The usage of the names of the week’s days in the English phraseological units

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Рубрика: Филология

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Galimova E., Gorshkova A. The usage of the names of the week’s days in the English phraseological units // Студенческий форум: электрон. научн. журн. 2019. № 23(74). URL: https://nauchforum.ru/journal/stud/74/55476 (дата обращения: 23.04.2021).
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The usage of the names of the week’s days in the English phraseological units

Galimova Elida
Student, Elabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University, Russia Elabuga
Gorshkova Aigul
Student, Elabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University, Russia Elabuga


Abstract. The article considers various sources of the origin of the names of the week’s days in the English language, where the significant contribution of the Bible, the people and writers to the phraseology enrichment of the English language is determined.


Keywords: phraseology, phraseological unit, name of the week’s days, source of origin.


Phraseology is a branch of linguistics that aims to study stable, idiomatic combinations – phraseological units, which in normal circumstances are understood as idioms, phrases, proverbs and sayings. The existing lexical system of language is not always able to fully provide the name of new concepts, phenomena that appear in the linguistic picture of the world of the people; phraseological units, along with borrowings and neologisms, on the contrary, fill the gaps in the system of language [2]. A. V. Kunin claims that phraseological unit is a stable combination of lexemes with fully or partially reinterpreted meaning [2].

A.V. Kunin [2] calls phraseology a treasury of language, because phraseological units reflect the history of the people, the originality of its culture and way of life.

There are different classifications of phraseological units.  Charles Bally was the first scientist who systematized phraseological phrases on the basis of their semantic unity. His classification is based on the degree of stability of the combination in which there is freedom of grouping components (phraseological groups), and combinations deprived of such freedom (phraseological unity). B. A. Larin [1] believes that Charles Bally only schematically outlined these groups, but did not give them a more detailed description.  

V.V. Vinogradov reworked the classification of Charles Bally, offering three types of phraseological phrases: fusion, unity and combination. This classification is considered traditional [5].

Phraseological units (PhU) can also be classified by taking as the main criterion the sources of their origin. Sources of origin PhU in the English language are very diverse, for example, among them can be distinguished native English phraseological units. The creators of such units remain unknown. This is especially true of proverbs. In general, phraseology in English, as in many other languages – the creation of the people, the manifestation of his wisdom and life experience. Many phraseological units reflect the customs and traditions of the English people, for example: Baker's dozen – the devil's dozen (according to the old English custom, bread merchants received from bakers thirteen breads together with twelve, and the thirteenth went to the income of traders).

The place in the phraseological fund of English language is idioms associated with the English realities, for example: Also ran – a loser (in the reports on the races the names of the horses that have not won prizes, listed after the information about the winners. This enumeration begins with the words also ran.../ also participated).

The next origin of phraseological units is idioms related to people's beliefs, for example: A black sheep – a disgrace in the family (according to the old popular belief, the black sheep is marked with the sign of the devil).

According to the number of phraseological units that have enriched the English language, Shakespeare's works take second place after the Bible. L. F. Sviridova claims that their number is 105. For example: A fool's paradise (from the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet) means the illusory happiness, a world of fantasy [4].

In addition to Shakespeare, many other writers have enriched the phraseology of the English language, for example, in the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens: an artful Dodger (nickname pickpocket John Dawkins) – in the sense of a dodgy man, cunning, rogue.

Some phraseological units are associated with the actors of various literary works, for example: Man Friday – faithful, faithful servant (named faithful servant in the novel “Robinson Crusoe” by D. Defoe).

The Bible is a very valuable source of enrichment of the English language in General, and phraseology in particular. S. Logan claims that the translations of the Bible had a tremendous impact on the English language. From its pages both individual words and entire idiomatic phrases and expressions were included in the English language, the number of which is so great that to collect them together it would take a lot of time [3].

The following example can be attributed to the Bible: for better, for worse – on the mountain and joy, whatever happens (this PhU is taken from prayers; words from the Church service during the wedding).

Quite a large number of English idioms are related to the ancient mythology, for example: Cassandra warnings – warnings that will be ignored, but which come true (Cassandra is a Trojan Princess blessed with the gift of prophecy).

