Word Formation In Russian Based On Phraseological Units As Language Dynamics Manifestation


The aim of the study is to analyze the mechanisms and methods of phraseological word formation, describe the typology of phraseological innovations, and consider the reasons for interlevel derivation. Phraseological word formation is carried out in two ways. As a result of the first one, one of the components is “isolated”, which functions as an independent lexeme, but semantically fulfills the load of the entire phraseological unit (for example, to cry into smb’ vest (to cry on smb’ shoulder) → vest (shoulder)), as a result of the second one – agglutination – the components of the phraseological unit seem to “stick to each other” and in the newly formed composition each of them “turns” into a morpheme (for example, zolotaya rota (sewage-disposal men) → zolotorottsy (sewage-disposal men)). A derived phraseological unit and a derived lexeme are either linked by motivation relationships or are identical in their meanings. Various changes in both lexical and phraseological composition of a language is a natural process that is caused by the linguistic factors, both external and internal. One of the main reasons for the appearance of transformed units is the desire of the language to expressiveness, the desire of the author to create something unusual, outlandish thereby enriching the message with special expressiveness. The formation of words based on phraseological units is a fairly active source of replenishment of the lexical system.

Keywords: Phraseological unit, phraseological lexeme, interlevel derivation, agglutination


The dynamics of a language is a universal characteristic of any language including Russian. One of the clearest manifestations of linguistic dynamics is the relationship and interaction between linguistic units of different levels. A superword unit – a phraseological unit – is formed in the course of merging of two (or more) lexemes; however it is not the end of the process of word creation: A separately formed unit with an integral meaning that cannot be deduced from the meanings of the lexemes that make up a phraseological unit itself becomes a producing base for the formation of a unit of different level – lexical items: lomat + shapky (break + a hat) → lomat shapky (break a hat) → shapkolomatel (hat breaker); snimat + penka (remove + foam) → snimat penki (remove foam) → penkosnimatel (foam remover); vtirat + ochki (rub in + glasses – bluff) → vtirat ochki (rub in glasses – bluff) → ochkovtiratel (put-on-artist). Though it is impossible to accept the dynamic process of word-creation in the following chain: unit of the lexical level → unit of phraseological level → unit of the lexical level as regular and active, it should be admitted that this process is natural, and the words of Vinogradov (1938) that “the phraseological units are not only a product of petrification and isolation of words, but also a source of formation of new words” (p. 32) are fully confirmed.

The interlevel derivation study – word – phraseological unit – word – is of great interest for te researchers due to its complexity, versatility, and sometimes unpredictability. If phraseological units as derived units are stable, reproducible, recognizable, usually fixed, then the derived lexemes formed on the basis of phraseological units often appear not as potential words, but as occasionalisms (nonce words), an accidental “speech formation” created in a certain situation for a certain context. The derived units formed on the basis of phraseological units were considered from different positions and different points of view. An interlevel derivation is analyzed and described by Alefirenko (2015), Nurbaeva and Bekbaeva (2015), Mokienko (2017), Pugach (1997) and others. The communicative and pragmatic features of phraseological derivation are considered in the work of Dzhagraeva (2005), the problems of neologization in modern Russian are highlighted in the works of Alefirenko and Kasyanova (2015), Senko and Dryaeva (2014) and others. Abzhelieva et al. (2019) and others write about the phenomena of derivation in spontaneous speech. However, the linguistics has not worked out for this process of a single name, there is no name for the units that are formed as a result of this process. In many works, this phenomenon is characterized as the lexicalization of a word combination, in the works of Pugach (1997), Senko and Dryaeva (2014) – as a phrasal word formation, Dzhagraeva (2005), Nurbaeva and Bekbaeva (2015) consider this process to be phraseological derivation. The authors of this article consider it more appropriate to use the term ‘phraseological word formation’ since it contains, firstly, an understanding of what is called the process of word formation, and secondly, the term not only names, but also characterizes the process as specific, different from traditional word formation (Ermakova, 2012; Ermakova et al., 2015).

Problem Statement

The modern world is characterized by impetuousness, a change in social and political paradigms, and, as a consequence, the creation of conditions for various linguistic processes that meet the needs of society. Under these conditions, it seems relevant to study speech innovations that arose under the influence of external stimuli, but nevertheless appeared as a result of development of the internal laws of the language and ‘formed’ according to the laws of the language.

