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National and cultural specificity of stable expressions with the zoonymic component “wolf” in English and Kazakh languages

The article focuses on a linguocultural analysis of English and Kazakh stable expressions nominating the image of a wolf. The aim is to study stable expressions through the prism of the values of the linguocultural community, in particular, English and Kazakh, represented in it. In the course of the analysis groups of stable expressions were identified and their differences and similarities in the compared languages were examined, as well as their national and cultural specificity, based on the action of universal cultural codes, was revealed.

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The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in teaching, first of all, the theory of language, English and Kazakh phraseology, special courses in cultural linguistics, sociolinguistics, and intercultural communication. Further, research of phraseological units with a zoonym component can be carried out on the basis of the inclusion of other distant languages, for example, German, which will reveal universal features in the perception of animals from the perspective of a three-sided analysis.


In modern linguistics the relationship and interaction of language and culture is one of the key problems, since “in most cases, a person is not dealing with the world itself, but with its representations, with cognitive pictures and models — the world (or various worlds) is presented to a person through the prism of his culture and, in particular, language, which is an integral element of culture» [1].

Scientists began to consider language not just as a mean of communication, storage and accumulation of information, but also as a tool for transmitting the culture of a particular people. By culture we mean “a social phenomenon that ensures the existence and reproduction of an ethnic group in its material and spiritual existence. Culture is a way of life of people in all its diversity: methods of obtaining material goods (food, clothing, housing, tools, etc.), features of the spiritual world (intelligence, knowledge about the world of nature and people, beliefs, fantasies and behaviors in standard life situations — customs, traditions, family life). Culture, like language, is also a symbolic (semiotic) system capable of self-organization, since culture is primarily memory, and its main feature is accumulation and striving for absolute universality” [2].

Since the most important function of culture is the accumulation and processing of information obtained in the process of human activity, culture is directly related to the peculiarities of the national mentality. Indeed, the degree of understanding of a person's ethnicity is clearly visible when studying the same cultural concepts, which coincide in terms of language representation, but differ in content, role in the formation of national mentality. As noted by V.V. Kolesov: “Mentality is a worldview in the categories and forms of the native language, combining the intellectual, spiritual and voluntary qualities of the national character in its typical manifestations. The language embodies both the national character and the national idea, and national ideals, which in their complete form can be represented in the traditional symbols of this culture” [3].

The Yaik embodiment occurs due to cognitive processes and mechanisms, which is what M.Y. Shingareva writes about, referring to the opinion of R.S. Jakendof (Semantics and cognition, 1983), D. Lakof (Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. What categories Revealed out the mind, 1987): “Language provides the most obvious and natural access to cognitive processes and mechanisms”. This statement is the basis of the position that the anthropological approach to language, formulated by V.Von Humboldt, is the basis for studying the relationship between language and culture. He confirmed the original unity of lan-

Corresponding author’s e-mail: a_moon86@mail.ru guage and thinking, language and culture, while calling the language “the national spirit”, defining it as a cultural asset” [4].

So, the language embodies the originality of the people, the national vision of the world. The uniqueness and originality of the language is created by the culture, mentality and spirit of the people. However, language is not only the guardian of culture, but also appears only as a mechanism that contributes to the encoding and translation of culture. All information about the history, national psychology, national behavior, i.e., about everything that makes up the content of culture, is stored in the text. Culture penetrates into associative-figurative bases of semantics and, is interpreted through the identification of the connection of images with stereotypes, standards, symbols, prototypical situations and other signs of national and universal culture mastered by the linguistic and cultural community. “The system of images, fixed in lexical and phraseological units, is a place of concentration, a kind of niche ‘that accumulates the worldview” [5].

It is also worth noting that language, being a means of cognition by the ethnogenetic community of the surrounding world and consolidating its cognitive and socio-cultural experience, also expresses nationalspecific shades of concepts with the help of the meanings of words and their associative connections. In this regard, proverbs and sayings that evoke associations with ethno-cultural standards, stereotypes, mythologems in the minds of native speakers acquire a holistic, ordered character.