PhUs reflect a fairly ancient layer of national vocabulary, especially that part of it, which refers to the inner circle of man, including relatives, body parts, numerals, color. It can be argued that the names of the days of the week since ancient times used by man, originally, for temporary orientation, over the course of history, they acquired additional values. The study of phraseological units with the names of the days of the week is of particular interest due to the need to understand the logic of constructing these phraseological units based on the unique attitude of the people to certain days of the week, as well as to clarify the reasons for the presence of pronounced positive or negative connotations.

Let’s consider some PhUs. So, the PhU Blue Monday (a heavy Monday; the first working day after Sunday), Black Monday (unwillingness to work), Monday feeling (the first day after vacation) has a clear negative connotation, enhanced by the color (blue, black), also having a negative connotation. The PhU Fat Monday is perceived positively, because it calls the first day of the week preceding the post, in which there were no restrictions in food.

The PhU Pancake/Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday is the oil week actually; the last day is actually Shrove Tuesday) is the day called the last day of "devouring" before Lent.

The phraseological unit Good/Holy/Spy Wednesday means Wednesday in the Holy week before Easter (it is believed that this is the day when Judas conspired with local authorities to betray Jesus)

The PhU Maundy Thursday (a great Thursday for Holy week) is Thursday before Easter day in the Christian religion, when people remember the last Supper (the meal that Jesus Christ ate with his apostles on the night before the crucifixion).

The PhU Friday face came into the English language from the Bible, which describes good Friday (Good Friday) – the day when Jesus Christ suffered for the sins of men. The icons and paintings of his face was depicted a haggard and miserable, so the phrase means "sour-faced lean mine", Good Friday (Holy and Great Friday) is Friday preceding Easter Sunday, Man Friday – a faithful, loyal servant (named faithful servants in the novel “Robinson Crusoe” by D. Defoe), Friday fare (actually vegetable food) is the food, especially the fish, which is suitable for unloading/vegetable of the day Friday.

The PhU Egg-Saturday means Saturday before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the day of the beginning of the great lent in the Latin rite. It is celebrated 46 calendar days before Easter. It was on this day at the University of Oxford students handed out Easter eggs.

The PhU Sunday face (a totally hypocritical view); Sunday's child (born in Sunday is a lucky man); Every day is not Sunday (Sunday for example is not every day for example) means that not every day is a holiday; Sunday driver (an inept, slow driver) has a negative value, in this case refers to a driver who annoys the other participants of the road; Not in a month of Sundays (very long time) means that if someone has promised something, then it is unlikely that he will really do it at a certain time; When each two Sundays come each together (when two Sundays meet), the given phraseological unit means that the action will never happen.

Thus, we considered the origin of the names of days of the week in English language and concluded that the origin of the PhUs with the names of days of the week in most cases have a religious character; also, many of these The PhUs eventually developed the ability to reflect the evaluation characteristic.


List of literature:
1. Larin B. A. Essays on phraseology // Essays on lexicology, phraseology and stylistics: Uchen. zap. / LIE. - L., 1956. - № 198. – 210 .p
2. Kunin A.V. phraseology Course of the modern English language: Textbook. POS for in-tov and facts. foreign. yaz. – 3rd ed., stereotype. / V. A. Kunin. – Dubna: Phoenix+, 2005. – 488 p.
3. Smith Logan S. Phraseology of the English language: State educational and pedagogical publishing house of the Ministry of Education of the RSFSR, 1959. — 208 p.
4. L. F. Sviridov. Enrichment of English phraseology with Shakespeare. Abstract of Cand. Diss., - M., 1968, p. 20.
5. Vinogradov V. V. On the main types of phraseological units in the Russian language//Selected works. Lexicology and lexicography. – M.: Science, 1977, p. 140-161.
6. Days of the week in English idioms [electronic resource]. – Mode of access URL: http://www.toybytoy.com/console/Days-of-the-week-in-English-idioms (accessed 29.05.2019) 
7. Days of the week in English idioms [electronic resource]. – Mode of access URL: http://engclub.pro/idiomy/dni-nedeli-v-anglijskix-idiomax.html (accessed 10.06.2019).