Problems Of Translation Of Phraseological Expressions In The Russian And Yakut Languages


The translation of phraseological units from one language into another one is a difficult task due to semantic richness, emotionality, expressiveness, rethinking and figurativeness. When translating phraseological units, it is necessary to convey their meaning and reflect their figurativeness, finding a similar expression in target language, while preserving the transitivity of meaning, the expressiveness of phraseological unit, its stability. The translation of phraseological units is considered as a complex language process that requires careful study and a special approach. The purpose of the article is to describe results of a comparative typological analysis of insufficiently studied phraseological expressions and their translation. The main material is presented with the help of the inductive-deductive method of research, when theoretical provisions of the article, based on fundamental research works, present more particular research results - a comparative analysis of phraseological expressions of the Russian and Yakut languages. It is necessary to note that at the present time there are no educational-methodical complexes on translation taking into account regional peculiarities. The choice of phraseological material is based on the method of continuous sampling of works of belles-lettres of the Russian and Yakut languages (contextual method of studying phraseological units). Peculiarities of the translation of phraseological expressions, proverbs of author, and phraseological units of proverbial origin from the Yakut language into Russian and from Russian into the Yakut language are given on the basis of rich illustrative material. Special attention is paid to the analysis of words with cultural identity and their translation.

Keywords: Phraseological units and expressionsset expressionthe translation of phraseological expressionsoccasional proverbscomparative aspect


In modern linguistics, a special phraseological system is a necessary component of vocabulary. In the twentieth century, the study of phraseology as a special system has progressed significantly, and directions in various theoretical aspects have occurred. It is necessary to note that comparative studies of phraseological units of multi-structural languages ​​require new approaches. In the phraseological system the peculiarities of psychological set of a particular people, especially the mentality and figurative thinking, as well as the peculiarity of life and character of people are reflected. The criteria for the determination of phraseological units include stability, integrity of meaning, not deduced from the sum of the meanings ​​that make up the words, separate formation, the possibilities of structural variants or neologisms, repeatability and equivalence to a word or a concept. The translation is associated with deep discrepancies in the very way of designating the same content inherent in these languages.

Problem Statement

The article presents the results of a comparative-typological analysis of insufficiently studied phraseological expressions as a special type of phraseological units and their translation. Occasional (individual authored) phraseological units, proverbs and sayings received special study.

Research Questions

A comparative study of the Yakut language phraseology began relatively recently, in the 20th century, and it is connected with the study of its philological nature: acquaintance with the culture of the Sakha people through the study of linguistic units with national and cultural semantics. Novikova (2012) notes: “In phraseological units, the national identity of a language gets the most vivid and immediate manifestation, since it is correlated directly with extra-linguistic reality” (p. 18). The identification of national and cultural peculiarities of phraseological units of one language is carried out only in comparison with the same phraseological unit of another language, and the identification of common features of the compared languages ​​contributes to the rapid understanding of the semantics of a phraseological unit. The Yakut language, like any other language, has a rich deposit of idiomatic and phraseological units. The present research can be viewed as a comparative study of the phraseological units of two unrelated languages, the Russian and the Yakut languages, already reflected in some of the works of Yakut linguistic scholars. The linguistic background was presented by research in the field of folklore and vocabulary of the Yakut language (modern and historical lexicology); phraseological material was gradually collected.

The translation problems of phraseological units, including paroemiological expressions, are also developed by English and American paremiologists, such as Mieder (1992). The analysis of idiomatic constructions, the concepts of proverbs and sayings, reality words and their translation into another language is devoted to the works of such foreign researchers as McLay (1987), Peaty (1983), Smith (1990), Stone (2006).

Particular phraseological units are mentioned in the Yakut-German Dictionary by Betlingk (1981); recorded in the “Dictionary of the Yakut language” by Pekarsky (1959). Phraseological units of proverbial origin are presented in the collection of “Yakut Proverbs and Sayings” by Kulakovsky (1925). A systematic study of phraseology is presented in the “Phraseological Dictionary of the Yakut Language” by Grigorev (1974) (“Саха тылын сомоҕо домоҕун тылдьыта”), the problems of semantics, stylistic functions and problems of scientific analysis of phraseology are revealed in the work of the founder, the first dictionary contain 3000 phraseological units.