Phraseological units, proverbs, sayings, according to S.G. Ter-Minasova, most clearly demonstrate the lifestyle, geographical location, history, and traditions of a particular community united by one culture. It is the national-specific proverbs and sayings that most clearly reflect the national culture and worldview of a certain people [6].

The phraseological picture of the world reflects the most significant part of the overall picture of the world in the form of cliched language constructions, the ethnolinguistic analysis of which allows us to identify semantic constants in the national-linguistic consciousness. Stable combinations that represent a verbalstereotypical way of regulating human behavior can be considered as a national-traditional form of observation and edification in society.

In this regard, the study of stable combinations in the comparative aspect seems to be the most promising in terms of comparing national pictures of the world in different linguistic cultures in order to identify universal and unique features through linguistic and cultural analysis.

The purpose of this study is to consider the national and cultural specifics reflected in the stable expressions of the Kazakh and English-speaking cultures.

Literature review

Before talking about the features of the phraseological system of the Kazakh and English languages, it is necessary to determine the definition of the phraseological unit, since the question of determining the boundaries of this phenomenon and the term itself remains debatable. To denote the entire variety of stable expressions, such terms as idioms, phraseological units, phraseological turnover, phraseology are used. In turn, the opinions of most scientists agree that the characteristic features are semantic indivisibility, brevity and imagery. Shansky writes that the phraseological turnover is a unit of language reproduced in a readymade form... fixed in content, and form. O.S. Akhmanova notes the synonymy of the terms “phraseology”, “phraseological unit” and “idiom” and, offers the following definition: “a phrase in which semantic solidity (the integrity of the nomination) dominates the structural separation of its constituent elements (the selection of the features of the subject is subordinated to its integral designation)”. “Phrases that have become stable phraseological units are structurally closer to words...” [7].

According to V.P. Zhukov, the differences in the opinions of scientists are as follows: “Some scientists in the circle of phraseological research include all reproducible superword formations of varying degrees of complexity, regardless of the nature of the fusion of components (proverbs, sayings, winged expressions, phraseological combinations), other scientists, on the contrary, strive to study the material of the type of phraseological merges and unities. Thus, on the basis of the semantic classification of phraseological units, two opposite points of view have developed on the subject of phraseology: a narrow and a broad understanding of the scope of this branch of linguistics”. The main criteria for distinguishing a narrow and broad approach are:

1. Classification by the degree of semantic unity. This classification is widely covered by N.M. Shansky, who identified the fourth group (in addition to the three groups of Vinogradov's phraseological units) phraseological expressions consisting of words with a free meaning. Thus, two opposed groups are distinguished: «semantically separable (expressions and combinations) and semantically integral, indivisible (merges and unities):

2. Grammatical classification. In terms of grammatical structure, three groups of language units are distinguished among stable turns:

 words (single-stressed units, with separate spelling of prepositions and particles);

 phrases (consisting of at least two components, separately formed accentuatively);

 sentences (predicative units).

3. Functional characteristics.

In this study such a broad approach to the interpretation of phraseological units as suggested by O.S. Akhmanova, «semantically monolithic, figurative, structurally indivisible, capable of reproducing word combinations», will allow, firstly, relying on existing classifications and linguistic features of FE, to focus on identifying national and cultural specifics, and, secondly, to pay attention to the speech implementation of FE with a zoonym component in the Kazakh and English languages and the reflection of objective reality in the minds of carriers of these ethnocultures. Vasilenko writes that the meaning of FE, «consisting of two or more words», is semantically indivisible, unmotivated by the meaning of the words included in it, which are components of FE with «full or partial lexical emptiness» [8].

It should be noted that in linguistics researchers often use the term phraseological unit introduced by Soviet linguists, while in the English tradition the term of the lexeme idiom is in use, for example, «Long- man English Dictionary» defines: «An idiom is a group of words that has a special meaning that is different from the ordinary meaning of each separate word. Idiom as an expression whose meaning is not formed by the composition of the meanings of the constituent words» [9]. As we can see from the above definitions, the understanding of the problem is close to the domestic interpretations of the term FE. Phraseology in English as a term is interpreted in a different way, different from the understanding of Russian linguists: phraseology is the way that words and phrases are chosen and used in a particular language or subject. Thus, in our opinion, the term idiom in the English language is used to name semantically indivisible stable expressions that have a meaning that is not deducible from the semantics of its components, which is equivalent to the term phraseological unit in the domestic linguistic tradition.

