Grudeva Elena Aleksandrovna
Stavropol State Agrarian University, Stavropol
candidate of Philological Sciences

Specific features of Russian and English idioms representing words «осень» and «autumn» are analyzed in the article with the aim to define and compare particular national and cultural peculiarities of the Russian and English languages. Unlike lexical units, the main purpose of which is the name of the objects, phenomena, actions, etc., idiomatic and paremiological units are used for the preservation of national cultural heritage of human society and the transfer of emotional evaluation. In this case, you should talk about "cultural connotations", building material which are primarily phraseological units and paremia. To identify and compare national and cultural peculiarities of Russian and English idioms with the concept autumn a number of idioms with the semantic component “autumn” have been analyzed and cognitive signs of the concept in the Russian and English languages have been defined.

Keywords: concept, conceptual signs, emotional perceptions, idioms, lingua culture, national and cultural peculiarities, national mentality, paremiological units

Category: Linguistics

Article reference:
Russian and English idioms, representing concept осень/autumn // Humanities scientific researches. 2015. № 6. P. 1 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

Idioms in different languages have as common as national specific features. National and cultural components  of idiomatic units are explained by different reasons: they are based on realities, known only to one nation; the use of specific people vocabulary; national-specific toponyms, anthroponyms, the use of archaic grammatical forms of the language; the reflection of customs, traditions, historical events or other people, etc.

Using «Dictionary of Russian Proverbs and Sayings» by V.P. Zhukov, «Explanatory Dictionary of the Live Great Russian Language» by V. Dal, and Internet resources and, we have analyzed idiomatic and paremiological expressions existing in the Russian language that implement the concept autumn.

In our material we have analyzed 44 idiomatic and paremiological units with semantic component «autumn», which is represented by the following conceptual features: 1) fall – time of the year, the season; 2) fall – labor (agricultural) activities; 3) autumn – time of results tabulation; 4) autumn – wealth; 5) autumn – some animated creature; 6) the autumn weather; 7) autumn – emotional state caused by this season. Let’s consider the examples:

1) autumn is the time of the year, season:

Осенняя пора – птица со двора

На следующую осень, годов через восемь

Отложил на осень, а там и бросил

2) fall – labor (agricultural) activities;

Готовь сани с весны, а колеса с осени

Не плачь, овес, что осенью продавать повез, – втридорога заплачу да весной ворочу

Весною не посеешь – осенью не соберешь

3) autumn – a time of results:

Цыплят по осени считают

Осенью работник краснеет, а хозяин бледнеет

Ягненка хвалят весной, а курицу – осенью

Осенью и цыплята курами будут

Летом поем, осенью воем

4) autumn – well-being, wealth:

Осенью любого гостя потчуют молоком, нелюбого медом

Осенью скот жиреет, человек добреет

В осень и у воробья пиво

Осенью и воробей богат

В осень и у вороны копна, не только у тетерева

Осенью кисель да блины, а весной сиди да гляди

Осенью и у кошки пирог

Корми меня в весну, а осенью сам сыт буду

Зима богата снегами, а осень снопами

Весна богата на цветы, а осень – на снопы

Лето со снопами, осень с пирогами

Красна весна цветами, осень – снопами

Не будь в осень тороват, будь к весне богат

5) autumn – some animated creature:

a) autumn – woman, mistress, female:

Осень-то матка: кисель да блины: а весною-то, сиди, сиди, да гляди!

Весна красна, да голодна; осень дождлива, да сыта

Осень хвастлива, весна справедлива

Осень всклочет, да как весна захочет

Придет осень, за все спросит

Осень говорит: гнило, а весна: мило, лишь бы было!

Осень говорит: уклочу; весна говорит: как я захочу

Осень говорит: я поля уряжу; весна говорит: я еще погляжу!