. Special role in the study of phraseology in the comparative context and teaching Russian-Yakut phraseology in schools and universities as well as the translation of phraseological units is reflected in the works of Dmitrieva (1984, 2012, 2013;), Borisova (2006), Makarova (2017), Makarova, Nikiforova, Borisova, and Gorokhova (2018).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the article is to identify the problematic issues of the comparison of the phraseology of genetically unrelated languages. Firstly, the comparison of the figurative basis of phraseology, their national specificity; secondly, the preservation of a certain national color of phraseological units in translation; thirdly, the definition of the national color of phraseological units associated with the national mundane, historical, social, and psychological characteristics of peoples; fourthly, the distinction between popular, authored or borrowed phraseological units, of metaphorical and proverbial nature.

Research Methods

During the course of the research the inductive-deductive method was used. The theoretical provisions of the article are based on fundamental works on the topic under study. The comparative analysis of the phraseological expressions of the Russian and Yakut languages was carried out. The choice of phraseological material is made by continuous sampling of belles-lettres works of the Russian and Yakut languages the contextological method of the study of phraseological units. This method achieves objectivity in the consideration of studied phenomena; moreover it takes into account the specificity of the studied language and analyzes contextual interactions of words in their combinations. The determination of a phraseological unit as a special linguistic category, the assignment of phraseological expressions, authored proverbs and sayings to similar linguistic phenomena, as well as the approach to comparative study of phraseological expressions as a system and the study of their real variations were carried out by the implementation of variation method of studying phraseological units proposed by Arkhangelskii (1964).

The distinction between stable and unstable combinations based on the signs of repeatability and usage, as well as the allocation of phraseological expressions, authored proverbs and sayings were achieved by a complicated method developed by Gavrin (1974). According to his opinion, “functional-semantic complicativeness is also characteristic of words, individual authored constructions, variable and variable-stable combinations,” that is, the study of complementarity should include phraseology, proverbs and sayings (Gavrin, 1974, p. 131).


It is known that the national picture of the world is revealed in the uniformity of the behavior of people, in stereotypical situations of communication, in its general ideas about reality, in statements and common values, in evaluation of words, in phraseology. The Yakut language speakers often use phraseological words with the word ‘snow’, whose figurative basis is specific and different from Russian: хаар баттаан (literally ‘snow throwing’), for a translator it is necessary to understand that because of frosty years of life many winters have passed, many years have added. Хаарга үктэммитэ эрэ кырдьык (‘the true only is that he stepped on the snow’) is about a deceitful person. Хаарга хаамта, сииккэ сиэллэ (‘to walk in the snow in vain, to run through the slush’) - to do everything in vain, without benefit. Хаары ытыhан хаалла (‘to have only a handful of snow’) – to have nothing.

In general, a phraseological unit as a universal phenomenon is characterized as “as a combination of words with a figurative meaning”, “as a set phrase”, “a stable verbal complex”. Metaphoricity, figurativeness, expressive-emotional coloring, proverbiality, mythology, etc. are reflected in a phraseological unit. On the basis of the abovementioned aspects it is possible to state that a phraseological unit is a complex and controversial phenomenon in the compared languages. In terms of content, it is a semantically holistic formation, correlative with a single word or a more complex concept. In terms of expression, this is a separately formed formation that has the genetic structure of a phrase or a sentence.

In terms of semantic fusion, it is necessary to follow the teachings of one of the Russian academicians, in which the issues of the object of phraseology are specified, the types of phraseological units by semantic fusion are determined: categories of phraseological units; close phraseological groups of phraseological units, “words are subordinated to the unity of the general image, the unity of real meaning”; phraseological combinations. Another academician identifies phraseological expressions that are currently insufficiently studied as well as the criteria for their inclusion in phraseology and inclusion in phraseological dictionaries. Their activity in vocabulary, use in finished form, figurativeness allows referring them to this system. In terms of semantic cohesion, numerous phraseological expressions of the following type are included: “science of tender passion,” “hunt for changing places”, “feast in time of plague”, “we all learned a little” (winged pushkinisms are included as phraseological expressions). The achievements of lexicography include “The dictionary of winged expressions of Pushkin” by Mokienko and Sidorenko (1999), which presents specific material. It includes 20,000 uses of Pushkin expressions. The dictionary entries include 1900 items. The classification of authors includes Pushkin winged expressions — phraseological units and expressions of semi-phraseological type: ‘all the flags come to visit us’ (“The Bronze Horseman”), ‘without further ado’ (Boris Godunov), etc.

