Valency And Government Of Processual Phraseological Units With Semantic Meaning Of Deprivation


The paper studies the valency of processual phraseological units of one semantic group, which is part of the subcategory of possession, which represents a variety of possessive relationships in the language, including the relationship of deprivation and alienation. The relevance of the study is caused by the insufficient analysis of issues related to the study of the semantic properties of processual phraseological units in domestic linguistics, with the clarification of the status of groups formed by them, in the general language structure, with the description of a paradigm and synthagmatics of supersonic units, etc. The analysis of causative phraseological units with semantic meaning of deprivation demonstrates the relationship of meaning and valency properties. In the course of the study, a component analysis was used, which made it possible to distinguish semes in the structure of the meanings of phraseological units, which become actual through syntactic actants – positions in a sentence designed to determine the roles in a situation. During the study, the composition of the group of causative processual phraseological units with the semantics of deprivation was clarified, the subgroups constituting this semantic association were identified, alongside with the interpretation of the units included in it. A list of possible actants and a repertoire of government models of the studied units was determined, which contributes to a general picture of the syntactic behavior of processual phraseological units. The study of valency based on semantic-syntactic analysis allows describing in more detail the actant-role structure of processual phraseological units, their functional potential.

Keywords: Actant, government, processual phraseological unit, semantic valency, syntactic valency


The valency theory is particularly important for linguistic studies, especially in the field of syntax. The term valency was originally used to describe the semantic-syntactic properties of verbs, since it is they that “when referring to actions and states, suggest the presence of situations with a certain set of “participants” more than other classes of words (Dubrovina, 2002). The study of semantics and the actant-role structure of verbs and processual phraseological units was covered in the works of many domestic linguists (Glukhikh & Kazachuk, 2020; Kolesnikova, 2018; Milovanova & Terentyeva, 2017; Pavlov & Petrova, 2020; Starodubtseva et al., 2020; Shibakova & Kazachuk, 2020). To date, significant results have already been achieved in the study of valency types, in the method of valency analysis, differences between valency levels, etc. However, such properties of processual phraseological units of the Russian language, correlated in semantics and grammatical behavior with verbs, remain poorly studied.

Problem Statement

The valency properties of processual phraseological units have not been studied enough, although in semantic and grammatical terms such studies are quite relevant.

It is relevant to study the connection of semantics and the combination of processual phraseological units, their valency, methods of actualization of actants.

According to Pankratova (1988), only those linguistic units which semantic structure contains relatable seeds have valency. Phraseological units of the studied group are units with a relative meaning (Zolotov, 1973), which need to be filled, since without filling words their meaning is insufficient. The lack of self-sufficiency of the meaning of phraseological units creates a mandatory, semantically conditional realization of unit potentials.

The valency of a processual phraseological unit is the ability of a unit to have a certain number of dependent forms corresponding in semantic-grammatical properties to the form and meaning of this phraseological unit. Valency determines the number of participants in the indicated situation (semantic valency) and the specific filling of positions of the participants in the situation with morphological-syntactic structures, i.e. case and prepositional-nominal forms of dependent nouns (syntactic valency) (Dubrovina, 2002; Ferm, 2005).

Research Questions

The object of the study included causative processual phraseological units with the semantics of deprivation, which belong to the subcategory of possession denoting possessive relations, i.e. relations of belonging in all their diversity, and that form a special group within this subcategory. The phraseological units (FU) of this group contain a qualifying seme of deprivation.

Typical semantics of the group: deprive/deprive someone of something, take something from someone. There are three subgroups within this group:

a) a subgroup of units of importance: to ruin somebody utterly; to take the shirt off somebody (to rob somebody blind; to take a piece of bread from somebody’s mouth; to hit somebody in his pocket; to put one’s hand in somebody else’s pocket; to snatch something from under somebody’s nose;

b) a subgroup of phraseological units that have the meaning of:

c) a subgroup of phraseological units that have the meaning of:.

The subject of the study was valency properties and possible models of governing phraseological units of this semantic association based on them.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to determine the semantic valencies of causative processual phraseological units of deprivation and methods of their expression at a synthagmatic level.

Research Methods

The main method in the study of processual phraseological units with the semantics of deprivation is the component analysis, which involves the identification of identical and differential systems in the meaning of phraseological units when compared with semantic verbs. Besides, the distribution analysis was used to identify a set of valencies of the studied linguistic units.