Research Questions

The modern high-speed life is also activating the processes of innovation in the language. First of all, changes are found in the field of vocabulary and phraseology, but units of these levels perform the same function, i.e. they name the realities of the surrounding world. Words are 'building blocks’ for the formation and consolidation of units of the phraseological level in the language; however, functioning phraseological units become the basis for the formation of new units. In one case the phrase formation occurs (the formation of a new phraseological unit based on the phraseological unit). Let us compare the following: katat’sya kak syr v masle – contentment, prosperity (roll in the stuff) – katanie kak syr v masle – life in contentment, prosperity). The two units are related semantically as a verb and a verbal noun, which designates an object as an action, but the grammatical features of generating and derived units (functioning of verbal categories and noun categories) prove that we have two different units: procedural and subject semantics. In another case we observe the process of phraseological word formation: the phraseological unit, as a result of development, forms a unit of another level – lexical unit. This process is carried out in two ways, as a result of one of them one of the components is “detached” from the phraseological unit, “isolated”, which functions as an independent lexeme, but semantically fulfills the load of the entire phraseological unit. Let us compare the following: raskhlebyvat kashu (to unravel a complex, troublesome, unpleasant business) – raskhlebyvat (to unravel (the same meaning)). In another case, a grammatically dependent component is isolated, while the meaning of the process can be preserved: bit baklushi (to twiddle thumbs) – baklushnichat (to sit idle), but it can also correspond to a grammatically isolated lexeme – derzhat v ezhovykh rukavitsakh (to keep in tight hand over someone)- rukavitsa (mitten) – severe and harsh conditions. Sometimes the whole phraseological unit breaks up into separate lexemes, each of which serves independently, nevertheless semantically correlating with the producing unit: to cry into smb’ vest (to cry on smb’ shoulder) – to complain to someone about smth., smb. – to cry (same meaning), vest is the one to whom they complain about smb., smth. Undoubtedly, like any other development, phrase formation and phraseological word formation are associated with diachronic processes, but nevertheless the coexistence and active functioning of the generating and derived units allows us to speak of synchronous processes, which, in our opinion, is no less productive, and in some cases the most significant for understanding dynamic processes in the language. In addition, one cannot ignore the fact that everything diachronic arises in synchronicity.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to analyze the mechanisms and methods of phraseological word formation as one of the active dynamic processes in the modern Russian language, to present a typology of phraseological innovations, and to consider the reasons for interlevel derivation.

Research Methods

In the study of the linguistic material the following integrated approach was used: general linguistic and linguistic cultural approaches as well as methods and techniques. The whole set made it possible to present the versatility and complexity of the material being studied. General linguistic methods and techniques were used in the systemic analysis of linguistic units (from meaning to form, from form to meaning) and their functioning. The method of linguistic modeling was used to predict the formation of phraseological lexemes associated with the characteristics of the producing base. The methods and techniques of linguoculturological analysis were used when considering the description of units of the secondary nomination (both phraseological units and phraseological lexemes) from the position of determining the role of a language as a means of interpreting reality by an individual. The systemic and structural method made it possible to consider texts using innovations as units that create conditions for word-creation, the comparative-comparative method made it possible to highlight the general and particular in traditional and phraseological word formation.


This study is connected with the representation of a different way, i.e. the agglutination of components and their fusion: izobretat velosiped (to talk about what everyone has known for a long time) – velosipedoizobretatelstvo (the activity of a man who says what everyone has known for a long time); marat bumagy “(to waste paper) – bumagomaratel – the one who writes fruitlessly. The components of the phraseological unit seem to stick together each of which turns into a morpheme. Vinogradov (1938) paid attention to this process, although individual lexemes were noted in the collection of Mikhelson (1997). According to Vinogradov (1938) this process is although irregular, but natural, close connection of idioms and phraseology with lexicology is reflected in it due to the constant movement within the language from words to idioms and phrases and back – from phrases to idioms and words. Externally the process of formation of lexemes based on phraseological units resembles the processes of traditional word formation – addition or fusion, we read about this in the works of many researchers. However, let us disagree fully with this judgment. The components of a phraseological unit, in contrast to the products of splicing or addition only phonetically reflect the word. Having become a component of a phraseological unit, and then a morpheme of a phraseological lexeme they did not retain the meaning that was characteristic of them in direct use, and in the composition of a phraseological lexeme these morphemes retain the semantics of the phraseological unit. Therefore, we observe other processes compared to the processes of traditional word formation. Phraseological word formation has specific characteristics, firstly, it has its own internal laws of formation and development, secondly, it implies its own methods and means. Besides, the types that are not modeled in traditional word formation become modeled, a specific valence of new formations is revealed, and finally, its own system of terms and concepts is developed.