Phraseological expressions can be authored in the Russian and the Yakut languages; they should not be mixed with quotations, for example, “knight for an hour”, “who is the judge?”, “a man in a case”, “dead souls”, “The Mischief of Being Clever”, “the hero of our time”, “superfluous people”, “Fathers and Sons”, “A Vital Question”, “face in the trough”. The expressions of foreign writers are also entrenched in Russian phraseology, for example, ‘lost generation’, ‘swan song’, ‘to be or not to be ...’

In the Yakut language the thoughts of writers that are used in finished form can be considered as the authored phraseological expressions: Mordinov (1998) (Амма Аччыгыйа): ‘санаата оонньуур’ (‘a thought plays’) - feelings, upset, returning thoughts to the same thing; ‘сэмсэ тыл’ ( ‘valuable concluding, wise word’); ‘ытык иэс’ (‘sacred duty’); ‘иhэ истээх, улахан улаҕалаах этии’ (‘inner words, predictive thoughts that matter for the future’); ‘хаппар өйгөр хатаа’ (‘lock in the purse of mind, keep in long-term memory’, because the word ‘хаппар’ is a handbag); ‘oлоххо тардыhыы’ (‘desire to live, love, desire for life’), etc.

Kulakovsky (1925) used the expression: ‘түскэ сүбэлээбит, томторго соргулаабыт’ (‘түскэ сүбэлээбит’ – буларга сүбэлээбит, ‘advice to find the treasured’; ‘томторго соргулаабыт’ – үрдүгү ситиhэргэ сорук туруорбут, ‘set a goal - to achieve a high goal’); ‘Чыӊыс Хаан ыйааҕынан’ (‘at the behest of Genghis Khan).

Contemporary people actively use in their speech the expressions of the following type: ‘сүрэхтэр кэпсэтэр кэмнэрэ’ (‘time when hearts talk’); ‘олох туллар тутаахтара’ (‘supporting life with hands’); ‘тааллар таабырын’ (‘it is possible solve a riddle’); ‘сонун хараххынан көр’ (‘to have a fresh (new) look’), ‘аҕам алааhа’ (‘alaas of father, mowing land, i.e. residence of ancestors’).

Phraseological units occurred on the basis of mythology (legends) have a national color, a characteristic feature of figurative phraseological units. Usually, the national color of phraseological units is determined by the specific names and events that are familiar to the people, events that take place in the genres of folklore (номох - legend), олонхо (epic). The examples of such phraseological units, ‘кыргыс үйэтэ’ - the century of wars and battles, the era of battles and strife; ‘кыргыс уерэҕэ’ - the training of the ancient Yakut warrior (from infancy to puberty) to the art of battle and the ancient martial art of the Yakuts; ‘уйгулаах олох’ - grace-filled life, well-being’; ‘урааңхай саха - былыргылыы өбүгэлэрбит ырыаларыгар тойуктарыгар, номохторугар ураанхай саха буолабыт диэн этинэллэр’ (‘the ancestors of the Yakuts call themselves legends, songs ураанхай саха’) (Semen Bolo, p.128). ‘Чыӊыс Хаан ыйааҕынан, Одун хаан оӊоhуутунан, Билгэ Хаан билиитинэн’ (‘at the behest of Chinggis Khaan, according to Odun Khaan, was based on the knowledge of Bilge Khaan’, that is, the ancestors of Sakha were tired of bloody wars, having overcome great distances, crossed the brawls, having crossed the great distances the mighty rivers of Tuymaada (Сэhэн Bolo). ‘Уу харахтаах утары кѳрбѳт’ (“having wet eyes does not see”) in the meaning of “does not put the evil eye.” ‘Хаан чаҕаан сэбэрэтин харахтат’ (“to see beautiful healthy bright face of Khaan”) corresponds to the Russian“face - red as a rose. ‘Аман ѳс’ means and “sincere, heartfelt word that has a deep meaning and edifying character.” ‘Айах тутуу’ (“treat, treat someone”, that is, in the sense of “honored guests, present a cup with koumiss”. ‘Аптаах тыл, тыыннаах тыл’ in the meaning of the “witchcraft, enchanting, magic word, living word.” ‘Ытык тыл’ is the sacred word.

