A phrase , also phraseologism , idiom or idiomatic phrase, is a fixed combination of several words ("fixed word combination") to form a unit, the overall meaning of which is not directly derived from the meaning of the individual elements. It is a rhetorical stylistic device and the special case of a collocation .
The variety of old and new terms results in terminological chaos. In English even the overarching term of the rhetorical stylistic device ("figure of speech") is used as a further synonym. In German, the following terms are used side by side:
The word phraseology denotes both the entirety of the idioms that occur in a language and the science that deals with them. A phraseological unit is the combination of two or more words that do not form a unit that can be explained by themselves. As an example, the saying bite the grass : It has nothing to do with biting the apple or falling into the grass . The phrase means "to die" and cannot be replaced by phrases like biting into the meadow or snapping into the grass .
SWR Wissen distinguishes the idiom from the proverb in that the idiom is part of sentences, while a proverb is a whole sentence.
The linguist Lutz Röhrich points out that literal and figurative meanings often coexist.
For example, the phrase "The stove is off" can mean two things:
- The fire in the stove is out.
- The “fire” of a relationship is extinguished: the participants no longer want to have anything to do with each other.
Understanding first requires knowledge of the background. The acquisition of linguistic imagery is a process that extends over a large part of childhood and in the end can extend over a lifetime. So z. B. a non-native speaker to learn what the German words green and branch mean; but in order to know the meaning of getting on a green branch (“taking the right path” / “becoming successful” / “coming to prosperity”), one needs greater familiarity with the German.
Word combinations and vocabulary
Phraseologisms determine the specifics of a language more than the vocabulary. The idiomatic nature of a phrase is shown by the fact that
- the exchange of individual elements results in a non-systematic change in meaning: doing someone a cat service to someone doing a disservice , over hand over hand under hand
- there is also a "literal" reading of the phrase to which the preceding rule does not apply.
These expressions are differentiated from the groups of free (non-fixed) word combinations and loose word combinations. In an imprecise manner of speaking, proverbs , idioms , functional verb structures and twin formulas are subsumed under idioms .
They often contain former rhetorical figures , especially metaphors . They almost always originated from historically older unidiomatic (“literally used”) syntagms . The inanalysability of the meaning is almost always dissolved when the history of a phrase can only be traced back far enough. Idioms (like all vocabulary elements) can have a limited regional distribution.
What the idiom has in common with the proverb is a memorable image, the wording of which cannot be changed. So it is called keeping mole monkeys for sale and not selling mole monkeys .
- Memorandum , motto , proverb
- last words
- List of German idioms
- List of German words from Hebrew and Yiddish
- List of French idioms
- List of Latin idioms
- List of Swiss idioms
- German variant dictionary
- Idioms from Greek mythology
- Matthias Zimmermann: About naked robins and farting wolves. The funniest sayings of our European neighbors. , be.bra, Berlin 2009.
- Elke Donalies: Basic knowledge of German phraseology. Francke, Tübingen / Basel 2009 (= UTB 3193).
- Kurt Krüger-Lorenzen: German idioms. And what's behind it. Heyne, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-453-18838-1 .
- Wolfgang Mieder : German idioms, proverbs and quotations. Studies on their origin, tradition and use . Praesens, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-901126-41-4 .
- Lutz Röhrich : The great lexicon of proverbial sayings. New edition in 3 volumes. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1991/92, ISBN 3-451-22080-6 .
- Kurt Sontheim: proverb, proverbial and metaphorical phrase. Synchronic and diachronic studies on semantic-idiomatic constructions in English . Dissertation, University of Erlangen 1972.
- Christoph Tiemann : Roasted storks with phat beats - on the trail of idioms and new words. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-499-62871-9 .
- Phrases for children explained on www.GEOlino.de
- English and German idioms
- Essigs Essences - curious stories about idioms and proverbs (radio column by Rolf-Bernhard Essig , Deutschlandradio Kultur )
- English idioms with German translation
- Pukka German: idioms, slang and colloquial language, podcast
- English and German idioms counterparts
- Tiemanns Wortwortwort, Podcast (radio series by Christoph Tiemann , WDR 5 )
- Bibliographisches Institut (Ed.): Redewendung . In: Duden online .
- Rolf-Bernhard Essig: What is the difference between a proverb, a phrase and a winged word? In: SWR knowledge. April 11, 2019, accessed on January 6, 2020 (speaking contribution).