Lexical Variation within Phraseological Units

By November 17, 2016,
Page 893-904
Author Tarja Riitta Heinonen
Title Lexical Variation within Phraseological Units
Abstract This paper discusses lexical variation in phraseological units from theoretical and lexicographical perspectives. The starting point is the observation that the existence of lexical variation is sometimes disputed in principle. It has been argued that a change in a single word is sufficient to change the meaning of the whole, thus creating a new expression. Another argument is that after allowing variation in one word one cannot but allow it in multiple words, which quickly turns the original expression unrecognizable. In contrast to these views, this paper argues that lexical variation is not arbitrary but follows certain principles. When all contributing factors are taken into account, the variation in phraseological units is often item-specific, and yet it conforms to general patterns. Towards the end of the paper, Petrova’s (2011) multi-level model will be introduced, offering a promising view for theoretical analysis. However, in dictionary work it is reasonable to adhere to generally accepted conventions and not to complicate the structure of the entries too much. An ideal entry gives a sound corpus-based description with representative examples of usage.
Session Phraseology and Collocation
Keywords phraseology; lexical variation; usage-based; idiomatic meaning; lexicographical practices
author={Tarja Riitta Heinonen },
title={Lexical Variation within Phraseological Units},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 16th EURALEX International Congress},
address={Bolzano, Italy},
editor={Abel, Andrea and Vettori, Chiara and Ralli, Natascia},
publisher={EURAC research},