It is necessary to note that nowadays the authored phraseological expressions of Yakut writers and poets are not sufficiently studied from the point of view of frequency of use in speech, their semantic and structural features, internal form, assessment and social fixity (theatrical, ritual, educational, scientific, environmental) etc. The relics of the ancient consciousness, preserved in the phraseological units of two peoples, arose on the basis of mythology (legends), which also requires their generalization and deep future research.

The proverbial phraseological units are nationally colored. Ethnographic realities are specific. They express morality of people and present a complete judgment, “serve as the oral code of the legal, moral and religious views of the people”. ‘Love is blind, love does not see anything’ - there are two concepts in this proverb: love is blind’ (does not see flaws, imperfections of a character) and ‘love does not see’ (does not understand personal qualities of a loved one). The examples of similar proverbs: ‘simplicity is worse than theft. People disappear because of simplicity’, ‘politics is a rotten egg’ (it smells disgusting when is broken carelessly), ‘velvet paws hide sharp claws’. These proverbs are used as phraseological units (idioms). The idioms derived from proverbs are used in the Yakut language: ‘кэскиллээх кэс тыл’ (prophetic word, good advice); ‘ох - батыйа тыл’ (‘the word as an arrow and a palm tree, that is, the sharp word’); ‘эн эппэтэҕиң, таңара эппитэ буоллун’ (‘let it be so that it was not you who said this, it was God (тенгри) ’); ‘оонньообутун оҕус буолуо’ (‘your joke will turn into a bull’, that is, a joke can turn into troubles); ‘атас туhугар атах тостор, кэргэн туhугар кэтэх туллар’ (‘for the sake of a friend, the leg will break and for the family, the back of the head will break’); ‘Кырдьаҕаhы хааhахха укта сылдьан сүбэлэт’ (‘Listen to the advice of the old man, carrying him in his bag’); ‘улаан уйгута, кэрэ кэhиитэ’ (‘abundance of light gray horse, fair white’). The Sakha people talk about koumiss, the milk of horse in such a figurative way.

The comparison of units allows speaking about a whole phraseological picture of the world. It captures the vast wealth and diversity of the world of human relations. In a short study, we tried to uncover the familiar relations with folklore, mythological units. Undoubtedly, they include artistic expression of an author. In the phraseological picture of the world, the researchers find common universal properties and national peculiarities, manifested in terms of expression and content, which can be a criterion of a comparative-typological study of multi-structured languages.

In syntagmatic terms, the norms of lexical and syntactic compatibility of phraseological units are established. The syntactic compatibility of the phraseological unit 'ate a dog' is used with a noun in the prepositional case with prepositions in and on (in what? on what?): 'He ate a dog on it', 'ate a dog in this', 'he ate a dog in conversations', ‘he ate a dog in building’, etc. Phraseological units with semantics of quantitative-qualitative, qualitative-adverbial meanings, measures, weights, etc. have a certain lexical compatibility. Phraseological units of colloquial style ‘at breakneck speed’, ‘make rings round’ are used with a face of a young man; a girl cannot go at breakneck speed. In the Yakut language, ‘сиhин этэ сиппит, буутун этэ буспут’ also refers to a young male face (‘thighs and dorsal muscles were filled with force’), for example, ‘уол сиhин этэ ситэн, холун этэ хойдон, урааңхай киэнэ уhуктааҕа, саха саарына буол улааппыт’ (‘he has become a glorious man'), ‘саха саарына’ in the sense of 'the best of the people of Sakha'.

