Phraseology has come to occupy an ever more central role in linguistic studies, embracing numerous, often interacting, theoretical approaches, generating practical applications in areas from language teaching to translation and producing ever more accurate lexicographic tools. 

Among the currents of research that have arisen within phraseology, that of contrastive, or comparative, phraseology has seen intense development since the 1960s, although a historical comparative tradition involving the examination of the evolution and etymology of mainly proverbs and sayings dates to the end of the 19th century (Dobrovol’skij 2011, 219). Fifty years on, comparative phraseology can rightly be considered one of the mainstays of phraseology, a rich source of inspiration for research that, in turn, opens new perspectives for further investigation (Colson 2008). The contrastive approach is so stimulating because the concrete analysis of phraseological units in different languages reveals simultaneously theoretical and practical issues (Colson 2008, 192). Comparisons are concerned with the relationship between the semantic and the syntactic levels of meaning; between the cognitive level – especially metaphor and metonymy – and the syntactic level; and with the manifestation of this relationship in concrete phraseological units. Finally, it is also concerned with phrasemes as carriers of culture, which oblige research to focus on cultural phenomena (Piirainen 2008; Dobrovol’skij & Piirainen 2021). 

In terms of methodology, contrastive analysis has benefitted from corpus linguistics, which, as in many other areas, has transformed research. Access to large corpora of texts in different languages has been decisive in clarifying the nature of phraseological units and in giving them the relevance they deserve (see, for example, Bubenhofer 2009; Cowie 1998; Sinclair 1991; Steyer 2013). 

Conceived as more than the mere comparison between phraseological units in two or more languages, contrastive phraseology offers the tools to improve the investigation of the so-called ‘phraseological universals’, and it does so by analyzing logical and figurative-associative mental processes across a wide range of different cultures. In fact, the analysis of phraseological repertoires involves recourse to the cultural perspective, which almost always cannot be neglected if one wants to describe and explain the complexity of phraseological units (Cotta Ramusino & Mollica 2020). 

More recently, an increasing number of studies have confirmed the importance of fine-grained phraseological competence in foreign language teaching since it enables the learners to communicate more effectively and to sound more natural (see, for example, Albano & Miller 2020; Bini, Pernas & Pernas 2007; Granger 1998; Hasselgren 2002). 

The EUROPHRAS-2023-conference aims at discussing the role of contrastive phraseology in a wide array of areas of interest. We invite contributions on applied and theoretical topics, including but by no means limited to:

– Bilingual/multilingual lexicography

– Linguistic and cultural equivalence

– Phraseology and diachronic variation (inter- or intralinguistic comparison)

– Phraseology and diatopic variation (inter- or intralinguistic comparison)

– Phraseology in language teaching

– Phraseology und culture studies

– The role of metaphor and metonymy in phraseologisms

– Phraseology and Corpus Linguistics

– Phraseology and Construction Grammar

– Phraseology and Discourse Analysis

– Phraseology and Translation


Albano, Mariangela / Miller, Julia (eds.). 2020. Contexts and Plurality in Phraseology: Didactics, Learning and Translation. Białystok: University of Bialystok Publishing House.

Bini, Milena / Pernas, Almudena / Pernas, Paloma. 2007 “Apprendimento e insegnamento collocazioni dell’italiano. Con i NUNC pi. facile”. In Corpora e linguistica in rete, edited by Manuel Barbera / Elisa Corino/ Cristina Onesti, 323–333. Perugia: Guerra Edizioni.

Bubenhofer, Noah. 2009. Sprachgebrauchsmuster. Korpuslinguistik als Methode der Diskurs- und Kulturanalyse. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Dobrovol’skij Dmitrij. 2011. “Sopostavitel’naya frazeologiya: mezh”yazykovaya kvivalentnost’ i problema perevoda idiom”. Russkiy yazyk v nauchnom osveshchenii. 2 (22): 219–246.

Dobrovol’skij, Dmitrij / Piirainen, Elisabeth. 2021. Figurative Language: Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspectives. 2nd Edition, revised and updated. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter Mouton.

Colson, Jean-Pierre. 2008. “Cross-linguistic phraseological studies”. In Phraseology. An interdisciplinary perspective, edited by Sylvian Granger / Fanny Meunier, 191–206. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Cotta Ramusino Paola, Mollica, Fabio (eds). 2020. Contrastive Phraseology: Languages and Cultures in Comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.

Cowie Anthony Paul (eds.). 1998. Phraseology: theory, analysis, and applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Granger, Sylviane. 1998. “Prefabricated patterns in advanced EFL writing: collocations and formulae.” In Phraseology. Theory, analysis and applications, edited by Cowie Anthony Paul, 145–160. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hasselgren, Angela. 2002. “Learner corpora and language testing: smallwords as markers of learner fluency”. In Computer Learner Corpora, Foreign Language Acquisition, edited by Sylviane, Granger / Joseph, Hung / Stephanie, Petch-Tyson, 143–174. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Piirainen, Elisabeth. 2008. “Phraseology in a European framework: A cross-linguistic and cross-cultural research project on widespread idioms”. In Phraseology. An interdisciplinary perspective, edited by Sylvian Granger / Fanny Meunier, 243–258. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Sinclair, John. 1991. Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Steyer, Kathrin. 2013. Usuelle Wortverbindungen. Zentrale Muster des Sprachgebrauchs aus korpusanalytischer Sicht. Tübingen: Narr.