Learning Russian In The Light Of Phraseology


Phraseology is one of the most important aspects of teaching Russian as a foreign language. It reflects the emotional and psychological states of a person, feelings, the entire range of facts, phenomena, that can be expressed with a particularly emphasized expression. In the educational process, the inclusion of phraseological units with contextual accuracy plays an important role. At the same time, the principles of choosing phraseological units should be focused not only on the consolidation of the lexical components included in them, but first of all on the frequency of their use in everyday speech and recognition by Russian native speakers regardless of the level of education, erudition or linguistic competence. It is necessary to choose, on the one hand, phraseological units that include the vocabulary necessary to memorize at one level or another, and on the other hand, frequent and common ones that the student could use every day. Thus, phraseological units can be extremely useful material for consolidating reading and speaking skills. Cultural commentaries and stories about the history of phraseological units introduce national characteristics, contain a fragment of the linguistic picture of the world, serve as a good illustrative material for representing the country and its culture, give an idea of the standards that exist in other cultures..

Keywords: Language interference, methodology of teaching, phraseology, Russian


Phraseology along with vocabulary is one of the most important aspects of teaching Russian as a foreign language (Shakhsuvarova, 1983).

Unlike vocabulary, phraseological units contain rich material. It reflects the sphere of the emotional and psychological state of a person (joy, sadness, love, friendship, hatred), feelings and emotions (Walter et al., 2005, p. 7).

Problem Statement

Many methodologists include phraseological units at the initial stage of teaching Russian in a foreign language audience, i.e. already at the A1 level, however, there are contradictions in approaches to the inclusion of phraseological units in the learning process (Vereshchagin & Kostomarov, 1983, p. 93). There is an opinion that it’s better not to include them. There are phraseological units in all textbooks on the Russian language for foreign students from the first level of training (Adonina et al., 2017, p. 27); (Minakova, 2005, p. 12).

Research Questions

To include phraseology into the educational process from the very beginning or not? It is necessary to select phraseological units, which include necessary vocabulary at a particular level of learning and are frequent in colloquial speech, the student can use in daily life. We should exclude those that are rarely used and superfluous for example,, etc. (Walter et al., 2005, p. 15).

Purpose of the Study

In the educational process, an important role is played by the inclusion of phraseological units with contextual accuracy and appropriate gestures or facial expressions - for complete visualization (sometimes even deliberate for highlighting and illustration), as well as phraseological units characteristic of everyday speech for expressing certain emotions, which are integral and important factor for establishing communication even at the elementary level.

Research Methods

The principles of choosing phraseological units should be focused not only on the consolidation of the lexical components included in them, but above all on the frequency of their use in everyday speech and recognition by Russian native speakers, regardless of the level of education, erudition or linguistic competence. The descriptive, the cultural-historical approach and the comparative method was applied in this research.


Phraseological units are emotionally coloured, therefore they are easily remembered by students, as a result of this factor, even at the elementary level, the effect of active knowledge of commonly used phraseological units is achieved, as well as the effect of learning and consolidation of the new grammar or lexical material, that is already necessary at the very first level. Especially in the Slavic audience, where there is no need to explain the coinciding or similar in sound and the same in meaning vocabulary, it helps to remove the language barrier among students, to achieve their idea of ​​Russian as a closely related language, for example,, etc.

When the teacher uses phraseological units in his speech and provokes students to use them actively it helps to memorize new words, expressions and grammatical constructions (Shchukina, 2003, p. 17). At the elementary level the inclusion of phraseological units in a context, such as and others can help to learn new lexis and many grammatical and syntactic constructions. At the same time, we note that the principles of sampling phraseological units should be focused not only on consolidating the lexical components that they include, but above all - on the frequency of their use in everyday speech and recognizability by native speakers of the Russian language, regardless of the level of education, erudition or linguistic competence (Krasnyuk, 2016, p. 94).

It is important to include interjection phraseological units characteristic of everyday casual speech when expressing certain emotions, which are an integral and important factor for establishing communication even at the elementary (Mitrofanova & Kostomarov, 1990, p. 89). These are phraseological interjection combinations expressing such emotional feelings as surprise, interest, admiration, fear, despondency, without which even students at more advanced levels often have difficulties in dialogue due to the inability to support conversation, correctly respond, express one or another emotion that is required (Menshutina, 1984, p. 41). For example, such stable emotional expressive combinations as: etc. They give ease and naturalness to communicative situations even when performing grammar exercises, at the elementary level (Adonina et al., 2017, p. 28).

At higher levels, the introduction of selective phraseological units can serve as useful material for consolidating lexical and grammatical material, which in the further study of grammatical material can be presented in the form of hints of certain word forms as certain language formulas or stock phrases, in particular:

1) to learn verbs of movement for the purpose of didactic testing of their formal grammatical and word-formation aspects, which represents considerable difficulties for foreigners:, etc .;

2) to learn difficult cases of word formation in frequency nominal and verb forms at levels A2-B2 and above: (verb to eat), (participle), phraseological folklore in (adverbial forms of instrumental), (the verb form and short adjectives), ( imperative forms), etc .;

3) at higher levels to present historical and cultural material: в Тулу со своим самоваром; высокий как Останкинская башня; иди в баню!; каша в голове; язык до Киева доведет; Москва слезам не верит; печки-лавочки; очередь как в мавзолей; ежовые рукавицы, etc.