The possibilities of syntactic compatibility of phraseological units in the Russian and Yakut languages ​​are not limited. The norms of lexical and syntactic compatibility of phraseological units are not fully studied; normative sources are not sufficiently developed in the XXI century. The electronic filing dictionaries of the use of phraseological expressions are mixed by the authors with aphorisms. In educational dictionaries the interpretation of phraseological units, stylistic and grammatical characteristics is given, their use is supported by examples from belles-letters and periodical issues. Bilingual phraseological dictionaries are of great value for translators, each phraseological has a foreign equivalent or descriptive translation. Since the composition of phraseological units is not identical, the grammatical and stylistic characteristics are transmitted using the system of marks.

The number of existing bilingual dictionaries include: “French-Russian phraseological dictionary’; Kunin (1967) “English-Russian phraseological dictionary “Spanish-Russian phraseological dictionary” and others. In general Russian-Turkic phraseological dictionaries were intended for educational purposes. In 2002, the two-volume “Yakut-Russian Phraseological Dictionary” by Nelunov (2002) was issued (Nelunov, 2002). It is intended for translators, scientists and those who study the Yakut phraseology. In the dictionary, the general definition of phraseological units or representation is transmitted: ‘мэӊэ халлаан’ - high eternal sky, ‘өндөл халлаан’ - high sky (‘nd ө d’ is an archaism, means ‘tall’ in the Mongolian language). As it can be seen, the figurativeness of phraseological units is impossible to convey. Some of the phraseological units do not have reliable etymologies. In some cases it is necessary to give several variants of etymological reference.

Phraseological units with national color are translated into another language using cultural linguistic references. For example, ‘shchi’ has been known in the Russian language since the 16th century. The phraseological units of proverbial origin with the word ‘shchi ’are interpreted in Russian, for example, ‘shchi and porridge - our food’ indicates the main food of the Russian people. ‘Good people do not leave shchi’ - the treat should be accepted; ‘shchi as a whip’ – clear shchi for poor people; ‘shchi spirit’ - the spirit of food, contentment; ‘to get into shchi as a chicken’ - an unexpected trouble. Folk shoes ‘lapty’ are a part of many idioms and also require comments when translated into the Yakut language. Lapty is twiggen low shoes made from birch bark or woody ‘to twig lapty’ - ineptly, stupidly made and confused; ‘to eat shchi with lapty’ - initially - to live in poverty, later it meant backwardness, lack of culture. A kalach (a roll) is a wheat bread in the form of a lock, consisting of the words ‘kola’ and ‘circle’. Tremendous celebrations and events did not take place without kalachs. ‘The living soul roll kalachs’ – to want attention; ‘neither rubbed nor mint - there will be no kalach’ - it is impossible to be a real person without test; ‘and cranberry with a kalach is nothing to him’ - all in vain; ‘grated kalach’ - an experienced, wise and cunning person (they crumple and rub kalach dough for a long time); ‘get a kalach’ - someone will be thoroughly punished; ‘he cannot be drawn out with kalach, he cannot be entrapped with kalach’ - any means are useless; ‘Makar does not eat kalach’ - he is not worthy of treats.

Porridge cooked from cereals was considered to be the mother of bread. Newlyweds ate porridge for fertility. The organization of the wedding was complicated and Aleksandr Nevskii, the Knyaz of Nizhny Novgorod, was preparing many treats for the wedding of his daughter. It was porridge. ‘To make porridge’ - to be guilty of turmoil, troublesome business (2002); ‘We are in the same porridge’ – when christening, a grandmother bypasses the guests with porridge, giving the father a spoonful of porridge, salt and pepper; ‘to give birch porridge’ – to whip, to punish; ‘boots ask porridge’- holey shoes; ‘porridge in mouth’ - indistinct speech; ‘it is impossible to cook porridge’ – to disagree; ‘he ate little porridge’ – a thin person.

