Идиоматические выражения и их способы передачи на русский язык

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1.1. Idioms in Lexicography 5
1.2. Structure of Idioms 10
1.3. Idioms and Russian Mentality 13
1.4. Metaphor as the Way of Idioms Presentation 17
2.1. Idioms in Advertisements 25
2.2. Idioms in Fiction 29
2.2.1. Research Idioms at Rаnkin’s Work 32
2.3. Difficulties the Translator Meets in Translating Idioms 52
2.4. Differences and Usage idioms in American English and British English 55



1.1. Idioms in Lexicography 5
1.2. Structure of Idioms 10
1.3. Idioms and Russian Mentality 13
1.4. Metaphor as the Way of Idioms Presentation 17
2.1. Idioms in Advertisements 25
2.2. Idioms in Fiction 29
2.2.1. Research Idioms at Rаnkin’s Work 32
2.3. Difficulties the Translator Meets in Translating Idioms 52
2.4. Differences and Usage idioms in American English and British English 55



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Idioms form the majority and may be regarded as the prototype of the phraseological unit. Non-idioms have transparent meanings and include technical terms (terminological word groups), onymic entities (i.e. phrases which are proper names), clichés, paraphrasal verbs, and other set expressions. Examples of the latter category include:
(2) unconditional surrender, the benefit of the doubt the Black Sea, the Golden Twenties an eloquent silence of paramount importance, gainfully employed wet/ drenched to the skin beyond compare, beneath contempt.
The phrase brave new world has become a catchphrase and designates-according to the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (ODEI)23 - 'a new era brought about by revolutionary changes, reforms, etc.'. It has negative expressive connotations derived from the utopian novel by Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. In terms of intertextuality, the book's title is an allusion to Miranda's words in Shakespeare's The Tempest. In the present article, the phrase rouses a whole complex of associations and has more expressive power than its possible nonidiomatic substitute an alarming/threatening future.
The phrase Pandora's box is an allusion to antiquity, the Greek cultural heritage, and has literary connotations. It is absent from idiomatic dictionaries, but the Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD)24 gives the following explanation: 'the box from which the ills of mankind were released by Pandora, the first mortal woman, only Hope remaining'. Here again, we could replace the figurative phrase by a stylistically neutral expression - e.g. the root of all evil, the consequences of biological manipulation, and the expressive value of the sentence would be considerably weakened. Moreover, the allusion to Frankenstein, the humanoid, blood-sucking monster-figure, would be isolated from the previously mentioned mythological context, and the whole sentence structure would be unbalanced. The phrases hot news and dead donkey are reminiscent of journalist jargon, the latter usually meaning a human-interest story.
Another example comes from a popular scientific article in The New Scientist (20 March 1993: 31) which deals with laser beams and their application in medicine:
(6) The Achilles heel of the X-ray laser turned out to lie in how tightly the beam can be focused. Chemical, free-electron and most other lasers, the light is forced to travel back and forth between a pair of mirrors so that it is amplified and forms a tightly directed beam.
The idiomatic phrase Achilles heel, another allusion to ancient history and Greek antiquity, has literary connotations, and is suitable in the present context. It could be substituted by a wordy circumlocution like the weak point (or problematic nature) of the X-ray laser. The alternative, however, is less pithy, and the loss of stylistic expressiveness can be felt.
Chapter 2. Realization of Idiomatic expressions and the ways of their translation into Russian
2.1. Idioms in Advertisements
Advertisements for consumer goods, technical devices, investments, and services tend to make use of idioms and phrases25. The headings of such texts may have the function of advertising slogans, as is borne out by the following excerpt from a student dissertation:
(13) Big is beautiful; Blended to your taste; Britain at its best (England having the top position in a certain field); Safety first (Safety devices at work); Time is money; Too good to be true; The bottom line is excellence (the firm's basic principle is excellent quality)26.
Examples from a monograph by Bürli-Storz ( 1980) highlight deliberate ambiguity in advertising. Oil's well that ends up in an Avis car (an advertisement for an oil company) involves modification of the proverb All's Well that Ends Well; while Familiarity breeds content (an advertisement for Swan Vesta Matches) involves modification and semantic conversion of the proverb Familiarity breeds contempt. In the given context, a match, as an indispensible aid to daily living in the household, is associated with familiarity in a favourable sense. Thus, the well-known product gives the user satisfaction. In example, straight out of the flying plane into the foyer (an advertisement for an airline company), the wording is a modification of the proverbial saying out of the frying pan into the fire, whose meaning ('from a bad situation to one that is worse') has been completely reversed. Emphasis is placed on the easy passage from the plane into the reception area of the airport, with air-conditioning and all modern conveniences. The phonetic pattern is of particular interest27.
