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Wild animal as a component in Croatian, Russian and German phraseology


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Barčot, Branka. (2014). Wild animal as a component in Croatian, Russian and German phraseology. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of East Slavic Languages and Literature. [mentor Fink Arsovski, Željka and Turk, Marija].

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The research topic of this PhD thesis are Croatian, Russian and German idioms with a wild animal as a component. Zoonymic phraseology encompasses idioms which have, at least, one animal component. It is well known that language, the subconscious mind, customs and imagination in general are filled with images of animals, and that there is not one nation which does not believe in magic and spell powers and healing forces of this or that animal. Despite the fact that idioms with a zoonymic component have long attracted the attention of phraseologists and linguists in general, idioms with an animal component have not systematically been studied in the Croatian language, and in this segment the contrastive phraseology of the three aforementioned languages represents an insufficiently explored area. For the purposes of this thesis an extensive survey was conducted with the aim to construct concepts and associative fields of wild animals, but primarily to detect idioms with a wild animal as a component embedded in the subconscious minds of Croats, Russians and Germans. The survey was conducted by means of the associative method, and the participants were native speakers of Croatian and German: in April 2012 at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) and in May 2012 at the University Ernst Moritz Arndt in Greifswald (Germany). Regarding the Russian language, it was not necessary to conduct a research since all necessary data were taken from the dictionary Русский ассоциативный словарь. A total of 495 Croatian students and 532 German students were surveyed. In addition, material was collected from monolingual Croatian, Russian and German dictionaries of idioms and general dictionaries, as well as bilingual dictionaries of idioms in which Croatian was the source language. This thesis primarily analyzes idioms with a wild animal as a component in the Croatian, Russian and German language, and the corpus is supplemented with a relatively small number of proverbs and sayings containing the mentioned components. In order to approach the systematic study of zoonymic idioms (wild animals) both in the Croatian language and from a multilingual perspective, it is necessary to define the term wild animal and explore the sources related to the symbolism of wild animals, as well as sources in the field of cultural zoology. It is assumed that Croats, Russians and Germans have a similar social experience with wild animals which is consequently reflected and has similar traces in the collective expression and concepts of wild animals in the three nations’ linguistic worldview. Regarding the animals which these nations were not in direct contact with, it is also assumed that the similarities in the collective expression and concepts can be explained by belonging to the same cultural circle, and the differences are considered to be the result of cultural and traditional uniqueness. The main aim of this research is to systematically depict the main features of Croatian, Russian and German zoonymic phraseology (wild animals), to determine how much of the basic lexical meaning zoonymic components (wild animals) bring into the formation of the idiomatic meaning, and to which extent the symbolism of some animals has influenced the formation of that meaning. Given the fact that idioms occur at the intersection of language and culture and are thus culturally saturated, which makes them potential holders of cultural signs, in this thesis the linguoculturological approach to the analysis of idioms was applied. This approach is significant in the understanding of idiomatic meaning since it enables us to add the linguoculturological aspect to the metaphorical and symbolic potential of the idiom components. Here the idioms are not viewed as “frozen” linguistic elements which have an arbitrary meaning, but the motivation of their meaning from a cognitive linguistic perspective is explored, thus placing them in corresponding models which are present in the speaker’s conceptual system. However, it should be emphasized that it is the linguoculturological approach that is primarily used in this thesis, and the secondary approach which is used is the cognitive linguistic approach. The thesis consists of the Introduction, five chapters, Conclusion, Bibliography and two appendices. The first chapter looks into the theoretical background of phraseological research. First, it outlines the history of the development of phraseology in Russia, Croatia and Germany, and then defines its basic unit – idiom. This is followed by a presentation of data regarding the terminological plurality of idioms which is present in that linguistic discipline of the three philologies. Furthermore, the chapter discusses various approaches to the study of idioms (structural, semantic, psycholinguistic, cognitive linguistic, communicative-pragmatic and linguocultural) which serves as the basis for understanding the collected phraseological corpus. Since the thesis deals with animals in language, the principles of cultural zoology are also discussed, in particular anthropomorphism and zoomorphism. Due to the fact that for the purposes of the thesis a survey with native speakers was conducted, the first chapter also contains the theoretical frameworks for understanding associative research and associative lexicography. The second chapter is the central part of the thesis because it contains the structural-semantic analysis of the phraseological and paremiological corpus which was collected in the conducted survey with native speakers of Croatian, Russian and German. It is divided into three sections according to the classes which the researched animals belong to, and these are: mammals, birds