Volume 8, Issue 5, September 2020, Page: 185-191
Phrasal Verbs Revisited: A Probe into Semantics and Functioning of English Phrasal Constructions
Natalia Gvishiani, Department of English Linguistics, Faculty of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Received: Feb. 28, 2020;       Accepted: Sep. 3, 2020;       Published: Sep. 16, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijll.20200805.11      View  80      Downloads  37
The present study focuses on the distinction between the ‘idiom’ and the ‘open choice’ principle in constructing speech with reference to phrasal and semi-phrasal verbs in contemporary English. The semi-compositional reading of some phrasal verbs points to their syntactic, not phraseological nature, and distinguishes them from ready-made idiomatic units. If semi-phrasal verbs get into dictionaries, they are usually listed in the adverb’s entry. Compositional phrasal verbs are found to implement semantic patterns with adverbial particles adding pragmatic refinements to the verb’s meaning. Being used in variable contexts, semi-phrasal verbs get the ‘support’ from adverbial particles showing the ‘vector’ of the action expressed by the verb. The analysis of pragmatic characteristics of phrasal verbs suggests that one of the factors that affect the selection process for the speaker in choosing between a phrasal verb and a monolexemic verb of Romance origin is the functional-stylistic feature of formality / informality. In a preliminary way, variation of choice was considered with reference to translation versions of a literary text. There are indications that monolexemic verbs occur more frequently in the translation version published in the USA. As for lexicographic descriptions and ELT instruction, it is concluded that the adverbial element should be brought more into the limelight as shaping the semantic pattern of the phrasal construction and its functioning in speech.
Idiomatic / Non-idiomatic Phraseology, Compositional / Semi-compositional Phrasal Verbs, Pragmatic Refinements of Meaning, Semantic / Conceptual Patterns, Variable / Invariable Contexts
To cite this article
Natalia Gvishiani, Phrasal Verbs Revisited: A Probe into Semantics and Functioning of English Phrasal Constructions, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 8, No. 5, 2020, pp. 185-191. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20200805.11
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This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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