) they can be formed by using archaisms, e.g. "in brown study" means "in gloomy meditation" where both components preserve their archaic meanings,

g) they can be formed by using a sentence in a different sphere of life, e.g. "that cock won't fight" can be used as a free word-group when it is used in sports (cock fighting ), it becomes a phraseological unit when it is used in everyday life, because it is used metaphorically,

h) they can be formed when we use some unreal image, e.g. "to have butterflies in the stomach" - "відчувати хвилювання", "to have green fingers" - "досягати успіхів як садовод-любитель" etc.

i) they can be formed by using expressions of writers or polititions in everyday life, e.g. "corridors of power" (Snow), "American dream" (Alby) "locust years" (Churchil) , "the winds of change" (Mc Millan).

Taking into consideration mainly the degree of idiomaticity phraseological units may be classified into three big groups. This classification was first suggested by Acad. V.V. Vinogradov. These groups are:

- phraseological fusions,

- phraseological unities,

- phraseological collocations, or habitual collocations.

Phraseological fusions are completely non-motivated word-groups. Themeaning of the components has no connection at least synchronically with the meaning of the whole group. Idiomaticity is combined with complete stability of the lexical components and the grammatical structure of the fusion [19; p. 37].

Phraseological unities are partially non-motivated word-groups as their meaning can usually be understood through (deduced from) the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological unit [3; p. 84].

Phraseological unities are usually marked by a comparatively high degree of stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure. Phraseological unities can have homonymous free phrases, used in direct meanings.

§ to skate on thin ice - to skate on thin ice (to risk);

§ to wash one's hands off dirt - to wash one's hands off (to withdraw from participance);

§ to play the first role in the theatre - to play the first role (to dominate).

There must be not less than two notional wordsin metaphorical meanings.

Phraseological collocations are partially motivated but they are made up of words having special lexical valency which is marked by a certain degree of stability in such word-groups. In phraseological collocations variability of components is strictly limited. They differ from phraseological unities by the fact that one of the components in them is used in its direct meaning, the other - in indirect meaning, and the meaning of the whole group dominates over the meaning of its components. As figurativeness is expressed only in one component of the phrase it is hardly felt [14; p. 69].

§ to pay a visit, tribute, attention, respect;

§ to break a promise, a rule, news, silence;

Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech, they exist in the language as ready-made units. They are compiled in special dictionaries. The same as words phraseological units express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it.


In the course of the present report writing we have specified the definition of the word-group and determined its general characteristics. Specific attention has been drawn to the classification of word-groups. We have thoroughly analyzed semantic features of word-groups, their motivated and non-motivated types and their specific subtype, i.e. phraseological word-groups.

Having completed the report writing, we have come to the following conclusions.

The word-group is a combination of at least two notional words which do not constitute the sentence but are syntactically connected.

We have concluded that according to the type of syntagmatic relations, word-groups can be coordinate, subordinate and predicative, according to the structure they are divided into simple, expanded and extended.

The lexical meaning of the word groups is the combined lexical meaning of the component words. The meaning of the word groups is motivated by the meanings of the component members and is supported by the structural pattern.

The term motivation is used to denote the relationship existing between the phonemic or morphemic composition and structural pattern of the word on the one hand and its meaning on the other.

We have come to the conclusion, that here are three main types of motivation: 1) phonetical; 2) morphological; 3) semantic.

We have concluded, phraseological units are created from free word-groups. But in the course of time some words - constituents of phraseological units may drop out of the language; the situation in which the phraseological unit was formed can be forgotten, motivation can be lost and these phrases become phraseological fusions.


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