Among the studies devoted to the problems of phraseology, first of all, the work of L.P. Smith «Words and Idioms Studies in the English Language» stands out, which can be recognized as one of the first scientific developments of the problems of idiomatics in the English language, where a general overview of the phenomenon of phraseology was carried out, an attempt was made to search for a certain universal of the formation of phraseological units. W.J. Ball's study «Colloquial idioms», published in 1958, was an attempt to consider the use of ordinary words in an unusual context [10].

Currently, the problems of English phraseology are considered from a practical point of view in works on the methodology of language teaching. Therefore, in the work «Idioms: Processing, Structure, and Inter- pretation» the existing points of view on the terminology and classification of English FE are described, as well as methods of practical application for teaching students English as a foreign language are proposed in some works on pragmatics, the difference between stable expressions and phraseological units themselves is considered, in cognitive linguistics the structure of phraseological units is investigated, their typology is given, from the position of corpus linguistics and lexicology the work «Fixed Expressions and Idioms in English: A Corpus-Based Approach» is written, from the position of psycholinguistics, FE is considered in the work «Idioms: Structural and Psychological Perspectives» («Phraseological units from the point of view of structural and psychological approaches»). In Russian linguistics close attention is paid to the research of the English phraseological fund. A.V. Kunin in the textbook «The course of phraseology of the modern English language» considers English phraseology as a whole.

Linguists study the English language in comparison with other languages; consider linguistic and cultural problems, psycholinguistic aspects of the processes of phraseological metaphorization; identify axiological features of the English phraseological system.

Both in domestic and foreign linguistics, various classifications are offered according to the most diverse characteristics: origin, expressiveness, sound organization. For example, A.V. Kunin offers a classification of FE by origin, distinguishing «prototypes of phraseological units»: speech, language, extra-linguistic and mixed, and by internal form: simple and complex. The complex form means phraseological units of speech and language, and the complex form means extra-linguistic and mixed ones. A.I. Smirnitsky uses connotation as a fundamental criterion and divides the phraseological fund of the English language into two groups: emotionally marked FE; stylistically neutral FE. According to the sources of origin, the phraseological units of the modern English language, as pointed out by A.V. Kunin, are divided into 4 groups: 1. Native English; 2. Interlanguage borrowings (borrowed from other languages by translation); 3. Intra-linguistic borrowings, for example, from the American version of the English language; 4. FE borrowed in a foreign language form.

E.E. Chikina in the article «Identification of the national-cultural specificity of phraseological units: modern approaches» examines linguistic-cultural, contrastive, linguoculturological and cognitive approaches to the disclosure of the national-cultural content of FE. The author emphasizes that all four approaches are a single whole and can be represented as stages of FE analysis: 1) identification of non-equivalent extralinguistic factors reflected in phraseological units; 2) identification of structural and semantic features of interlanguage phraseological analogues; 3) identification of national and cultural connotations of key words and cultural concepts contained in phraseological units; 4) identification of the features of the national division of the linguistic picture of the world and the features of the functioning of the national mentality as a linguocreative thinking. The author emphasizes that such an integrated approach from the particular to the general can give a complete picture of the national and cultural features of the phraseological system of the language [11].

