THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF THE STUDY OF IDIOMS IN ENGLISH: DEFINITIONS, IDEAS, AND APPROACHES
The article is a study on the theoretical aspects of English idioms. Key frameworks regarding the study of idioms in English are considered. The traditional approach to the study of idioms originated from the Russian phraseology and is largely based on the principle of non-compositionality of meaning. According to this line of thinking, idiomaticity, if viewed from a semantic standpoint, is a cline, accounting for such opaque idioms as pull one’s leg, on the one hand, and fairly transparent phrases, such as go wrong, on the other hand. On the contrary, the cognitive approach argues for four criteria as to describing idiomaticity in English, i.e. semantic non-compositionality (decoding idioms – encoding idioms), grammatical normativity (grammatical idioms – extra-grammatical idioms), valency (substantive idioms – formal idioms), and pragmatic pointedness (idioms with pragmatic point – idioms without pragmatic point). In the present paper, an alternative model of idiomaticity in English, drawing on the ideas of the traditional and cognitive strands as to the study of idioms, is suggested. To this end, two types of units are proposed: idiomatic constructions (incorporating one fixed element) and idiomatic expressions (all constituent elements are relatively or fully fixed). The key criteria put forth for the model of English idiomaticity are non-compositionality, substantivization, and reproducibility.