Phraseological units

Phraseological units are the lexicalized word groups of the language. They are called “phraseological units” (PU) because of their polylexical form and single meaning. They make up a heterogeneous group, with different degrees of frozenness and are lexico-syntactic in nature.


The characteristics common for all PU are: polylexicality, (gradual) frozenness, repetition and institutionalization. There are also two types of specific characteristics:

  1. semantic: compositionality for collocations and non-compositionality (or idiomaticity) for locutions.
  2. pragmatic: the pragmatems (or formulaic language) and the paroemias have their own discursive characteristics. The first are dialogical while the latter have a gnomic and quotation value


The PU can be classified into two categories:

  • Phraseological statements: a) pragmatems; b) paroemias
  • Phraseological syntagmas: a) locutions; b) collocations