The article considers the numeral «three» in the phraseological units of the German language. The phraseological environment promotes the desemantization of a component of this kind, its loss of mathematical significance. The studied numbering phraseological units allow figuratively speaking about various phenomena of human life and activity.
Keywords: phraseological units, component of phraseological units — numeral, three, drei, non-mathematical significance, symbolism.
Numbers have always played a special role in human life, regardless of their cultural affiliation. Today, the numerical symbolism that underlies many life patterns is reflected in the speech of different peoples of the world [2, p. 3]. The first attempts at a special analysis of numbers, the study of their harmony and aesthetics date back to the Pythagoreans [5, p. 629]. The ancient peoples spoke of the sacred power of numbers, attributed to them a special hidden meaning. Over the centuries, certain numbers acquired new symbolic meanings, their place in the knowledge of the world changed. The number three was distinguished by special mystical semantics in many cultures. Thus, the idea of a triune deity lies at the heart of many religious and philosophical teachings.
In addition, with the number three, the three-dimensionality of our space, three-phase state of matter. The number three occupies a special place in German culture. Recall at least the famous German national holiday: Dreikönigstag —The Day of the Three Kings, annually celebrated on the twelfth day after Christmas. Also, for Christians in Germany, the concept of die Dreieinigkeit — the Trinity — is holy. In addition, with the help of the numeral drei, a huge number of German words are formed: der Dreikäsehoch — a little boy (infant boy), der Dreier — a coin (small) with a value of three pfennig, das Dreigespann — three (horses), etc. [3, p. 124].
The numeral drei is also widely represented in the phraseology of the German language. And since the phraseological composition of the language is the most specific part of the lexicon, the drei component in the phraseological environment takes on new symbolic meanings [6, p. 560]. In addition, the numeral name, becoming a component of phraseological units, loses its exact numerical values. The material of our study was 28 phraseological units with the drei component, selected by the continuous sampling method from the German dictionary of stable expressions “Duden. Das Worterbuch der deutschen Idiomatik ”and the German-Russian phraseological dictionary.
Especially, according to the classification of V. V. Vinogradova and I. I. Chernysheva, to phraseologisms we include not only idioms, but also phrases of such types as proverbs and sayings. Often the number three is qualified as perfect. The numeral name drei in German phraseological units is not only an image of absolute perfection, superiority, but also the main constant of the mythopoetic macrocosm and social organization.
In steady terms, die Heilige Dreieinigkeit– “bibl. Holy Trinity ”, a symbol of holiness and divinity of the numeral“ three ”is emphasized by an adjective agreed with him. In Eric Noich’s novel “Trail of stones” we find: “Kriech zu Kreuze, Kaiser, und die Heilige Dreieinigkeit bleibt dir wohlgesonnen”. (1964) [8, p. 82]. It should be noted that such unfree combinations of words, as if seeking to become one word, one lexeme, without losing the form of the word combination, are considered lexical [4, p. 67]. The semantics of such phrases are not determined by the sum of the values of their component. All this only emphasizes the rethinking of the numbering component of drei in phraseological units. In German culture we find other phraseological units, also related to the semantic field of religion and belief: Drei Kreuze hinter j-m / etw. machen — “the custom of baptizing a person three times in front of a business or a long journey”, Aller guten Dinge sind drei — (up to three good things in all good things). Compare, the Russian counterpart — God loves the trinity. Last phraseology is often used to justify or encourage what did not work the first and second time.
The number three in German culture can also serve as a symbol of happiness: das dreifache Ausspucken über die Schulter — ext. «Spit over three times over the shoulder». This ritual according to signs brings happiness. The component under consideration may have a symbolic meaning of exaggeration, of some infinity. So, for example, the meaning of the hyperbolicity drei brings in the expression Es dauert ewig und drei Tage — “something lasts forever and another three days”, that is, something infinitely long. The meaning of constancy is seen in the phraseological unit: alle drei Tage — «almost every day».
In many phraseological units containing the numeral drei, the features of the Germans' life are reflected. So, for example, in phraseological units: der letzte Dreier “last penny”, der eine ist einen Dreier wert, der andere drei Pfennige — “each other is standing; two pair boots, «er läßt sich für einen Dreier ein Loch durch die Nase bohren (or Ring durch die Nase ziehen) -" for a penny he’s ready to hurt himself in a cake "(literally. for a penny he will give himself a hole in his nose; for a penny he will give himself a nose ring to insert [1, p. 152].
The numeral name “drei” is also presented in proverbs, for example, measure the analogue of the Russian proverb seven times — cut once: Man muß dreimal messen, ehe man einmal schneidet. In the phraseological unit under consideration, the special non-mathematical significance of the drei component is once again traced: here it expresses the general significance of the fact that the action must be done “several (many) times”, “more than once”.
At the same time, in German phraseology there are also units with practically the opposite meaning of the numeral drei: “a little”, “a small amount”. For example, mit drei Worten / in drei Worten— “briefly”, “in a nutshell”. Or, for example, in the proverb: Was drei wissen, das erfahren hundert — «what three people know, one hundred will know».
There are many so-called interjection phraseological units in German idioms, that is, according to the categorical attribute correlated with interjections: dreimal darfst du raten! — “try, guess!”, In drei Teufels Namen / in drei Henkers Namen — “damn it!”, “ hell ”, bleib mir drei Schritte vom Leibe—“ leave me alone! ” [7, p.168]. Such persistent phrases express the speaker's motives, feelings, and emotions, but do not name them. Thus, the number drei in the idiom of the German language has a wide range of symbolic meanings. In phraseological units with a component — the numeral “three” the mentality of the German people is reflected.
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