The processes that take place in the mind of native speakers during the communication, have often been an object of various contemporary linguistic studies based on the anthropocentric approach to the linguistic picture of the world. The processes of semantic change and transformation are of peculiar interest. This article analyses the Modern Greek zoonyms functioning as components of predicative phraseological units (idioms) in the sentences with a compound nominal predicate. The material features 359 idioms with syntactic formula CopfΧ, where Copf is the auxiliary verb (
Keywords: Idiom as predicativeModern Greek phraseologyzoomorphic metaphorzoomorphismzoonyms
Realizing himself as a part of living nature, a man, nevertheless, is inclined to distinguish himself from other living beings, many of which for centuries and even millennia have been his faithful companions. Of course, animals occupy a special position among them, since “the animal world and the relations ... of its representatives traditionally served a person as a model that could act ... as a visual model of the life of human society” (Litvinova, 2015, p. 177). Zoomorphism, i.e., the property of human thinking to transfer the qualities of an animal to a person, leads to the formation in the consciousness of the latter of relatively stable connections (connotations) between the name of the animal and the characteristics that it possesses, which as a result leads to the formation of metaphors - tokens regularly used in figurative meaning and in this sense possessing a “ready-made” imagery (Sklyarevskaya, 1993, p. 12) (such, for example, a swine token that characterizes a person as unclean and unworthy (Сf. the use of the lexeme in examples Ты посмотри, что в комнате у тебя творится, свинья ты такая! [Alexey Slapovsky. Life of Lagarpov (1999)]; «Ай да Хрипушин! Ай да свинья! Нашёл что придумать!» ― подумала она с омерзением и уважением.) [Yu. O. Dombrovsky. Faculty of unnecessary things, part 5 (1978)]. Examples are borrowed from the National Corpus of the Russian Language (http://ruscorpora.ru, accessed 02/27/2019). ) ). Metaphors with a zoononym component that transfer the properties or signs of animals to humans are among the most commonly used in different languages, and their main feature is qualificativity, due to which a series of models are formed that describe either social types and standards of appearance, or behavior and internal qualities of a man (Arkhangelskaya, 2006).
The set of zoomorphic metaphors of each language “is unique for each particular society, since in different languages figurative meanings ... have different lexical units” (Shumilina, 2014, p. 241). This means that the study and interpretation of such metaphors can be considered as a means of studying the linguistic picture of the world (LPW) of a particular language (Gavrilyuk, 2012).
Already in late antiquity, various paremiographs such as Zenobius, Diogenian, Plutarch, and in Byzantine times, Gregory of Cyprus and Mikhail Apostolius compiled lists of paremias that contain a sufficient number of stable expressions with zoonymic components (cf., for example, analysis of the zoononym
This article attempts to analyze the predicative phraseological units of the Greek language comprehensively, in which both their semantic and syntactic features are taken into account.
A detailed semantic analysis of modern Greek predicative phraseological units with a zoonym component is given below. From the point of view of syntax, in most cases their structure preserves the syntactic model of a free phrase (cf. Russian sly fox, Greek πονηρή αλεπού) and less often represents a sentence. Many researchers (e.g., F.F. Fortunatov, E.D. Polivanov, N.M. Shansky, V.L. Arkhangelsky, etc.) divide the phraseological units into non-predicative and predicative ones. In terms of predicative phraseological units, the following are distinguished: a) partially predicative phraseological units in which the first, grammatically leading member has an addition (direct, indirect, circumstantial) or definition in the form of a subordinate clause; and b) predicative phraseological units, which, in turn, are divided into predicative phraseological units with a closed structure, expressing a finished thought and syntactically designed as simple or complex sentences, and predicative phraseological units with an open structure, expressing an unfinished thought and requiring spreading in speech with variable words (as cited in Nazaryan, 1987).
