12. Cross-linguistic phraseological studies: An overview
Cross-linguistic research on phraseology covers a wide range of challenging topics, from the simple comparison of idioms or metaphors in two languages, to the systematic contrastive study of all categories of set phrases across different languages. Current research demonstrates that phraseology in the broad sense is one of the key components of language and is probably universal. However, the theoretical debate on the definition of set phrases and the interaction between culture, meaning, syntax, figurative language and phraseology is not yet completely settled. Two major theoretical approaches have so far yielded promising results: the first is more semantic and is often associated with cognitive linguistics, while the second can be described as cross-linguistic corpus linguistics. The cognitive approach to phraseology across languages lays stress on metaphors and images as the constituent principles of set phrases, and provides interesting information about the intriguing interplay between universal cognitive principles, culture and phraseology. Cross-linguistic studies based on corpora, on the other hand, offer a statistical analysis of the various categories of set phrases as well as a very reliable methodology. Cross-linguistic phraseology is closely linked to translation studies. Active collaboration between multilingual corpus linguistics, contrastive phraseology and natural language processing may offer insightful perspectives on translation practice.