In Kazakh linguistics such scientists as K.H. Akhanov, Z.K. Akhmetzhanova, A.S. Eleshova, R.E. Zhaysakova, A.T. Kaidarov, S.K. Kenesbayev, M.M. Kopylenko, Z.D. Popova, M.T. Sabitova and many others were engaged in the study of phraseology issues. Thus, S.K. Kenesbayev believes that «the subject of phraseology is the whole set of such stable verbal associations as proverbs, sayings, idiomatic expressions, stable phraseological groups of words, paired words». Scientists have identified three features of Kazakh phraseological units: 1) semantic connectedness or idiomaticity (magyna tutastygy); 2) lexical connectedness of components or stability (tirkes tiyanaktylygy); 3) reproducibility as ready-made units (koldanu tiyanaktylygy). K.A. Akhanov, A.T. Kaidarov, R.E. Zhaysakova proposed their own classifications of phraseological units of the Kazakh language, which were presented in following works: «Semantic and grammatical structure of phraseological units in Kazakh language» (R.E. Zhaysakova), «Til biliminin negizderi» (K.A. Akhanov), «Principles of classification of phraseological units and their classification groups in the modern Kazakh language» (A.T. Kaidarov, R.E. Zhaysakova). It should also be noted that K.A. Akhanov developed distinctions in the Kazakh language, phraseological merges, phraseological combinations and phraseological expressions, which were considered in his work «Til biliminin negizderi». Sarsenbayev, studying proverbs and sayings in his work «Lexico-semantic features of Kazakh proverbs and sayings», refers them to phraseological units, based on the stability and reproducibility of these units. K.N. Smagulova in her work «Variability of phraseological units in the Kazakh language» considers the variability of phraseological units of the Kazakh language, gives a general description of the variants of phraseological units of the Kazakh language, describes their structural features, indicates the causes of their occurrence, as well as the methods of their formation and their types. The author believes that variability is directly related to the communicative function of the language, depends on territorial and social factors, the degree of proficiency in literary norms of the language.

Thus, researchers define the criteria and the amount of material in different ways, depending on the goals and objectives of each individual work, based on the accumulated experience. Despite the interest and relevance of the research of the English and Kazakh phraseological systems, many issues remain debatable.


The language verbalizes the national cultural picture of the world, stores it and transmits it not only for future generations, but also for speakers of other languages. Therefore, it is important to consider the connection between language and culture in theoretical studies of languages, since the interpretation of language phenomena is possible only with a scientific analysis of the linguistic features of culture.

One of the phenomena in the system of vocabulary of the language are zoonyms: names of representatives of the animal world, uniform in their appearance, in the understanding of which the society reflects images dating back to ancient mythology, traditions and customs of native speakers. Stable expressions with a zoonym component arose on the basis of a figurative idea of the phenotypic properties and habits of wild and domestic animals, became a kind of system of evaluative images of the national picture of the world.

V.N. Telia in the work «Cultural and national connotations of phraseological units» emphasizes that the names of animals as nominative units of the language «directly or indirectly, through their cultural connotations, are connected with the spiritual and material culture of the people». V.M. Mokienko indicates that the components-zoonyms are among the most nationally marked, they are characterized by universality, on the one hand, and figurative individuality and locality, on the other.

It should be noted that the names of animals in different languages contain different qualities and characteristics, different associations. I.V. Kurazhova believes that this fact indicates the individuality of the imaginative thinking of a particular people, is a complex associative-psychological process, and also speaks of differences in the value picture of the world of different ethnic groups. From this point of view zoonyms act, on the one hand, as elements of culture, and on the other hand, as elements of language. So, they can be the object of linguistic and cultural research. Indeed, relying on the phraseological foundation of the language, specifically on stable expressions with a zoonym component, it becomes possible to study the national and cultural specifics of animal names and identify theoretically common and national-specific cultural connotations of these nominative units. Thus, in zoonyms cultural meanings that are understandable in a certain language community are encoded in a certain way. This is a manifestation of the national and cultural specificity of the human perception of reality, which each nation has fixed in its linguistic picture of the world since ancient times. The study of the national and cultural specifics of stable word combinations will allow us to identify linguistic, cultural and common features of phraseological units in two cultures that are so different from each other at first glance, the cultures of Great Britain and Kazakhstan.