Compound nominal predicate in classical school theory means a predicate consisting of “auxiliary part (connective) and nominal (main, semantic) part” of the type Ivan – teacher (Bagryantseva et al., 2011). The same definition is accepted in the Greek syntactic tradition, where this type of predicate also consists of a linking verb
For complex syntactic and semantic analysis, it is worthwhile to turn to works on functional-communicative grammar (Zolotova et al., 2004), where the basic principle is the analysis of “the correlation of form and its expressed content” (Ibid.). Such an approach, not used on modern Greek material up to now, will allow us to comprehensively analyze predicative phraseological units at the syntactic and semantic levels of a sentence, namely, to isolate sentence models with certain typical values (that is, “generalized semantic results of predicative conjugation of subject and predicative components” (Ibid.)). It is worth noting that “the conjugation of a predicative attribute with the subject - its carrier, expressing in the language categories of modality, time and person the relevance of the sentence to reality” is understood as predicativity in functional-communicative grammar (Zolotova et al., 2004).
A compound nominal predicate is one way of expressing a predicative component in a sentence. Phraseological units including this type of predicate, the syntactic formula of which can be represented as CopfΧ, where Copf is an auxiliary verb (
Purpose of the Study
This article attempts to consider predicative phraseological units with the closed structure of a simple sentence containing a zoononym component as part of a nominal predicate. It analyzes not only the semantics of the corresponding phraseological units, but also their communicative properties. It is assumed that the obtained material will allow not only to single out the frequence phraseological units for the Greek language and to characterize them from the semantic, syntactic and communicative point of view, but also to draw conclusions about what “symbolic load” the zoonyms included in them have in modern Greek LPW.
As a result of the analysis of the corpus of texts of the modern Greek language ΕΘΕΓ (http://hnc.ilsp.gr/) , elTenTen2014 (https://www.sketchengine.eu/eltenten-greek-corpus/) , ΣΕΚ (http://www.sek.edu.gr/) by the continuous sampling method, we have selected 359 predicative phraseological units with a zoonym component. Of these, 73 phraseological units are considered in this paper, containing a compound nominal predicate expressed by a combination of the verbs
As a quantitative analysis of the use of phraseological units of this type in text bodies, in Google, Yandex search engines, and on Twitter and Telegram channels showed namely this model of phraseological units is most often used in the Greek language after language metaphors (LM), which are usually separate lexemes as part of free sentences.
Zoonyms, like the whole evaluative vocabulary of any language, contribute to the expression of feelings, reactions, emotional life of a person as a whole, forming and denoting a valuable picture of the world: assessment of objects according to the ethical and aesthetic standards of a given language collective (good - bad, beautiful - ugly, etc.). The predicative-characterizing semantic variant includes the nominative as the basis, to which the value (seme) of the characteristic is added, which complicates the structure of the variant and makes a qualitative change to it (Zabudskaya & Tresorukova, 2019). At the same time, the linguistic specificity of this meaning is manifested in the fact that the content of the characteristic is caused not so much by the qualities of a real non-linguistic object (in this case, an animal), but by qualities that are attributed to this object by a collective linguistic consciousness. The language registers, fixes these qualities as inherent in the denotatum (the object, as it is reflected in the language), which allows to regularly use the name of the object as a standard of certain qualities (Litvin, 1984).
The emergence of anthropocentric incremental meanings in zoonyms, the inclusion of zoonyms in the phraseology indicate a linguistic personality's subjective recognition of the importance of animals in the general interpretative picture of the world, which is determined by the traditional model of transfer of animal qualities to humans and vice versa. Animals are by nature closer to humans and more drawn into the world of their transformations, more connected with the historical development of civilization (compare, for example, cult images of animals in various religions, zoomorphism of mythology, etc.). In other words, animalism always remains that sense-forming background on which linguistic and cult stereotypes are formed (Maslova, 1997).
The imagery of zoononymous comparisons and metaphors, the selection of relevant features that create the image, and orientation toward the addressee - taking into account his ability to understand comparison and metaphor not only intellectually, but also, evaluating the signified and the image that underlie them, emotionally perceive this image and correlate it with a scale of emotionally positive or negative reactions determined by national-cultural concepts make them conventional (Ibid.).