and reptiles. A special emphasis is placed on the semantic analysis of the collected corpus which deals with the method of forming the idiomatic meaning. Background images, motivational elements, etymology, cultural and symbolic features are also taken into consideration. Electronic sources such as Hrvatski nacionalni korpus, Hrvatska jezična riznica, Das Digitale Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache with examples from fifteen corpuses, Национальный корпус русского языка and web search engines Google and Yandex served as sources for research and verification of the active use of the analyzed zoonymic idioms. Examples of such use are listed after the structural-semantic analysis of an idiom, and are italicized in the text. The idioms in the examples are in bold. The third chapter presents the linguoculturological analysis of two idioms from the collected corpus. These are Croatian idioms liti (roniti) krokodilske suze and medvjeđa usluga. For the purposes of that analysis an experiment with fifty native speakers of Croatian was conducted, and the aim was to show the so called semantic model of the idiom by means of which, besides the semantics of idioms, its cultural connotation is studied. The fourth chapter deals with the linguoculturological comment on the linguistic worldview of Croats, Russians and Germans. The answers of the participants, i.e. linguistic personalities, from the conducted associative survey are analyzed with the aim to explore that part of the linguistic worldview which reflects the national-cultural distinctive features of wild animals in the minds of Croats, Russians and Germans. The fifth chapter includes information about the ideographic dictionaries and principles of their creation, and its main part is Trojezični ideografski rječnik: divlje životinje (Trilingual ideographic dictionary: wild animals). In this dictionary the organizing principle which was applied was based on a dictionary from the Russian lexicography (Идеографический словарь русских фразеологизмов с названиями животных by T. V. Kozlova). In comparison to the mentioned lexicographical model, here the scheme and synopsis of ideographic classification had to be modified and adapted in accordance with the nature of the collected materials and the multilingual contrastive principle. The reference list, organized alphabetically by author’s surname, and the bibliography, which includes all cited and consulted sources, are placed at the end of the thesis. That list can also serve as a reference list in the field of phraseology, paremiology and liguoculturology in the three national philologies. The thesis ends with two appendices. The first appendix contains questionnaires which were used in the conducted survey with native speakers. The questionnaire is identical in all three languages. The last questionnaire is the questionnaire which was filled out only by Croatian participants, and their answers served as the basis for the linguoculturological analysis of idioms which were described in the third chapter of the thesis. The second appendix is Trojezični rječnik asocijacija: divlje životinje (Trilingual dictionary of associations: wild animals). The created Croatian and German dictionary entries are based on the Russian model Русский ассоциативный словарь. Том I. Од стимула к реакции, and there are also Russian dictionary entries which were taken from the mentioned source. Finally, it can be stated that the analysis of the collected material of zoonymic idioms with a wild animal as a component in the Croatian, Russian and German language confirmed the premise about the similarities between one part of the phraseological worldview of Croats and the phraseological linguistic worldview of Russians, but also Germans. The Croatian language has a lot in common with the Russian language because both languages inherited the Slavic culture which is encoded in the language, but also with the German language because they belong to the same Middle European cultural and civilizational circle and because of the influence which the German language had on the Croatian language throughout history. On the other hand, the phraseological worldviews of Russians and Germans are also similar (in the studied aspect of zoonymic phraseology). It would be incorrect to interpret these similarities in the classification of the nonlinguistic reality by means of zoonymic phraseology in the three languages as the result of language contacts. The conducted research can be considered as a confirmation of the three-component classification proposed by V. M. Mokienko. For proverbs and idioms he suggested a classification of components according to the level of the so called national markedness: somatisms as the most universal components, zoonyms as a transitional group and a group of nationally marked components, i.e. those with a marked national connotation. The aim of this thesis was to contribute to the phraseological research and contrastive phraseology of the Croatian, Russian and German language, especially by using the linguoculturological approach as a new approach in the study of idioms in Croatia. The created dictionaries with wild animals as headwords (dictionary of associations and ideographic dictionary) are first such dictionaries in local lexicography since they are completely new in terms of concept and methodology. Besides, this research intends to be used practically, e.g. in teaching Russian and German as a foreign language, phraseological didactics, but also in translating.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: zoonymic phraseology, linguoculturology, Croatian language, Russian language, German language
Subjects: German language and literature
Slavic languages and literatures > East Slavic languages and literatures - Russian
Slavic languages and literatures > Croatian language and literature
Departments: Department of East Slavic Languages and Literature
Supervisor: Fink Arsovski, Željka and Turk, Marija
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 13:33
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2015 13:33

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