Mukhin S.V. Somatic Lexis of the Vespasian Psalter


Sergey V. Mukhin

Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, Department of English Language No. 1, MGIMO University

Prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, 119454 Moscow, Russia

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Abstract. The article focuses on the linguistic properties of Old English somatic vocabulary represented by the specific lexis and idiomatic expressions collected from The Vespasian Psalter, an 8 th century Anglo-Saxon glossed manuscript. The research submits to scrutiny 37 substantive words with corporeal semantics, which are grouped according to the conventional procedure. In the text of the Vespasian Psalter 750 contexts with lexical somatisms are thoroughly analyzed to calculate the frequency of occurrence of each unit and detect the corporeal vocabulary which enjoys the highest frequency and therefore may prove to be phraseologically productive. Proceeding from the analysis of a number of contexts with the noun toð (tooth), the study is made of the capacity of lexical somatisms to build regular idiomatic complexes with the contextual ambience. The emphasis is laid on the fact that the main signatures of idiomatization are regular speech incidence of the somatic component combined with certain words and a constant image underpinning the semantic structure of the hereby formed idiomatic word-combination. To verify the phraseological status of the word-combinations, contexts are considered in comparison with the corresponding contexts in other Old English manuscripts. The research can be of interest to specialists in a number of linguistic departments: lexicology, phraseology, linguoculturology and history of English.

Key words: somatism, Vespasian Psalter, frequency of occurrence, phrase-building, study of idioms, Old English, Latin.

Citation. Mukhin S.V. Somatic Lexis of the Vespasian Psalter. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2023, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 120-131. (in Russian). DOI:

Somatic Lexis of the Vespasian Psalter by Mukhin S.V. is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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