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1The present issue of Lexis is dedicated to a complex and multifaceted phenomenon in natural languages, i.e. the idiomaticity of word combinations. These multi-word units of various types ranging from collocations to proverbs are the units of study of phraseology and paremiology. Phraseology is the umbrella term of a linguistic discipline encompassing all word combinations presenting varying degrees of fixedness and idiomaticity. Paremiology is, in its turn, a more specific term that focuses exclusively on the scientific study of proverbs. Access to large electronic corpora has fostered a myriad of corpus-based phraseological studies that have contributed to the development of the discipline and to its international status.

2The papers included in this number 19 issue of Lexis discuss several linguistic aspects related to the phraseology and the paremiology of the English language.

3Stefan Th. Gries’s paper tackles a problem which underlies all the other corpus-linguistic studies of phraseology: the identification of multi-word units (MWUs). The author introduces his own algorithm (MERGEmultidim) that should improve their identification by incorporating several dimensions of information (type and token frequency, dispersion, normalized entropy and association) computed for candidate MWUs, then tests it and discusses its merits.

4Gloria Corpas Pastor offers an in-depth analysis of different expressions describing a person’s change of mental state (drive/send sb up the wall, fascinate sb mad, love sb to distraction, etc.) using the CxG theoretical approach and her own bespoke methodology. Employing large-scale data to retrieve meaningful results she shows that all these expressions are manifestations of the same higher-order resultative construction (Vcaused-motion Y Z).

5Jelena Parizoska’s paper focuses on structural idiom modifications (active/passive voice, transitive/intransitive constructions, directional opposites and nominalization). The author analyses this phenomenon on a selection of Verb Phrase (VP) idioms within the framework of Cognitive Grammar. She draws a clear distinction between variations (conventional or institutionalized changes) and modifications (deliberate manipulations) and points out that “structural modifications are jointly constrained by semantic and grammatical factors”. She shows that the discussed patterns of modification are systematic and regular as is the case with patterns of variation.

6Thomai Dalpanagioti’s contribution presents a phraseological approach to phrasal verbs as multi-word items showing fixedness and idiomaticity. The study uses Corpus Pattern Analysis, Frame Semantics and the Conceptual Metaphor and Metonymy Theory to analyse the phrasal verbs walk away with, walk off with, run away with and run off with and aims to improve the way in which they are represented in learner’s dictionaries. The comparison of their definitions in five monolingual dictionaries shows not only important divergences between them but sheds light on the overlapping semantic traits of these phrasal verbs. She proposes a single dictionary entry for the headword walk/run away/off with something.

7Damien Villers’ paremiological paper sets out to describe the process of genesis and propagation of proverbs, i.e. the mechanism of proverbialisation. To do that the author examines the concept of proverbiality and the different approaches to proverb definition. He bases his model of the stages of proverb coinage and replication on ideas from memetics and tests it on a sample of proverbs that have been modified by an animal rights organisation to fit its tenets.

8The varia section includes the contribution by Stephen James Coffey, a corpus-aided study of English adjectives of similar meaning used in combination. The author investigates both coordinated and juxtaposed adjectives considered as near-synonyms such as dull and boring or filthy, grubby that are not lexicalized and therefore not recorded in dictionaries. He draws up a classification of the combinations found in the BNC including intensifying adjectives, classifiers and descriptive adjectives. The latter are subdivided into ten semantic groups including, among others, adjective combinations describing filthiness, fairness, calmness, simplicity, bigness and smallness.

9Finally, the issue includes a selected list of references on the phraseology and the paremiology of English which supplements those provided in the papers.

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Electronic reference

Ramón Marti Solano and Aleš Klégr, “Introduction”Lexis [Online], 19 | 2022, Online since 26 March 2022, connection on 04 October 2023. URL:; DOI:

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About the authors

Ramón Marti Solano

Université de Limoges, France

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Aleš Klégr

Charles University, Prague, Czechia

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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