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A corpus study of English “nautical” idioms


We attempt to study nautical history influence on the phraseology of contemporary English. Britain’s geographical location and consequently its dependence on the surrounding seas greatly affected the language of all English-speaking countries. On the basis of criteria defined by J. Swales and ideas of W. Teubert, we identify the English-speaking discourse community of sea-farers. The assessment of historical and social conditions made it possible to determine the causes and the impact of the highly specialized language of this discourse community on the entire Eng-lish language. Following the study of two main approaches when working with language corpora (corpus-based and corpus-driven), we conducts corpus-driven research relying totally on the data obtained from the corpus. Using the material from the English language corpus NOW (News on the Web), we study the context and extent of distribution of seven phraseological units with com-ponents with the semantics of navigation in two main variants of the English language: British and American. The data obtained showed partial grammatical and syntactic discrepancies, as well as acceptable variations in the lexical structure of some units. The study of original nautical meanings allows us to understand the metaphorical mapping underlying the sense of the idioms.


corpus linguistics, language corpus, “nautical” idioms, discourse community, corpus-driven approach

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81.276.5: 811.111




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Language studies

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