Осень прикажет, а весна свое скажет

Осень всему счет ведет

Осень идет и за собою дождь ведет

b) autumn- an image of elemental force:

В ноябре зима с осенью борется

Весна и осень на пегой кобыле ездят

Лето дает корни, а осень – семена

6) autumn weather:

Осень идет и за собою дождь ведет

Весной: ведро воды – ложка грязи; осенью: ложка воды – ведро грязи

Весной дождь парит, а осенью мочит

Весенний дождь растит, осенний гноит

Весеннее солнце греет, а осеннее только светит

В осеннее ненастье семь погод на дворе – сеет, веет, крутит, мутит, и ревет, и льет, и снизу метет

Весна да осень – на дню погод восемь

В осень кочуй не переезжая реки, весной переезжай, не упуская часу

Осенний дождь мелко сеется, да долго тянется

Весной что рекой прольет – капли не видать, осенью ситцем просеет, а воду хоть ведром черпай

Теплая осень – к долгой зиме

Осень одного заморозит, а зима двоих

7) autumn – emotional state caused by this season:

Поздней осенью одна ягода, да и то горькая рябина

Брюзжит, что худая муха в осень

Осенью серенько, так жди красного денька

It is obvious that in the Russian language on quantitative structure dominated idioms, the value of which is connected with autumn images as animated creatures (mostly generous hostess) and wealth, therefore, this time of the year were associated with a Russian man with a period of prosperity, when in the direct and figurative sense people reap the rewards of the previous period. Also for the Slavic mentality is essential image of the weather, since it largely depends on the result of the autumn work. Most idioms  of the Russian language are didactic in nature and help you better understand the way of life of Russian people, the world around them, as well as the emotional perception of the time of year.

Consider the existing English-language idiomatic and paremiological expressions that implement the concept autumn. In our study we have used the following dictionaries of the English language: «Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms», «Longman Idioms Dictionary and Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English» and Internet resource  We have found 22 idiomatic and paremiological units with semantic component «autumn».

We can select idioms, the value of which is connected with such conceptual characteristics as: 1) autumn – season, time; 2) autumn – age (usually used in reference to the mature years of life); 3) autumn – time of results tabulation.

1)      Autumn – time of the year, season:

Last fall

It’s getting autumnal

As the word «autumn» in the English language can be not only a noun, but also an adjective, we have analyzed idiomatic units, the value of that can be represented by the following semantic components belonging to the group of autumn period, time:

(a) a property that characterizes or describes the characteristics of autumn (autumn/autumnal):

Autumn colours

Autumnal equinox

Autumn foliage

Autumnal leaves

Autumn timber

b) sign, i.e. what happens, takes place in autumn or intended for the autumn season:

Autumn fever

Autumn catarrh

Autumn double

Autumn term

c) images of plants growing in autumn (autumn/autumnal):

Autumn-flowering (blooming)

Autumn crocus

Autumn pumpkin

Autumn sneezeweed

Autumn sowing

d) emotions associated with this time of year (autumn/autumnal  = dark, sad).

Аutumnal face

2)      autumn – age:

The autumn of one’s life

Аutumn years (lit.) – the mature years

3) autumn – time for summing up:

If you do not sow in the spring you will not reap in the autumn

Chickens are counted in autumn

One should count chickens in autumn

So, in English proverbs and idiomas on quantitative structure dominated group that is associated with images of plants growing in autumn, as well as the group expresses or describes the characteristics of autumn. That is, for the English mentality is more significant the case, and not substantive area of the concept autumn. In addition, idiomatic and paremiological units with didactic in nature, are not well represented in English, unlike Russian, are not bright emotive colouring and axiological evaluation of autumn as the time of year.

Thus, the concept of autumn in the Slavic lingua culture inextricably linked with employment, in particular with the harvest, the end of the agricultural season and preparing for winter. In the minds of the Slavs “autumn” was associated with the harvest, and, as can be seen from the analyzed material was considered to be a period of prosperity.

For the English mentality more important are symptoms of autumn, concept autumn in English lingua culture is time of year, important for its characteristics and signs, and not the result or impact on people’s lives.

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