Semantic valency of phraseological units of the deprivation group implies a certain set of participants of a situation, actants – persons or objects participating in the process in any quality, even as the ordinary marginal participant, and not excepting the most passive in any way (Tenier, 1988). According to the amount of actants the studied units are divided into two groups different in their in volume: one group unites bivalent FU (there is the vast majority of such units, about 90 %), the second group includes trivalent FU (10 %). The semantic valency of phraseological units of the deprivation group is the following: 1) left valency − an agent, a subject-causator of a situation of deprivation, a person having will and consciousness; 2) right valency: a) a patient, a subject to deprivation, a person exposed to causative influence as a result of which it experiences harm; b) an object-subject having the meaning of social action (something that is deprived – property, work, housing, etc.). In three years blew his fortune, and by the revolution he had his capital (Shishkov). (company) snatched the government for post transportations from under the nose of … (Strugatsky brothers).

In terms of expression, the left valency of phraseological units of the studied group is represented by the nominative case of a noun or a pronoun, the right valency (object valency, or objectivity) – by government forms of objective cases with prepositions and without prepositions, i.e. at the syntactic level this type of valency is implemented by government. According to our card file, 73 % of bivalent phraseological units govern the accusative case without a preposition (model V + N4), and all units contain verbs in their composition as a component, which are obligatorily used with this case form:. A small group of units (9 %) uses a dative case without a preposition (model V + N3) as an object which is also associated with the syntactic potentials of the component verb:. One unit implements object semantic valency using a genitive case with a preposition (model V + pr + N2), which is also structurally conditional:–. So, in the absolute majority of units, the shape of an object is predetermined by the syntactic properties of the verb component.

There are isolated cases when the valency of the nominal component (model V + N2) is implemented together with a phraseological unit:.

The analysis showed that semantically identical object positions in processual phraseological units may be occupied by different case forms (Kazachuk, 2016). The semantics of the object in the members of the group is general, and its grammatical form, predetermined by the features of the structure of phraseological units, may be represented by different objective cases with prepositions and without prepositions, despite the fact that belonging to the same semantic group usually assumes the same type of co-occurrence.

The relationship of an external object and a verb and/or a nominal component is purely formal and is possible because there is a semantic need for this object for the whole unit. In this regard Zhukov noted that “through government ... a complex, contradictory nature of a phraseological unit is revealed: on the one hand, it has an integral meaning and therefore acts in relation to other lexical units in a sentence as one indivisible whole; on the other hand, a phraseological unit has a dismembered structure and therefore its components, due to the so-called grammatical “inertia”, to some extent strive to preserve the combination properties of words, i.e. the former “valency” (Zhukov, 1971).

Three actants (subject and two objects) are characteristic of the units of the second group, which in our material are represented by the following units: (control model V + pr + N2 + N3). They also show the relationship of an external object shape to the valency properties of the FU components.

Most units of the studied group are characterized by the presence of an incorporated actant, i.e. one that is included in the semantics of the phraseological unit. Phraseological unitsand the like have the object valency (object-deprivation subject), an explicable form of accusative case without a preposition (control model V + N4). They (owners) do not have the right to do this! – the workers shouted, – we have been working for years, we and the families have settled here! Do they think tous? (Gusev-Orenburgsky). With the arrival of his stepfather, the teenager was simply(Chelyabinsk worker). (Bondyreva): Why do you need a manager? ... This villain will you and the sisters (Ostrovsky).

But the actions indicated by such FU assume two object places: an object-subject, i.e. the one that is deprived, and an object-object, i.e. what is deprived. The object-subject is absorbed by the semantics of a unit implicitly contained in it, is not exploited in the external environment of a phraseological unit, since the latter does not have the corresponding syntactic valency, unlike the semantiser verb, which is obligatorily used with two dependent object forms: cf. The use of a phraseological unit with a more complex meaning compared to a verb allows simplifying the structure of a sentence, since one of the semantic valencies does not receive a syntactic expression.


Processual phraseological units with the semantics of deprivation are combined on the basis of the commonality of a meaningful feature, syntactic behavior, and their functions in certain contexts. These phraseological units are object units that indicate actions, properties, relationships towards an object or that are manifested in relation to an object. Object valency (objectivity) is the basis of government, which implements only those valency schemes in which the main component (lexeme or phraseological unit) requires a certain case or a prepositional-nominal form of the dependent component.


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29 November 2021

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Kazachuk, I. G., Ratushnaya, E. R., Glukhikh, N. V., & Shibakova, L. G. (2021). Valency And Government Of Processual Phraseological Units With Semantic Meaning Of Deprivation. 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.), Social and Cultural Transformations in The Context of Modern Globalism, vol 117. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 775-779). European Publisher.