XLIX Международная научная филологическая конференция, посвященная памяти Людмилы Алексеевны Вербицкой (1936-2019).

Tempting fate phraseology as a superstitious schematic concept: a comparative study

Izabela Dixon
Koszalin University of Technology, Poland
Harald Ulland
Bergen University

Ключевые слова, аннотация

Superstitious beliefs, lexicalised, schematic superstitious concepts, comparative paremiology/phraseology.


Many superstitious beliefs have become lexicalised over time and still enjoy wide circulation within and across linguistic cultures. This paper sets out to explain a culture specific schematic superstitious concept that has lexicalised in many European languages. The concept in question is that of fate but the investigation focuses on verbal manifestations of the tempting fate schema (Dixon 2015). In addition to the orientational left/right schema (get up on the right/wrong side of bed), within the tempting fate schematic concept several sub-groups of paroemias and formulaic expressions can be distinguished. The superstitious language in the study includes taboo exclamations (God damn it!), blessings and curses (give one's blessing to do someone something, To the devil with you!), oaths/vows (Cross my heart and hope to die, Over my dead body!), and warnings. An example of a superstitious proverb that can be classified as tempting fate is the warning: Nie wywołuj wilka z lasu/Nie budź licha kiedy śpi (PL), Не буди лихо, когда спит тихо (RU), Let sleeping dogs lie (GB) and Vekk ikke en sovende hund (NO). The study covers a range of fixed phraseological units and proverbial phrases in two Slavic languages, Polish and Russian, as well as two Germanic languages, English and Norwegian. The research will detail both linguistic and conceptual equivalence regarding this superstitious concept and approaching it from linguistic and cultural perspectives.