As mentioned above, the main feature of phraseological units with a component-zoononym is qualification (Arkhangelskaya, 2006), which is why the following set of models will be used to analyze the collected material, giving an idea of the subjective perception of the animal world through the prism of human consciousness: character traits or emotional state; social behavior; appearance or physical condition; social type of person.
Character traits or emotional state (26 PhU)
The phraseological units included in this category contain the zoonyms
Considering these phraseological units from the point of view of the assessment expressed by them, it is easy to see that in most cases, attributing the qualities of a particular animal to a person characterizes the latter negatively. More than half of the analyzed phraseological units, i.e. 15, contain a negative characteristic, In a number of cases, however, phraseological units contain potential semes of both positive and negative evaluations. For example, depending on the context and the pragmatic task of communicating phraseological units,
Social behavior (22 phraseological units)
PhUs of this category are formed with the help of zoonyms
A number of phraseological units describe, rather, not the person himself, but the external circumstances in which he finds himself. So, for example, phraseological
Finally, the phraseological units represented in this category are interesting as they describe a person from the point of view of his social status. It is significant that most often a person who is not a member of society, outside of it or rejected for some reason is given a special characteristic (
19 out of 22 examined phraseological units characterize a person or a situation in which he is placed negatively. It is also especially interesting that often the reason for the negative assessment is the alienness of the person being characterized by society or the discrepancy of its behavior with circumstances, which, most likely, is explained by the wary attitude of naive linguistic consciousness to everything else, “alien” in the broad sense of the word.
Appearance and physical condition (12 phraseological units)
The phraseological units of this category include zoonyms
Three physical units describe features or a change in physical state:
Considering the assessment expressed by the phraseological units of this category, it should be noted that a naive view of the world is characterized by a negative attitude towards everything “alien” and strange, distinguished, different from the generally accepted one. This thesis is proved in this case by the fact that 9 out of 12 analyzed phraseological units contain a negative assessment precisely because some characteristics of the described person (for example, hair length or skin color) differ from what is habitually and publicly approved.
Social personality type (10 phraseological units)
The category contains phraseological units denoting social status, status, occupation, and features of the social behavior of the characterized person. The considered phraseological units contain zoonyms
It should be noted that for phraseological units of this category, it is mandatory that the predicate has an agreed or inconsistent definition that motivates the formation of the meaning of the phraseological unit. For example, phraseological unit
Like phraseological units of the above categories, phraseological units describing the social type of personality usually contain a negative assessment of the person being characterized (6 out of 10 considered examples are of this kind).
Thus, as the above analysis shows, the metaphorical use of animal images in the phraseological units is due to objective knowledge about their appearance, habits and role in people's lives, which makes it possible to describe both the person’s appearance, condition or features of his character, as well as his action or manner behavior. An unconditional factor in the frequency of use of a particular zoononym is the proximity or remoteness of a given representative of the animal world from a person and the degree of participation of this animal in people's lives (see Table
The data obtained allow us to evaluate the considered phraseological units from the point of view of the assessment expressed by them (see Table
As shown above, most of the phraseological units with a component-zoononym in the LPW of a Greek speaker transmit negative characteristics of a person, which, of course, is associated with their cult and mythological “load” and determines their ethnically peculiar interpretation. So, for example, in all groups in the phraseological unit with zoonony components, there are
From the structural point of view, most phraseological units with a zoononym component formed according to the CopfΧ scheme have auxiliary verbs
Summing up, it should be noted that phraseological units with a component-zoonym clearly demonstrate what place animals occupy in the LPW of a Greek speaker. Practically each of the animals is assigned one or another stable quality, which is expressed in attributing the corresponding seme in the composition of the phraseological unit to the person. At the same time, the analysis showed that the meaning of the phraseological unit is formed not only due to the connotative sem of the zoononym included in it, but is also largely determined by the linking verb (compare, for example, the difference in the meanings of the phraseological units
- Arkhangelskaya, А. А. (2006). Strashnaya mest, ili Zoomorfnyye metafory v zerkale slavyanskikh yazikov [Terrible avenge, or Zoomorphic metaphors in the mirror of Slavic languages]. In M. A. Alekseenko (Ed.), Slavyanskie yazike v svete kultury [Slavic languages in culture] (pp. 73-76). А Тemp.