It is meaningless to say that such processes could not be ignored by the study. However, the main part of works devoted to the problems of phrase formation and phraseological word formation was published at the end of the 20th century. Today this question remains open, in addition, since the mechanisms of the formation of derivatives of this order have not been studied and described in full, the problem remains unsolved, both identical judgments and judgments containing contradictions are expressed. At the same time it is quite obvious that the study of the derivational potential of phraseological units leads to an understanding of how a sufficiently systematic and regular enrichment of the lexical composition occurs due to the internal reserves of the language

The dynamic changes in the field of phraseological word formation arise in the process of speech functioning. The reasons for the creation of words can be very different, and the authors of scientific works also try to analyze it. One of the reasons is called condensation (the law of speech economy), which is due to the intensification of social life: the impetuosity of life requires new, economical names. The second reason is the operation of the law of replenishment of the lexical system: the renewal and quantitative increase of the existing dictionary is due to the need for the language to perform a communicative function. Phraseological word production acts as one of the sources of such replenishment. Another reason for the emergence of phraseological lexemes is the peculiarities of their syntactic functioning: the language tends to reduce a more capacious linguistic unit: the language seeks to avoid repeating the whole motivating structure. Nevertheless, in case of an increase in the effect of perception the structure is reproduced in a transformed form (in an abbreviated form, in the form of one lexeme) while maintaining the meaning. The derived word avoids cumbersomeness by conveying information in a reduced form. Compare:.

Most scientists consider the desire for expressiveness to be among the main reasons. Like no other unit phraseologism already has expression. The phraseological lexeme, implementing (fully or partially) the phraseological meaning, enhances the qualitative and evaluative characteristic, draws attention to itself with its unusualness, acquires more vivid expressiveness, which means that the pragmatics of the unit is also enhanced.

The expression can be created by the characteristics of the derived word. They include suffixes of a reduced nature:(v nagluyu → vnagl-yak; v lom → vlom-ak; v chornuyu → vchern-yak);(kaby chego ne vyshlo → kabychegonevyshl-istik);(na khrena → nakhren-ishch-a; na figa → nafig-ishch-a);(ot sebya → otseb-yatin-a); (po figu → pofig-ask-a). In addition, the suffixes that do not have a reduced coloring in traditional word formation, becoming word-forming formants of lexemes formed on the basis of phraseological units, acquire a shade of decline: (dushu gubit → dushegub-yets); -(do feni → dofen-izm; kaby chego ne vyshlo → kabychegonevyshl-izm); (kaby chego ne vyshlo → kabychegonevyshl-ist; po fig → pofig-ist); zerro suffix (glotat darom → darmoglot Ø; drat kozla → kozlodor Ø; drat shkuru → shkurodor Ø; klevat po mozgam → mozgoklyuy Ø).

The analysis of the linguistic material shows that dynamic processes do not stop at the derivatives of the second stage, the derived lexeme becomes productive for the formation of the third stage, etc. (in our material there are nests with a top, i.e. the phraseological unit the depth of which reaches ten members). The reasons for further word production are the same. So, the producing phraseological unit (with the meaning to be extremely absent-minded, inattentive) is already expressively colored. The lexeme rot-o-zey formed on the basis of this phraseological unit has the meaning of an absent-minded person and also has a pronounced expressive coloring. Formations of the following stages (derived from the lexeme rot-o-zey) are also expressive: rotozey → rotozey-k-a – female of rotozey; rotozey → rotozey-nicha-t – byt rotozeyem, to behave like rotozey; rotozeynichat → rotozeynicha-n-ye – action on the verb rotozeynichat; rotozey → rotozey-n-yy – peculiar to rotozeyu; rotozey → rotozey-stv-o – feature of rotozeya; absent-mindedness; rotozey → rotozey-stvova-t – behave like rotozey.



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Ermakova, E., Ratushnaya, E. R., & Kazachuk, I. G. (2021). Word Formation In Russian Based On Phraseological Units As Language Dynamics Manifestation. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 466-471). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.63