The national-cultural semantics of phraseological units has a multi-layered character: it includes both the idiomatic meaning of a phraseological unit reflecting the phenomena of the past and present of the country, and the meanings of words included in the phraseological unit reflecting cultural objects and the meaning of phraseological units, a free phrase describing certain traditions, customs, details of the life of the people. This approach is characterized by taking into account the entire range of extralinguistic factors: historical, religious, geographical, and everyday. In the book by E.M. Vereshchagin and V.G. Kostomarov «Language and Culture» it was proposed to describe the national specifics of phraseological units, taking into account their threefold nature in three aspects: 1. Complex aspect: all the elements of phraseology together have an idiomatic meaning. 2. The dissected aspect: they are represented separately by units of their composition. 3. Prototypical aspect: they contain customs and traditions, everyday life and culture, history. Considering FE in the linguoculturological aspect, V.A. Maslova puts forward the following provisions: 1. In most FE there are «traces» of the national culture that must be identified. 2. Cultural information is stored in the internal form of the FE, which, being a figurative representation of the world, gives the phraseology a cultural and national flavor. 3. The main thing in identifying cultural and national specifics is to reveal the cultural and national connotation [12].

The purpose of the undertaken research is to study the stable expressions of the English and Kazakh languages containing the names of animals (zoonyms). In accordance with the set goal, it is assumed to solve the following specific tasks during the research: 1) to consider the theoretical issues of modern linguoculturology and phraseology; 2) to identify the ethno-cultural specifics of the stable phrases presented in the collected card file in the English and Kazakh languages.

The object of this study is stable phrases that include zoonyms in English and Kazakh. The subject of the work is the national and cultural features of stable expressions with a zoonym component in the English and Kazakh languages.

The theoretical and methodological basis for the study of stable expressions were the concepts and ideas of domestic and foreign scientists in the field of phraseology R.A. Ayupova, Sh. Bally, A.P. Vasilenko, V.V. Vinogradov, I.V. Voitsekhovich, V.G. Gak, V.I. Gorelov, V. Humboldt, I.R. Kozhevnikov, A.V. Kunin, L.I. Mokienko, I.M. Oshanin, M.G. Pryadokhin, A.I. Smirnitsky, I.A. Sternin, T.N. Fedulenkova, N.M. Shansky, C. Cacciari, M. Everaert, A. Makkai, R. Moon, G.S. Philip, L.P. Smith, S.K. Kenesbayev, G.S. Kosymova, M.M. Kopylenko, A.M. Kunin, as well as the works of scientists in the field of semantics and connotation N.F. Alefirenko, A. Vezhbitskaya, V.A. Maslova, V.N. Telia, O.A. Titova, O.V. Pechatkina, T.V. Pisanova, I.V. Chekulai, D.N. Shmelev, C.J. Fillmore, R. Giora, S. Glucksberg, G. Lakoff.

The work was based on general scientific methods: induction and deduction, analysis and synthesis. The work with the collected card file of stable expressions was carried out by the continuous sampling method, using the descriptive-analytical method. An important place in the work with the material was given to the methods of definitional, contextual and typological analysis. Using the comparative method, the nationalspecific and universal features of zoonyms in the English and Kazakh languages were determined.

The research material was a card index of stable phrases of the English and Kazakh languages (more than 114 units), which were selected using the continuous sampling method from phraseological dictionaries of the English and Kazakh languages.


The material of our research was stable phrases with zoonyms in English and Kazakh languages. The choice of stable phrases as material for research is due to the fact that this group lies at the intersection of language and culture and therefore, is culturally marked. The appeal to the zoonymic vocabulary is due to several reasons: 1) the large volume of the group itself; 2) the international nature of knowledge; 3) the role of this group in the awareness of the linguistic picture of the world, as well as the increased interest of modern linguistics in such problems and aspects of language units, in which the peculiarities of the world perception and worldview of an ethnic group, the problems of the relationship between language and culture are expressed.

In English and Kazakh cultures, the image of the wolf is polysemantic, reflecting the events of the socio-cultural life of the ethnic group, traditions, customs, mythological representations.

