The vocabulary of a language is enriched not only by words but also by phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech, they exist in the language as ready-made units. They are compiled in special dictionaries. The same as words phraseological units express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it. American and British lexicographers call such units źidioms╗. We can mention such dictionaries as: L.Smith źWords and Idioms╗, V.Collins źA Book of English Idioms╗ etc. In these dictionaries we can find words, peculiar in their semantics (idiomatic), side by side with word-groups and sentences. In these dictionaries they are arranged, as a rule, into different semantic groups.
Phraseological units can be classified according to the ways they are formed, according to the degree of the motivation of their meaning, according to their structure and according to their part-of-speech meaning.
WAYS OF FORMING PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS
A.V. Koonin classified phraseological units according to the way they are formed. He pointed out primary and secondary ways of forming phraseological units.
Primary ways of forming phraseological units are those when a unit is formed on the basis of a free word-group :
a) Most productive in Modern English is the formation of phraseological units by means of transferring the meaning of terminological word-groups, e.g. in cosmic technique we can point out the following phrases: źlaunching pad╗ in its terminological meaning is ź˝˛Ó˛ţÔÓ ´Űţ¨ÓńŕÓ╗ , in its transferred meaning - źţ˛´ÓÔÝţÚ ´ˇÝŕ˛╗, źto link up╗ - źc˛űŕţÔÓ˛Ř˝ , ˝˛űŕţÔÓ˛Ř ŕţ˝ýŔ¸ň˝ŕŔň ŕţÓßŰŔ╗ in its tranformed meaning it means -źšÝÓŕţýŔ˛Ř˝ ╗;
b) a large group of phraseological units was formed from free word groups by transforming their meaning, e.g. źgranny farm╗ - ź´ÓÝ˝ŔţÝÓ˛ ńŰ ´ň˝˛ÓňŰű§╗, źTroyan horse╗ - źŕţý´Ř■˛ţÝÓ ´ţŃÓýýÓ, ´ňńÝÓýňňÝÝţ ˝ţ˝˛ÓÔŰňÝÝÓ ńŰ ´ţÔňŠńňÝŔ ŕţý´Ř■˛ňÓ╗;
c) phraseological units can be formed by means of alliteration , e.g. źa sad sack╗ - źÝň˝¸Ó˝˛ÝűÚ ˝Űˇ¸ÓÚ╗, źculture vulture╗ - ź¸ňŰţÔňŕ, ŔÝ˛ňň˝ˇ■¨ŔÚ˝ Ŕ˝ŕˇ˝˝˛Ôţý╗, źfudge and nudge╗ - źˇŕŰţÝ¸ŔÔţ˝˛Ř╗.
d) they can be formed by means of expressiveness, especially it is characteristic for forming interjections, e.g. źMy aunt!╗, ź Hear, hear !╗ etc
e) they can be formed by means of distorting a word group, e.g. źodds and ends╗ was formed from źodd ends╗,
f) they can be formed by using archaisms, e.g. źin brown study╗ means źin gloomy meditation╗ where both components preserve their archaic meanings,
g) they can be formed by using a sentence in a different sphere of life, e.g. źthat cock wonĺt fight╗ can be used as a free word-group when it is used in sports (cock fighting ), it becomes a phraseological unit when it is used in everyday life, because it is used metaphorically,
h) they can be formed when we use some unreal image, e.g. źto have butterflies in the stomach╗ - źŔ˝´ű˛űÔÓ˛Ř ÔţŰÝňÝŔň╗, źto have green fingers╗ - ╗´ňˇ˝´ňÔÓ˛Ř ŕÓŕ ˝ÓńţÔţń-Ű■ßŔ˛ňŰŘ╗ etc.
i) they can be formed by using expressions of writers or polititions in everyday life, e.g. źcorridors of power╗ (Snow), źAmerican dream╗ (Alby) źlocust years╗ (Churchil) , źthe winds of change╗ (Mc Millan).
Secondary ways of forming phraseological units are those when a phraseological unit is formed on the basis of another phraseological unit; they are:
a) conversion, e.g. źto vote with oneĺs feet╗ was converted into źvote with oneĺs f eet╗;
b) changing the grammar form, e.g. źMake hay while the sun shines╗ is transferred into a verbal phrase - źto make hay while the sun shines╗;
c) analogy, e.g. źCuriosity killed the cat╗ was transferred into źCare killed the cat╗;
d) contrast, e.g. źcold surgery╗ - źa planned before operation╗ was formed by contrasting it with źacute surgery╗, źthin cat╗ - źa poor person╗ was formed by contrasting it with źfat cat╗;
e) shortening of proverbs or sayings e.g. from the proverb źYou canĺt make a silk purse out of a sowĺs ear╗ by means of clipping the middle of it the phraseological unit źto make a sowĺs ear╗ was formed with the meaning źţ°ŔßÓ˛Ř˝ ╗.
f) borrowing phraseological units from other languages, either as translation loans, e.g. ź living space╗ (German), ź to take the bull by the horns╗ ( Latin) or by means of phonetic borrowings źmeche blanche╗ (French), źcorpse dĺelite╗ (French), źsotto voce╗ (Italian) etc.
Phonetic borrowings among phraseological units refer to the bookish style and are not used very often.
SEMANTIC CLASSIFICATION OF PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS
Phraseological units can be classified according to the degree of motivation of their meaning. This classification was suggested by acad. V.V. Vinogradov for Russian phraseological units. He pointed out three types of phraseological units:
a) fusions where the degree of motivation is very low, we cannot guess the meaning of the whole from the meanings of its components, they are highly idiomatic and cannot be translated word for word into other languages, e.g. on Shankĺs mare - (on foot), at sixes and sevens - (in a mess) etc;
b) unities where the meaning of the whole can be guessed from the meanings of its components, but it is transferred (metaphorical or metonymical), e.g. to play the first fiddle ( to be a leader in something), old salt (experienced sailor) etc;
c) collocations where words are combined in their original meaning but their combinations are different in different languages, e.g. cash and carry - (self-service shop), in a big way (in great degree) etc.