Research article
Issue: № 1 (1), 2015


The article deals with the productive models of Russian morphologically invari-ant idioms with the instrumental case of nouns as a phrase-forming component from the point of view of their structure and semantics. In the research process, 877 phraseological units in more than 11000 applications were considered.

In Russian, a phraseologism, or a phraseological unit, is a nominative unit, which is used for designating almost all the actuals of the surrounding reality alongside with a word. As opposed to the word, whose unparted lexical meaning is formed from the morphemes it consists of, the phraseologism represents a separately formed structural unit of the secondary holistic nomination.

In Russian, there are a lot of phraseological units with the instrumental case of nouns in the quality of their phrase-forming components. These units represent one of the numerous structural-semantic models of the huge phraseological reserve. The abovementioned units are formed according to the productive original syntactical modals, namely the modal of the set expression and that of the word combination.

Having studied more than 877 phraseological units, we arrived at the conclusion that the model representing the analog of the set expression (G.A. Zolotova) is the most constructive (for example, тихой сапой (on the sly, by stealth), невооружённым глазом (to the naked eye), своими руками (with one's own hand), за закрытыми дверями (behind closed doors), всем миром (all hands), таким образом (thereby) and so on).  The phraseologism is a syntax- indissoluble unit because the internal communication between the meanings of its particular components and its meaning in whole is lost.  From the point of view of the morphology, the phraseological units cannot change; they are fixed in only one form and denote one concept.

The components of the phraseological units lose their basic categorical and lexical properties and take part in forming the holistic phraseological meanings like the morphemes in the word: семимильными шагами - quickly, в полный голос – openly, своими словами in one's own way, с поднятым забралом – openly, русским языком – understandable, clear.

By considering the phraseological units formed according to the model of the word combnation (the analog of the word combnation by G.A. Zolotova) we can highlight a number of the particular structures among which the models formed according to the formulas both compliant component + noun in the instrumental case (380 units) and preposition + compliant component + noun in the instrumental case (253 units) are the most productive (for example, большей частью (for the most part), главным образом (mainly, in the main), вашими молитвами (thanks to your prayers), любой ценой (at any cost, at all costs), задним числом (after the event, in retrospect), ровным счётом  (no more than, in all), с полной выкладкой (in full kit), с поднятым забралом (openly, above board), с протянутой рукой (cap in hand), с чистой совестью (with an clear conscience) and so on).

Almost all the researchers in the field of the modern Russian language on the whole and in that of the phraseology in particular admit that the phraseological units are formed according to the model of the set expression (V. V. Vinogradov, V. V. Babaitseva, L.U. Maksimov, V.P. Zhukov, V.M. Mokienko, V.N. Teliya  and others). [3], [5], [6], [7] .

But in Russian, there are some units with the initial model formed according to the formula component-preposition + noun in the instrumental case (for example, под боком (close at hand), под секретом (in secret), за кулисами (behind the scenes), с процентами (with interest), с Богом (God be your help), под замком (under lock and key), с лихвой (with a return above cost), с миром (in peace),  с умом (wisely, sensibly) and so on). As for these units, the opinions of the linguists differ. Some of them do not consider such units as phraseologisms, whereas the others believe that they compose an important part of the idioms of the modern Russian language. We take the view of such linguists as V. V. Vinogradov, A.I. Smirmitskiy, P.A. Lekant, and A.M. Chepasova, who mean that the combinations component-name + component-preposition appear in speech as finished units and have all the properties of phraseological units (minimum phraseological units by P.A. Lekant, or unimucronate idioms by A.I. Smirmitskiy). [1], [2], [4], [6] .

In our card index, 211 units are built according to the initial model of the word combination: между делом (in spare time, between things, between this and then), с размахом (in a big way), с треском (with a bang), с ветерком (like the wind, with a zoom), перед глазами (before one's eyes), под арестом (under arrest), с хвостиком (and a bit more).

In terms of volume, among the initial models of the phraseological units we describe two-component models prevail (601 units). These are за вычетом (with the exception of smth.), под знаменем (under the banner of smth.), под маской (in the guise of smb., under the mask of smth.), с размахом (in a big way), таким образом (in that way, therefore), суконным языком (in a stiff style, in a clumsy style) and others. Ternary models form the second largest group: у разбитого корыта (no better than at the start, with nothing), всеми фибрами души (with one's whole heart, in all the fibres of one's being), с молоком матери (at one's mother's knees, with one's mother's milk), с полным правом (pleno jure. rightfully), с тяжёлым сердцем (with a heavy heart) and others.

The phrase-making component of the units we describe forms a new type of semantics and a new set of phraseological values. 260 nouns became structural-semantic components, which form new phraseological units. The forms of the instrumental case of the nouns образ and вид have the greatest phrase-making ability (222 and 152 units respectively), for example, естественным образом (naturally), никоим образом (in no way, by no means), официальным образом (officially), с бодрым видом (cheerfully), с деловым видом (in a businesslike manner) and others.

Our research proved that any qualitative adjective involved in the forming phraseological values of the individual units might be a compliant component. In this way the structural modelment of idioms is put into effect.

Being morphologically invariant, the idioms of the syntax-initial models we describe continue their further development in the form of various types of structural variation. 370 units we studied (42,3% of the total number) vary their composition, while retaining the semantic identity.

The most productive type of variation is a component one associated with the change in the composition: под носом  – перед носом (under one's very nose, in the face of smb.), другими словамииными словами (in other words), своим домом - собственным домом (separately, apart), всей душойвсем сердцем (with all one's heart and soul), щедрой рукойширокой рукой (lavishly, with a bountiful hand) and others.

In the models we describe the morphological variation of the idioms associated with the change in the gender, number, case, and comparative degree of the components as well as the word-formative one relating to the modification of components in connection with the change of the morphemes are also very productive. In this case, the semantic identity of the units remains: каким путёмкакими путями (in what way, by what means), одним ударомв один удар (at a stroke, in one stroke), вверх ногамикверху ногами (upside down), с хитрецойс хитринкой (not without cunning), между прочимпромежду прочим (by the way) and others.

In 225 idioms, the mixed variation was detected, i.e. the change of the component composition occurs simultaneously in different aspects while maintaining the meaning of the unit as a whole. So we can state the phonetic, component, and quantitative variation in the following semantically holistic units: одним росчеркомросчерком пераединым росчерком пера (with a stroke of the pen).

Thus, the phraseological units with the instrumental case of nouns are structurally well organized: they are formed according to the initial models of both word combinations and set expressions. Phraseological units may consist of two -six components involved in the forming the integral value of the nominative unit which is separately arranged. The structural features of the described idioms are different types of varying the composition while maintaining the semantical identity.


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