The following example (from the Sunday Times Magazine of 25 September 1983: 124-5) is the entire text of an advertisement containing several idioms:
(14) You've heard of the BAKER'S DOZEN Well, Tesco Didn't Just Stop There.
Many bakers would have called it a day after coming up with all our white and brown breads: crusty, uncut, sliced, wheatgerm, bran and wholemeal.
Most would certainly have rested on their laurels after baking all of our buns (burger, bath, fruit, iced, Belgian, Chelsea), and all of our rolls (snack, finger, morning, bran and muesli).
But at Tesco we then went on (and on) to include crumpets, muffins, fruited batch, floured baps, sultana scones, syrup pancakes, pitta bread and croissants.
In all we've introduced well over sixty different bakery lines, and we're not at the end of the line yet.
Why not give some a try?
Though we feel we should warn you, once you've started you'll probably find it very difficult to stop.
We couldn't.
Today's TESCO
The stylistic effect of this advertisement for the bakery line originates not only from the cumulative enumeration of the whole assortment (which in fact constitutes a commercial nomenclature), but also from the skilful application of idioms.
The idiom a baker's dozen has historical associations: 'Formerly bakers were punished if they sold loaves of bread below a lawful weight. To each dozen (12) loaves that were sold, therefore, an extra loaf was added free, to keep the weight above the lawful standard' ( LDEI).
The verbal idioms to call it a day ( ODEI (informal), 'decide or agree to stop (doing sth.), either temporarily or for good') and to rest on one's laurels ( LDEI, coll., 'to be content with successes already gained and not attempt to increase them') are contextual synonyms and form a logical antithesis to the restless endeavours of the TESCO bakery line (note went on and on -- a phrasal verb). The last idiom in this text is the paraphrasal verb to give (something) a try, another indicator of the colloquial level of the whole advertising text. The substitution test -replacing idioms by non-idiomatic vocabulary -- would result in a substantial loss of stylistic colour.
An advertisement for an insurance company, the National Provident Institution (NPI), contains a modification of the proverbial saying to keep up with the Joneses:
(15) The Joneses kept up with each other until they retired.
(The accompanying illustration shows two different couples at different garden gates with different facial expressions: No. 50 dejected vs. No. 52 amused and happy).
Numerical data: £2,732 p.a. state pension vs., £8,320 p.a. NPI pension.
The text reads:
They were earning the same salaries. With identical houses. Comparable cars. And matching lifestyles. But the similarities stopped when they stopped work.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones at number 50 found themselves struggling to scrape by.
While the Joneses at number 52 carried on as before, living happier ever after.
Not surprisingly, the difference between a retirement dream and a pensioner's nightmare is: money.
Or, more accurately, the lack of it. . . .
Ask your broker, bank manager or other adviser about NIP.
Or clip the coupon.
After all, which of the Joneses would you rather keep up with?
The idiom to keep up with the Joneses ( LDEI, coll., 'to compete with other people for a better social position, e.g. to buy more or better material things than one's neighbours') and the phrase which finishes English fairy-tales, and they lived happily ever after (here in the modified form of the comparative), add to the stylistic effect of this advertisement.
2.2. Idioms in Fiction
A literary author, depicting a reality of his or her own imagination, has recourse to the whole wealth of the national standard language with its expressive means on different stylistic levels28. The fictional world may be presented to the reader in a quite realistic way, when the author uses direct speech to characterize a real situation and real figures (dramatis personae).
(16)(a) 'Hello, old man,' he said. 'Long time no see.'
'We've been playing Box and Cox.' I said. 'When we came back from our holidays you went on yours29.'
(b)'It's lovely to see you both again,' she said. 'We've kept missing each other . . .'
' Box and Cox', Sybil said. 'Many happy returns, Susan.'30
This stretch of discourse contains typical conversational formulae at a colloquial level of discourse: formulae of salutation (hello, old man; long time no see) and a congratulatory formula on the occasion of someone's birthday and the idiom Box and Cox (ODEI, 'from a story -- also the theme of a short Gilbert and Sullivan opera -- of two lodgers named Box and Cox who shared the same room unknown to each other, one occupying it by day, the other by night').