A cat in the meaning of a pet is included in the phraseological units. ‘Cat concert’ - about discordant singing, bad music, screaming, noise; ‘March cat’ – crazy about marriage period; ‘Buy a cat in a bag’ – to buy unknown thing; ‘The cat cried’ - very few; ‘Cats scrape the soul’ - someone is very sad, dreary, anxious; ‘To play cat and mouse’ - try to outwit and hide from anyone; ‘To pull the cat by the tail’ - too slowly; ‘A black cat ran through’ - there was an unexpected quarrel, a quarrel between someone, someone had a quarrel with someone; ‘Knows the cat whose meat ate’ - an involuntary manifestation of feeling, including guilt; ‘Torn cat’ - too thin, emaciated woman; ‘Like a mad cat’ - in a rush, in a hurry; ‘Like a cat with a dog’ - constantly quarreling. The word ‘kuoska / cat’ is borrowed from the Russian language, thus it is very difficult to understand the figurative meanings of phraseological units with the word ‘cat’. In the Yakut language, the word ‘kuoska’ also enters into phraseological relations with other words. ‘Куоска курдук кыра аhылыктаах’ - eats little like a cat; ‘куоска курдук салбанан’ - licks itself like a cat, meaning ‘to wash’.

Phraseological expressions of the Yakut language have a national color; a certain cultural literacy is required in order to comprehend their meanings, for example, ‘Таркаайы Чалларыына, Омоллоон уйгута, Дьэргэстэй ыhыаҕа’ ('Tarqai feast, abundance of Omollo, Jergeste festival). The language mentality can be lexical. “The language mentality of the lexical type is reflected in the lexico-semantic system” (1990). The expression ‘Омоллоон уйгута’ ‘the abundance of Omollo is understood as one of the ancestors of the Sakha people who raised cattle and laid the foundations of horse breeding, which provided the abundance of meat, milk, koumiss, and dairy products. In the expression of ‘Дьэргэстэй ыhыаҕа’, the word ‘Дьэргэстэй’ denotes a lively, perky, sociable person who arranged a cheerful celebration, created a bright solemn mood. In the expression ‘Таркаайы чалларыына’ the name of the hero ‘Таркаайы’ is associated with the locality of Таркаайы in the Niurbinskii district of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).


Thus, it is possible to conclude that “the categories that form a picture of the world constitute the main cognitive equipment of culture; they are imprinted in the language, forming its basis” (Kolesov & Pimenova, 2016, p. 90). As a result of a comparative study of phraseological expressions in the Russian and Yakut languages, it can be concluded that the phraseological system develops ways and outlines approaches to the study of their semantics, structural features, origin and historical development, cultural heritage. Taking the above-mentioned facts into account, the translation of phraseological expressions is carried out.

The understanding of the language is enhanced with the help of phraseological expressions that are similar to the images in the Russian and Yakut languages ​​and are not translated literally but are rethought. The correct and appropriate use of figurative speech gives it a unique originality, expressiveness and accuracy.

In our opinion, a literary text opens up the richest possibilities for the realization of the potential of phraseological expressions and occasional proverbs and sayings. Functional features of occasional stable combinations found in literary language, indicate language dynamics - the language is in constant development.

The material of real linguistic use of phraseological expressions and occasional proverbs and sayings of the Russian and Yakut languages showed that the usual use is typical. At the same time, despite the lack of the relation of the Russian and Yakut languages, contextual transformations and their translation into one language or another are possible even while preserving the meaning and objectives of using them in context.

To conclude with it is possible to state that the existing methods for translating phraseological expressions are very universal and absolute. However, when translating new figurative and symbolic word formations that have not yet been included in phraseological dictionaries, a creative approach is needed to choose the method that will best transform phraseological expressions into an absolutely understandable for a reader. Admitting complete and partial calquing in some cases, a translator excludes any possibility of using literal words, that is, unjustified literal translations that distort the meaning of phraseological units. It is necessary to add that during the course of the translation phraseological expressions and occasional proverbs and sayings should be considered as semantic unity and transmitted by variant correspondences, with preservation of their formal features and degree of semantic fusion if it is possible.


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Borisova, L., Makarova, R., Nikiphorova, E., & Dmitrieva*, E. (2019). Problems Of Translation Of Phraseological Expressions In The Russian And Yakut Languages. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 703-711). Future Academy.