- Bagryantseva, V. А., Litnevskaya, E. I., Galaktionova, I. V., & Bolycheva, E. M. (2011). Russkiy yazik [Russian language]. Moscow State University.
- Eideneier, H. (Ed.) (2016). Diigisis ton tetrapodon zoon ke poulologos [Narration of the four-legged animals and poulologos]. Panepistimiakes ekdosis Kritis.
- Gavrilyuk, М. А. (2012). Zoomorfnaya metafora v kitayskom i rasskom yazikah: mezhyazikoviye universalii i natsionalnaya spetsifika [Zoomorphic metaphor in Chinese and Russian: universal and national-specific features]. The Irkutsk State Linguistik University Philological Review, 2(19), 131-137.
- Kamilaki, Μ., Katsouda, G., & Vrachionidou, Μ. (2016). Piperi sto stoma! Opseis lekseon taboo sti Nea Elliniki [Pepper in mouth! Views of taboo words on Modern Greek]. Kalligrafos.
- Katos: Katos, G. V. Leksiko tis laikis kai tis perithoriakis mas glossas [Dictionary of people’s and local language of ours]. (2016). http://georgakas.lit.auth.gr/dictionaries/index.php/leksika/katou-g
- Kharalampakis, Ch. (Ed.). (2014). Khristiko leksiko tis neoellinikis glossas [Usage Dictionary of Modern Greek]. Akadimia Athinon.
- Litvin, F. A. (1984). Mnogozhachnost slova v yazike i rechi [Word polysemy in language and speech]. URSS.
- Litvinova, T. I. (2015). Zoomorfnaya metafora kak sredstvo kontseptualizatsii politicheskoi deistvitelnosti Gremanii [Zoomorphic metaphor in conceptualizing the political life of Germany]. Izvestiya Voronezh State Pedagogical University. Series: Humanities, 2(267), 177-179.
- LKN: Leksiko tis kinis neoellinikis glossas. Idrima Manoli Triantafillidi [Dictionary of Modern Greek. Manolis Triandafillidis’ Foundation]. (2015). http://georgakas.lit.auth.gr/dictionaries/index.php#
- Maslova, V. A. (1997). Vvedenie v lingvoculturologiyu [Introduction to linguoculturology]. Nasledie.
- Nazaryan, A. G. (1987). Frazeologiya sovremennogo frantsuzskogo yazika [Phraseology of Modern French]. Vysshaya shkola.
- Sklyarevskaya, G. N. (1993). Metafora v sisteme yazika [Metaphor in language system]. Nauka.
- Shumilina, О. S. (2014). Russkaya mysh ili angliyskaya sobaka (k popytke opisaniya zoomorfnogo portreta cheloveka) [Russian mouse or English dog (an attempt to describe a zoomorphic portrait of a person)]. Vestnik TvGU. Seriya: Filologiya [Tver State University Bulletin. Series: Philology], 4, 241-247.
- Tompaidis, D. (Ed.) (2004). Sintaktiko tis neas ellinikis A’, B’, G’ Gimnasiou [Syntax of Modern Greek. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Gymnasium grades]. OEDB-Ipourgeio Paideias.
- Zabudskaya, Y. L., & Tresorukova, I. V. (2019). Zoonimiya v drevnegrecheskoi frazeologii (na materiale leksemy ‘byk’) [Zoonimy in Ancient Greek phraseology (lexeme ‘oxe’)]. Indo-European Linguistics And Classical Philology, XXIII(1), 346-360.
- Zolotova, G. А., Onipenko, N. K., & Sidorova, M. Y. (2004). Kommunikativnaya grammatika russkogo yazika [Communicative grammar of the Russian language]. V.V. Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
27 May 2021
Print ISBN (optional)
Culture, communication, history, mediasphere, education, law
Cite this article as:
Bobrova, O., Solovyova, A., & Tresorukova, I. (2021). Modern Greek Phraseological Units Containing Zoonym As Compound Nominal Predicate. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 42-51). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.6