As an example of a very elaborated technique of the interior monologue (represented speech) which forms the artistic principle of a whole novel, I have chosen the German author Christa Wolf and her book Kein Ort. Nirgends (1979). Christa Wolf experiments with language and also taps the potential of idioms and phrases, as the following passages exemplify. I refer to the English translation from the German by Jan van Heurck ( 1982). The translator has carefully observed Christa Wolf's habits of style and has been able to offer a functional equivalent of the German phrase. The leading figure of the quoted passage is the German poet and playwright Heinrich von Kleist, who committed suicide.
(17) (a) Gedanken nutzen sich ab wie Münzen, die von Hand zu Hand gehen, oder wie Vorstellungen, die man sich immer wieder vors innere Auge ruft.31
Thoughts get worn out, like coins which are passed from hand to hand, or like images that one calls to mind over and over32.
(b)Er hat die Wahl -- falls das eine Wahl ist -- das verzehrende Ungenügen, sein bestes Teil, planvoll in sich abzutöten oder ihm freien Laufzu lassen und am irdischen Elend zugrunde zu gehn. Sich Zeit und Ort nach eigner Notwendigkeit zu schaffen oder nach gewdhnlichem Zuschnitt zu vegetieren. Recht hübsch das. Die Mächte, die ihn in ihren Klauen haben -- durch Geringschätzigkeit beleidigen sie ihn nicht. Das wird die einzige Genugtuung sein, die er in seinem Leben erf?hrt. Und er wird sich ebenbärtig zeigen. Kein anderer wird das Urteil an ihm vollstrecken als er selbst. Die Hand, die schuldig werden mußte, vollzieht die Strafe. Ein Schicksalnach seinem Geschmack33.
He has the choice -- assuming that it can justly be called a choice -either to systematically annihilate in himself that consuming dissatisfaction which is the best thing in him, or to give free rein to it and be destroyed by his temporary misery.
To create time and space in accordance with the necessity of his own being, or simply to vegetate in a run-ofthe-mill existence. Really, a nice touch, that. The Powers who have him in their clutches do not demean him by esteeming him lightly. This is the only compensation he will know in his life. And he is determined to show himself worthy of it. No other than himself will execute judgement upon him. The hand which was fated to commit the crime will carry out the sentence. A destiny after his own heart34.
Christa Wolf's text of narrative and reflection has a remarkable density of idioms, phrases, and collocations which underpin the rich imagery of this passage. The phraseological units can be grouped into various thematic fields. One of them is characterized by dynamism (relating to Kleist's personal state of unrest, anxiety, and despair): von Hand zu Hand gehen(to be passed from hand to hand);sich immer wieder vors innere Auge rufen(to call to mind over and over);freien Lauf lassen (to give free rein). The second thematic field includes phrases referring to social status (Kleist could not adapt himself to the life style of Prussian feudalism): nach gewöhnlichem Zuschnitt(a run-of-the-mill existence);recht hübsch das(a nice touch, that) -- an old-fashioned routine formula used in polite conversation; sich ebenbürtig erweisen(to show oneself worthy of it). The third thematic field covers collocations of legal language. Kleist, through his administrative and clerical work in the Prussian state, was familiar with them; Christa Wolf deliberately uses these phrases to describe Kleist's stream of consciousness in interior monologue: schuldig werden(to commit a/the crime);das Urteil vollstrecken (to execute judgement);die Strafe vollziehen(to carry out the sentence). The latter two are contextual synonyms and support the effect of stylistic variation. The English translator has convincingly proved his understanding of the stylistic effect of the phraseological units in the source language text and succeeded in conveying a similar impressive value in the target language text. His translation amply reflects the mood of Christa Wolf's narrative.
2.2.1. Research Idioms at Rаnkin’s Work
We research idioms at Rankin’s work because Ian Rankin is the UK's number one best-selling crime writer. He lives in Edinburgh, and writes about the city in his award-winning 'Inspector Rebus' novels. The books have twice been dramatised for television (starring John Hannah and Ken Stott respectively), and are translated into 36 languages. Ian Rankin also appears regularly on television, notably as a reviewer on BBC2's 'Newsnight Review'. His three-part documentary series on the subject of evil was broadcast on Channel 4 in December 2002.
Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh and has since been employed as grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist and punk musician.  He was a prize-winning poet and short-story writer before turning to novels with The Flood (1986), followed by Knots & Crosses, the first of his powerful Inspector Rebus novels, in 1987.
Ian has won many writing awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction for Black & Blue (1997), the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel for Resurrection Men (2004) – which also won the Deutsche Krimi Prize, Germany’s most prestigious award for crime fiction – and he has twice won the Crime Writers' Association Macallan Short Story Dagger Award (1994 and 1996). In 2005 he received the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the British Book Awards Crime Thriller of the Year for Fleshmarket Close (2004) and France’s most prestigious award for crime fiction, the Grand Prix du Roman Policier, for Set in Darkness (2000). In 2007 he repeated his success at the British Book Awards, winning the Crime Thriller of the Year for The Naming of the Dead (2006).
In 2009 Ian was rewarded for his outstanding contribution to the cultural and social landscape of Edinburgh when he became the first recipient of the Edinburgh Award and was also appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Abertay Dundee, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University. He has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, is a past winner of the prestigious Chandler-Fulbright Award and was recently elected Edinburgh University’s Alumnus of the Year. He has an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Birthday Honours List in June 2003.
Let’s conduct the analysis of fragments from some Rаnkin’s works. The use of fhraseological unit (FU) is in texts of writer, and also transformed FU, is the expressive line of authorial style, original language game. Semantic double plans that arises up here forces a reader to begin to think, to deepen in the semantic copulas of text and serves as an instrument for creation of pragmatic effects. Most trade in relation to creation of the set pragmatic effect and aspiration of reader perception is mark text of novel "Knots and Crosses", "Tooth".
There is wedged adverb practically modifies the value of component nothing semantically, expressed by the negative pronoun, at FU a fuss about nothing is 'the fire of anger or disturbance about something unimportant'35 here. This semantic modification results in intensification of value FU at whole; by the noun in function of atribute to the substantival component of FU:
(1) Laine’s was a voice of reasoned sanity. “You’re about a bullock hair’s breadth away from an official reprimand, understand?”36
At this fragment transformation is determined by wedging the noun bullock as atribute to the substantival component hairs in FU a hair's breadth - 'on a hairspring from something'37, that strengthens expressiveness the utterance. The increase of expressivity has a discursive value: this utterance is included in the row of facilities the creation of contextual tension at the novel.
Semantic focusing the maintenance of proverb results in a volume that the used part begins to function as independent FU (saying, proverbs, and others like that), about what testifies varities of the dictionary fixing and expressive possibilities of this type of reduction FU:
(2) “We’ ll be working with the Army on this one, John. That’s how it’s done, apparently. And then there’s Scotland Yard, too. Their anti-terrorist people.”
“Too many cooks if you ask me, sir.”
Watson nodded. “Still, these buggers are supposed to be specialized.”38
At the brought fragment over look after chopping off the predicative part of spoil the broth proverb too many cooks spoil the broth - 'where many nursemaids, there child without an eye'39 that generates new brief form of saying. The wide use of the known base proverb determines the correct understanding of context, in that implicitly there is the cut off part spoil the broth.
There was considered FU reduction for one class of phraseological units - fourth that includes a proverb and saying. Frequency of FU of this class with chopping off is high enough, however more often transformations of this kind are observed for nominative-communicative FU (Class 2) and substantive FU (Class 1).
The analysis of text material shows that actualization of FU-title can be base on not only double actualization of FU or its transform but also on the phenomena of polysemy and homonymy. Let’s show it on the example the text of story "Tit for Tat" (I.Rankin). For the title the author uses FU from fully by the desemantic components tit for tat is a 'blow for a blow, repayment, tooth for a tooth'40. At the detective story really speech goes about the repayment: an arson was perfect in the apartment of young man. It was revenge for his humiliating for other people hobby. He had fun that by means of perfect optics examined through windows the apartments of neighbours and secretly did the photos of women. Fact of presence unoften the used optics and photographic technique he explained love to looking after birds.
At conceptual framework of text concept REPAYMENT, that from the beginning is set by FU-title, is actulized 6 times, however by means of other conceptors. Word-combinations that does not have components of analysable FU in the composition come forward at the beginning of text story of conseptors, however belong to the common with him semantic field and that is why create character of repayment or revenge in text. For example:
(3) “Any reason,” Rebus asked, “why anyone would bear Mr. Brodie a grudge?”41

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