Let's consider in more detail the national-cultural component of the meaning on the examples of English and Kazakh fixed phrases. This corpus of US is represented by a fairly wide range of meanings, as a result of the analysis of which we have identified about 11 phraseosemantic groups of English and about 13 groups of Kazakh US. It should be noted that this division is very conditional, since some US can be assigned to several groups:

Connection with religion. Ittin iesi bolsa, borinin taniri bar (a dog has a master, and a wolf has a God). In the understanding of the ancient Turks, the wolf descended from the sky, so it is considered as a sacred animal «Kok bori» (heavenly wolf).

Aggression. Keep the wolf from the door (ODR) (lit.: «drive the wolf from the door»); give never the wolf the weather to keep (ODR) (lit.: «don't let the wolf guard the sheep»), the pragmatic function of the ban is connected with the views of this animal as a treacherous creature that can abuse trust. We find mention of these qualities in Kazakh proverbs: Qasqyr toyganyna emes, qyrganyna maz (the wolf is not satisfied with satiety, but with extermination). Borinin auzy zhese de qan, zhemese de qan (the wolf's mouth is always in the blood).

Duplicity. Wolf in sheep's clothing (WDP) (lit.: «wolf in sheep's clothing»). This expression came from the Gospel of Matthew, the meaning of which is «Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, and there are gray wolves inside». This expression is used to characterize a person who hides his bad intentions under the mask of virtue. In the Kazakh language there is a similar expression: “Qoi terisin zhamylgan bori” (lit.: «wolf in sheep's clothing»), which is a lean translation.

Evil intent. The least choice the wolf left a sheep (WDP) (lit.: «it is very unlikely that the wolf will leave the sheep»). The Kazakh proverb «Qasqyrdyn oylagany-aramdyq, qoydyn oylagany-amandyq» (a wolf has an evil intent, a sheep has a desire to stay alive) only confirms the idea that people very rarely give up their harmful addictions, as rarely as a wolf gives up its prey.

The desire for freedom. A lone wolf (lone wolf). Qasqyrdyn kushigin qansha asyrasanda, togaiga qarap uluyn qoymaidy (no matter how much you tame a wolf cub, it still won't stop howling towards the forest). Qasqyr aydanganga konbes, shoshka baylaganga konbes (you can't tame a wolf, you can't tie a pig). The semantic structure of these stable expressions shows the image of a freedom-loving person.

Power, impotence. Have seen a wolf (to be speechless). Myqty qasqyr tai, kunanga shabady. Myqyr qasqyr qozy, laqty qagady. (A strong wolf attacks a foal, a weak one attacks a lamb or a kid). Qasqyrdan qayrat ketse, eshkini apa, tekeni zhezde deidi (If the wolf loses strength, then he calls the goat aunt, and the goat uncle). In Kazakh proverbs a sign of the national specificity of phraseological meaning is a culturally marked component, which is represented by the words: tai (foal of the second year), qunan (foal of the third year), eshki (nanny goat), teke (goat).

Imprudence. A warning. Set the wolf to keep the sheep. «Leave the wolf to guard the sheep». Phraseological unit the wolf eats off the sheep that had been warned (WDP) (lit.: «a wolf often eats a sheep that was warned (about danger)») it is a warning to careless people, potential victims of aggression, even if they were warned about it. Borini shopan qylsan, «qoidy men oltirip edim, zheuin tulki zhedi» der (if the wolf is a shepherd, he will say that he only killed a ram, and the fox ate it).

Greed. As greedy as a wolf (greedy as a wolf). Qasqyrdyn qarny toymaidy (the belly of the wolf is insatiable). These stable combinations confirm the idea that people very rarely give up their addictions, just as rarely as a wolf gives up its prey.

Uncompromising. It is hard to have a wolf full and whether whole (WDP) (lit.: «it's hard to have a full wolf and a whole lamb»). Qasqyr men qoi bir zherden su ishpes (a wolf and a sheep will not drink water from the same source). The presented stable combinations note the impossibility of reconciliation of the eternally warring parties, used in life situations when it is impossible to find a compromise solution.

Volition. The wolf that wants to find the meat must trot all day on his own feet. Er tamagy - elden, bori tamagy - zholdan (a man's food from people, a wolf's prey from the road).