A significant help in teaching closely related languages ​​can also be phraseological units in cultural terms, for example, within the course on regional studies, when a stable combination expresses the conceptual meaning of a particular culture (Vezhbitskaya, 1996, p. 56): Russian; Polish iść / pójść pod kościół, bigos w głowie, pójść na piwko.

The selection of phraseological material at all levels should be stylistically justified and verified. It is about the purposefulness of the set of included phraseological units. So, for example, in the topic “labour, work”, the choice between the phraseological units работать, как лошадь or, where the second will be narrowly limited and not always clear to the average native speaker (Mokienko et al., 1995, p. 15). You can also give similar pairs for recognition:, in the semantic group “idle”, on the one hand, frequency, and on the other hand,, or in the semantic group “far”:, in the group “ a lot ":, or the theme of "little": on the one hand,, and on the other,, etc.

The inclusion of phraseology in the educational process is complicated by such phenomena as interlanguage interference and homonymy, particular among Slavic language speakers (Kusal, 2004, p. 24; Mokienko, 2000, pp. 133-156; Shakhsuvarova, 1983). Moreover, the issue of this phenomenon deserves special attention at the phraseological level. The selection of phraseological units in order to consolidate the lexical and grammatical material should be additionally considered when you select idioms for teaching Russian in Slavic audience because of the external similarity. Based on the component composition, three main groups of supposed equivalents can be distinguished:

1. Supposed equivalents are homogeneous, i.e. components of common root origin:

a) structurally similar, similar in sound, like, for example, ни за грош – (ani) za grosz, не своим голосом – nie swoim głosem, с сердцем – z sercem, сидеть на шее у кого – siedzieć na karku, etc. They can be used for translation practice. By including similar equivalent phraseological units in translation tasks, students can practice and consolidate grammatical, lexical, and syntactic aspects of interference of closely related languages;

b) with a different structure, similar in sound;

c) identical in structure, but different in sound: золотая середина – złoty środek, хоть топор вешай – siekirę można powiesieć, душа ушла в пятки – dusza poszła w pięty, голубая кровь – błękitna krew, до последней капли крови – do ostanniej kropli krwi, etc. You can use these phrases to consolidate lexis and grammar;

d) different in structure, different in sound: быть правым – mieć rację, легкая рука у кого – ktoś ma lekką rękę, не по зубам – nie na czyjeś zęby;

2. Supposed equivalents, which include only one or several components of a common root origin, and the rest of different roots and vary in sound, for example, - to thank in advance; - about a weak person, - the girl’s refusal to marry to “an elderly” admirer; (lit. “serve black soup”) - i.e. not take smb. offers to get married; (literally “get black soup”) - get a refusal; - in the homonymous Russian meaning about worthless work, - literally “on the shoulder”- in the meaning of “the soul is gone”, etc. (Klosińska et al., 2005)

3. Phraseological equivalents of general meaning, having different components in their composition: как сельди в бочке – jak sardynki w puszce, жить как сыр в масле – wyglądać (сzuć się) jak pączek w maśle, хлеб да каша - пища наша – сhleb i woda, nie ma głoda, держать кулаки – trzymać kciuki, сделать отбивную/фарш (из кого) – zrobić siekany kotlet/marmoladę (z kogoś), etc. These phrases contain culturological material for lexical and grammar exercises.

4. Supposed equivalents consist of components that are derived from different roots but have similar or close lexical meaning, such as slangy ‘really, indeed’ - – ‘receive remuneration, pay with goods’, etc.

5. homonymous oppositions of phraseological units and free word combinations, as the result a homonymous system appears, the components of which (free phrase - phraseological unit) belong to different language levels - syntactic and phraseological:

a) phraseological unit in Russian - a free combination in Polish: Russian ‘free path, no delay’ and Polish ‘a street where there is a lot of greenery’, Russian ‘to have profitable connections, protection’ and Polish ‘to have your own hand, not someone else’, etc .;

b) phraseological unit in Polish - a free word combination in Russian ‘quickly, as soon as possible’ and Russian ‘on one leg’ (stand, jump), etc.

Phraseological units, as well as the lexical components in them, provoke interference mistakes in this case and cause misunderstanding, since the automatic transfer of structurally and phonetically identical phrases from one language to another can lead to the formation of word combinations that sometimes create even a comic effect (Kusal & Bałaban, 2014, p. 59).


Moreover, the purpose of including phraseology is focused on learning grammar and vocabulary. It can be extremely useful for consolidating reading and speaking skills. Phraseological units introduce national features, illustrate the culture of the country.


This paper is written within the framework of the project «A man and society in the mirror of the new Russian phraseology» (19-012-00214) funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR).


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The Russian language, methods of teaching, Russian language studies, Russian linguistic culture, Russian literature

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V. Raina, O. (2021). Learning Russian In The Light Of Phraseology. In & V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 482-488). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.09.53