Библиографическое описание:

Ахмадалиева С. М. The Role of Phraseology in Learning English // Молодой ученый. — 2016. — №3.1. — С. 27-29.


It is now commonly accepted that the people who want to master the English language must have knowledge about wide range of complex lexical in English as a foreign language learner. As our president I. A. Karimov states, every language learner should achieve the highest point in mastering a foreign language as native speakers do. Obviously, in order to command a foreign language deeply, a learner should learn pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. All of them are important to learn and at the same time they have problematic points for learners. Let us consider lexical problems in learning English, namely, the problem of phraseological units.

In linguistics, phraseology means a science of systems or types of fixed expressions like idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs and other kinds of multi-word lexical segments of a language. The components of a phrase are connected to each other in order to make one meaning in a sentence. Nevertheless, they cannot give that meaning when they are used independently.

Phraseology (from Greek — phrasis, “way of speaking” and — logia, “study of”) is a scholarly approach to language which was developed in twentieth century. It took its start when Charles Bally’s notion of locutions phraseologiques entered Russian lexicology and lexicography in the 1930s and 1940s [1]

But Merriam Webster’s dictionary states that the term phraseology came from new Latin Phraseologia and means a manner of organizing words and phrases into longer elements: style and choice of words.

Macmillan Dictionary also defines phraseology a particular way of putting words together to express something. Besides, this dictionary explains phraseology as terminology as it denotes the words and phrases used in a particular profession.

In Oxford English Dictionary the term phraseology is explained as uncountable and formal noun that means the particular way in which words and phrases are arranged when saying or writing something.

Exceeding from the above-mentioned ideas we can say not all of the definitions of phraseology are similar. For example, all definitions say that the word phraseology came from Greek word phrasis and logia except Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. It emphasizes that the word phraseology came from new Latin. Speaking about the meaning of the term phraseology, Wikipedia notes that it studies phraseological constructions and segments in a particular language. However, the Macmillan English Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary open its meaning as words and phrases used in a particular profession and putting words and phrases together to convey meaning while uttering or noting something.

Likewise, sources on Uzbek linguistics also define phraseology as a science that studies phrases, set phrases, even proverbs and sayings.

Therefore, we can say the function of phraseology of every language is to study phrases, multi-word language units with their direct as well indirect meanings that make language vivid and colourful.

According to the definitions and statements given above, we can surely state that every student who aims at commanding English deeply must know phraseology and they have to break their backs to learn it. When you come across with the idiom break their backs, you might understand it directly. However, your choice would be incorrect. Because all components in the idioms do not keep their lexical meanings. They can differ when they are used within the phrase or idiom.

The English language is full of phraseological units. Obviously, idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs and set expressions, aphorisms, maxims, proverbs and sayings are the main units of any language, without them our language may seem shallow or boring. Such linguistic units play an active role in our speech, language and culture, they make the language and speech colourful as well as attractive. Time by time they are being developed and polished. It is impossible not to mention about these units while learning the language. However, students may face difficulties in differing these terms from each other. Let us consider them briefly.

A phrase is a group of related words that do not include subject-verb relationship. From syntactical viewpoint no matter how many words the phrase consists of, all the elements are regarded as a single unit. Phrases may be of different kinds.


  • The pretty and clever girl — noun phrase
  • My favorite football player, best goal keeper, Ignatiy Nesterov have been playing for Uzbekistan’s combined team for a long times — appositive phrase
  • I cannot find the books that I put on the shelf yesterday — prepositional phrase

An idiom like a phrase is a group of words. However, the most distinguishing feature of an idiom is that its meaning is hardly predictable as the meaning of the idiom stays far from the lexical meaning of the components of the idiom.


  •                     big fish — an important person (in a particular social group)
  •                     rain cats and dogs — rain hard
  •                     kill two birds with one stone — succeed in doing two things at the same time
  •                     a green thumb a careful gardener

However, it should be mentioned that lexical meanings of the elements of the idiom are helpful in guessing the logical meaning of the idiom. For instance, metaphorically by green we understand trees, wood, garden, etc.

Set expression as its name says is a fixed expression. By set expressions some scientists mean idioms, but others do not support this idea. Consequently, learners wrestle with the question whether they are the same. Actually, the word fixed means “unchangeable”. In this sense, the followings may be examples for set expressions:

By the way

Take for granted

For ages

Many happy returns!

Coming up from these examples, we can say idioms and set expressions are not purely the same; the identity is only in the degree of being fixed.

The term phrasal verb is commonly applied to two or three distinct but related words in English. A phrasal verb consists of the combination of a verb and an adverb or a verb and a preposition. Like idioms, the meaning of a phrasal verb is not predictable. Examples:

  •    break up end a relationship
  •    call on visit somebody
  •    cut off take out of a will.

Many sources support that the meaning of a phrasal verb is not predictable. However, some phrasal verbs denote several meanings. For example, cut off as mentioned above means “take out of a will”. But, one more meaning of this phrasal verb is “remove with something sharp”. The latter meaning may be predicted. The meaning of eat out (eat at a restaurant) is also predictable due to the lexical meanings of the constituents.

To summarize, set expressions and idioms have nearly similar character: the elements of each unit do not save their lexical meanings in idioms, sometimes in set expressions. On the contrary, the components of a phrase keep their lexical meaning. Also, the components of a phrasal verb occasionally keep their lexical meaning, but often not.

As language is dynamic, new and new literary as well colloquial expressions appear constantly. Due to such changes, languages become richer in vocabulary. On the other hand, dynamic processes in language challenge language learners to spend a special time for the study of fixed and non-fixed expressions. It is probably fair to say that phraseology as an individual part of linguistics should be carefully and profoundly studied by language learners as phrases, set expressions, idioms as well as fixed sayings are widely used in both written and oral speech in any language, particularly in English. In one word, I believe that the EFL learner must study the phraseology — phraseological units, their origin, characteristics and usage, cultural specifics, etc. — in order to speak fluently and accurately as well as understand thoroughly as a native speaker for it helps the EFL students to make a complex speech and feel confident.

1. www.en.m.wikipedia.org

Основные термины: phrasal verb, phraseology, language, term phraseology, phrasal verbs, lexical meanings, phrases, Oxford English Dictionary, lexical meaning, word phraseology, phraseological units, term phrasal verb, foreign language, multi-word lexical segments, words, phraseology as terminology, expressions, idioms, foreign language learner, multi-word language units


Социальные комментарии Cackle