Solidarity. One must howl with the wolves (lit. 'howl with the wolves’). Qasqyrlar ulysyp tabysady (wolves meet each other thanks to howling). Wolf never was against wolf (a wolf will never fight a wolf). Qaskyr da zholdasyna qas kylmaidy (even a wolf will not harm his friend).

Folk beliefs. Amanatka ash bori de kiyanat kylmaidy (left for storage and a hungry wolf will not touch). In the content of the Kazakh proverb there is an indication of the belief that a wolf does not attack a horse whose reins are lowered, so travelers, stopping for the night in the steppe, lowered the reins of the horse, leaving it to graze until morning.

False alarm. To cry wolf means raise a false alarm, undermining trust with false calls for help.

Experience. Kari qasqyr qaqpanga tuspeidi (the old wolf will not fall into the trap).

Thus, the idioethnic images associated with the wolf in the English and Kazakh languages are polysemantic. The selectivity of certain qualities depends on the totality of value orientations, behavior stereotypes. In contrast to the English picture of the world, in the Kazakh cultural space the wolf acts as a totem, symbolizing strength and courage.

“The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs” (6ed.) / Jennifer Speake, “The Free Dictionary” by Farlex, “Phraseologiyalyk sozdik” (2007) by Ismet Kenesbayev, “Qazaqtyn 7777 maqaly men mateli” (2002) by Zhardem Keikin, “Qazaq khalqynyn maqaly men mateli” (2001) were analyzed. As a result of sampling and analysis of the actual material, 16 stable combinations of the «wolf» component in English and 40 in the Kazakh language were identified.


The internal form of phraseological units with a zoonym component in the studied languages expresses both the universal and the national-specific meanings in the English and Kazakh picture of the world. The main reason for the appearance of interlanguage correspondences is the commonality of human thinking, which manifests itself in specific national languages in the form of linguistic universals.

In each subgroup of the studied stable expressions with a zoonym component, the most specific weight is occupied by stable expressions of pejorative evaluativeness, which is associated with the universality of the mechanism for evaluating representatives of the animal world by linguistic communities, which has a psychological background: animals in the human world are at the lowest level of the hierarchy. The images expressed by zoonyms are both national-specific and universal in the English and Kazakh worldview. Some identical realities have different semantic content and connotation, i.e. they are unique and specific, and belong to only one language culture, but at the same time in this thematic group there are international and universal elements present in each of the compared cultures.

However, the semantics of the considered units, in most cases, reflects the national specifics of the perception of reality by the English and Kazakh communities. The idioethnic characteristic of the Kazakh picture of the world should include the fact that the image of the wolf acts as a totemic animal, where its main function is not to «give birth» to a genus or tribe, but to provide a sacred connection with the sky is vital to society. The image of the wolf replenishes the protective functions, it is more a patron than a progenitor. This image is closely connected with the heavenly deities, and we can also assume the presence of «wolf gods» among the Turkic-Mongolian peoples, who acted as patrons of warriors and hunters, as evidenced by the materials of written sources. Thus, in the materials of ancient sources of Ogiznam, Khannam, Zhounnam, the wolf acts as a totem animal of the ancient Turks:

«Men senderge boldym qagan,

Alyndar zhaq pen qalgan

Tanba bizge bolsyn belgi

Kok bori bolsyn uran» (from Ogyznama) [13].

This idea most likely arose, on the one hand, as a result of people's fear of a predator, on the other, hand the legends, according to which the wolf acts as the ancestor of the Turkic people. One of the legends cited by P.Ya. Bichurin mentions the existence of a banner with a wolf's head: «When Ashina became the head of a large tribal association of the Turks, he put up a banner with a wolf's head over the gate of his residence, in memory of his origin». «Soitin kone turikter dushpandarynan qorgana zhurip, ash borilerdi sondaryna erti uzdiksiz zhana zhaiylymdar izdep qarsy shabuyldarga shygyp otyrgan. Ar bir tuqymnan tarady degendi jelly etip, borilerdin kobeyuine yqpal etken. Turkiler qarsylastaryn soqqylap zhatqanda, sonynan ilese shyqqan boriler olardyn maldaryna shauyp typ-tipyl etken. Dushpandaryna qarsy shabuylga shygar aldynda, bastaryna qasqyrdyn terilerin zhamylyp, zhaudyn shebine qaray quryq timegen asaulardi urkitip aidap, qasqyr tarizdi ulyp, zhas borilerdi eliktirip qastaryna zhinap alyp, ozderi ile qarsy shabuylga koterilgen». Akyn Suyunbai, who lived in the XIX century, wrote about:

