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Proverbs, sayings, quotations.

A proverb is a short familiar epigrammatic saying expressing popular wisdom, a truth or a moral lesson in a concise and imaginative way. Proverbs have much in common with set expressions, because their lexical components are also constant, their meaning is traditional and mostly figurative, and they are introduced into speech ready-made. Another reason why proverbs must be taken into consideration together with set expressions is that they often form the basis of set expressions. e.g. the last straw breaks the camel’s back : : the last straw. Both set expressions and proverbs are sometimes split and changed for humorous purposes. They are collected in special dictionaries. The typical features: rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. The most characteristic feature of a proverb or a saying lies in the content-form of the utterance. Proverb presupposes a simultaneous application of 2 meanings: primary and contextual.

As to familiar quotations, they are different from proverbs in their origin. They come from literature but by and by they become part and parcel of the language, so that many people using them do not even know that they are quoting. Quotations from classical sources were once a recognised feature of public speech. A little learning is a dangerous thing; To err is human; ‘times change, and we change with them’They are usually marked off in the text by inverted commas, dashes, italics or other graphical means. Some quotations are so often used that they come to be considered clichés. The cliché (the word is French) is a metal block used for printing pictures and turning them out in great numbers. The term is used to denote such phrases as have become hackneyed and stale. Being constantly and mechanically repeated they have lost their original expressiveness and so are better avoided. to blaze a trail, consummate art, consummate skill, heights of tragedy, lofty flight of imagination. The so-called journalese has its own set of overworked phrases: to usher in a new age, to prove a boon to mankind, to pave the way to a bright new world, to spell the doom of civilization.

Basic vocabulary.

These words are stylistically neutral and opposed to formal and informal words. Their stylistic neutrality makes it possible to use them in all kinds of situations, both formal and informal, in verbal and written communication. These words are used every day, everywhere and by everybody, regardless of profession, occupation, educational level, age group or geographical location. These are words without which no human communication would be possible as they denote objects and phenomena of everyday importance (e. g. house, bread, summer, winter, child, mother, green, difficult, to go, to stand, etc.).

The basic vocabulary is the central group of the vocabulary, its historical foundation and living core. Their meanings are broad, general and directly convey the concept, without supplying any additional information.

For instance, the verb to walk means merely "to move from place to place on foot" whereas in the meanings of its synonyms to stride, to stroll, to trot, to stagger and others, some additional information is encoded as they each describe a different manner of walking, a different gait,tempo. Thus, to walk, with its direct broad meaning, is a typical basic vocabulary word.


The basic vocabulary and the stylistically marked strata of the vocabulary do not exist independently but are closely interrelated. Most stylistically marked words have their neutral counterparts in the basic vocabulary. (Basic-begin,formal-commence,inf-get started)

Date: 2016-03-03; view: 2036

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Free word-groups versus phraseological units. | Informal vocabulary.
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