«Bori basy uranim,

Borili menin bayragym,

Borili bayraq koterse,

Qozyp keter qaidagym,...»

The cultivation of the image of the wolf was associated with the political and economic aspects of the life of the Turks: «Bizdinshe, olardyn negizgi maqsaty auelgi gundar men saqtar dauirlegen kezendi qaita zhangyrtu, aueldegi ozhettikteri men erlikterin qaitaryp alu. Eurazia kenistigimen otetin aigili Zhibek zholynda oz oktemdikterin zhurgizu. Boridei aldyrmaityn ailaker, aqyldy da uiymshyl elimiz degen maksatta borinin beinesi bar bayraqtaryn zhogary kotergen. Ekinshiden, auelden-aq otyryqshylyqqa beimdelgen Batys Europa men Azia qurlygyn mekendegen halyqtardyn ekonomikalyq zhagdayy ilgeri zhylzhyp ketedi de, olar koshpendilerge oz ustemdikterin zhurgizuge kirisedi sol kezde dalalyqtar bul qyspaktan tek bastaryn biryqtiru arqyly gana shygatyndyqtaryna kozderi zhetedi».

The presence of the image of the wolf as a totem among the Kazakhs is indicated by the materials of heroic epics, in which the strength of the batyrs is compared with the wolf. For example, in the epic “Er Targyn” we read:

«Mindi batyr erine,

Izdegen zhauga korine,

Kelgen qalmaq zholyqty

Targyn syndy borige.

Ai betinen kiredi

Kun betinen shygady.

Qoiga kirdi bir bori.

Boriktire qyrady.

Talai qalmaq qulady».

The widespread totemic representation among the Turkic peoples led to the tabooing of the name of this animal and the replacement with other words: qara qulak (black ears), sergek qulak (sharp ears), it-qus (dogbird), teris azu (reverse fang), kokzhal (gray).

Traces of the veneration of the wolf and its social significance are preserved in traditional beliefs and the epic tradition. So, it was considered as a good omen if a wolf attacked a herd of sheep, since a wolf is a dog of «the Almighty». At the heart of folk customs, concerning the wolf, the defining habits of the animal are dexterity, courage, severity, cunning. For example, before feeding the baby the wolf's hair was dipped into hot, clean water, after which the child's lips were moistened. It was believed that this rite would contribute to the appearance of patriotic feelings in the child, make him strong, brave. Kazakhs used wolf meat as food during illnesses, as it was believed that a person would soon recover. We can say that the image of the wolf has become a socio-cultural symbol of great importance for the nomadic cultures of Central Asia.

The universal characteristics of the semantics of the wolf image in the English and Kazakh languages include three semantic features: a wolf is a predatory animal, extremely voracious, which howls, its image characterizes duplicity, strength, love of freedom, uncompromising, solidarity, will.

The theoretical significance of this study is due to the contribution to the study of phraseological units with a zoonym component on the material of distant languages, taking into account national and cultural specifics. The work makes a certain contribution to solving the problem of the functioning of zoonyms in stable expressions, in particular, the study made it possible to trace the influence of extralinguistic factors.

The practical value of the work lies in the fact that the materials of the article and the accumulated research body can be used to create thesauruses, phraseological dictionaries, as well as to clarify the national and cultural specifics and the functioning of zoonyms in the languages of the people of the world. The collected empirical material can be used in classes on linguoculturology and intercultural communication, as well as used in textbooks and manuals.



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