OJML  Vol.11 No.4 , August 2021
Somatic Phraseology that Shows Kyrgyz People Historical and Cultural Development
Abstract: This article is exploring several somatic phraseological units in the Kyrgyz language. In investigating the origin of phraseological units, we focused our attention on the fact that stable phrases are an inexhaustible treasure in human thought. They are living testimonies of the past. In other words, we can see and restore the Kyrgyz people’s history and culture by studying the semantics and structure of somatic phraseological units. The human body and its parts have always been an important component of the vocabulary in any language since these are concepts that are relevant for all ethnic groups. Somatic concepts apply not only to the external, visible parts of the human body. Blood and internal organs are also an active component of phraseology in linguistics.

1. Introduction

The phraseological fund of any language in its semantics reflects the national originality of the people (Kopzhasarova et al., 2013: p. 91; Chugunekova & Chertykova, 2017: p. 622), their worldview, its mentality, historical destiny and traditions. Phraseologisms, which have a special place in the lexical structure of the language, have long been a great treasure of any language. Phraseological expressions convey the deep meaning of thought and include imagery (Yablonskaya & Kurash, 2015: p. 153). Phraseological units in their semantic and emotional content are broader than other separate linguistic units (Mirzaev, 2016: p. 56).

In this article, we study the origin of several somatic phraseologies and their reflection in Kyrgyz people’s history and cultural development, comparison of phraseological units of two or more languages presents great opportunities (Ismailova, 2011: p. 21). In a study of phraseological units marked difference in meanings, spheres of phraseological units use; phraseologies differ from each other according to their forms of opinions interchange through language (Pirniyazova, 2019: p. 128).

The term somatica from the Greek language soma (somatos) is used in biology and medicine and refers to the human body. In linguistics, this term has been actively used since the middle of the 20th century. The term somatics was first introduced in linguistics in Finno-Ugric by F. Wack. He analyzed the phraseological fund of the Estonian language and called its phraseological unit components as containing parts of the human body. In his work on somatic phraseology in the Estonian language, the scientist concluded that somatic phraseological units (SFU) are one of the oldest branches in linguistics. Identification of phraseological units’ properties in the semantics of one language can be realized only in comparison with the definition of this phraseological unit in the native language, a division of common features in phraseological units of two languages promotes a quick understanding of semantics in national and cultural components (Gorodetskaya, 2007: p. 163).

Founders in a systematic study of somatic phraseology in the Russian language are E.M. Mordkovich, Russian scientists V.V. Vinogradov, S.V. Bogolepova, E.S. Kubryakov, V.N. Telia (Shkatova, 2012: p. 210), D.S. Sknareva and others who have studied somatic components. Researchers of somatic phraseology in the Kyrgyz language are: O.S. Abdikaimova, A.O. Karmyshakov, V.M. Musaev, N.Y. Osmonova, Y. Temirkulova and others.

The parts of the body that are face parts of the tongue (teeth, tongue, eyebrows, eyelids, ears, eyes, eyelashes, mouth, etc.) and other parts in the human body including hands (fingers, palms, nails, wrists, armpits, elbows, etc.). The number of phrases involving the legs, shoulders, internal organs (heart, lungs, liver, abdomen, etc.) is very huge. According to R.M. Weintraub, the SFU accounts for about 30 percent of all languages.

Anthropocentrism of the linguistic picture of the environment is clearly seen in somatic phraseology (Dinislamova, 2018: p. 232). Anthropocentrism is the view of man as the center of the world and order in the highest goal. From time immemorial, the human body has been seen as a source of knowledge and understanding of the world, and it can clearly express one’s knowledge about oneself and one’s perception of the world by reflecting the reality around.

The use of somatic expressions shows a person how to know the world and his personal qualities through himself and his body parts. According to the famous historian and philosopher M.Y. Gefter, it is a diary or a historical document that is a living testimony to the past (Neretina, 2018: p. 59).

In this article, somatic phraseology showing Kyrgyz people cultural development was described. In addition, various researchers’ opinions about particular somatic phraseologies were explained throughout the article.

2. Research Methods

In this work, dictionaries of phraseological units and oral speech of native speakers are used as research material. We analyzed the origins and semantics of several human bodies related somatic concepts in the form of stable units, using the methods of continuous selection, semantic-cognitive and component analysis methods based on the contemporary theory of metaphor, conceptual integration and lexical semantics in linguistic analysis (Belyaevskaya, 2014: p. 10; Stadulskaya, 2012: p. 112); analysis and generalization of materials, mainly text for a search of systematic units, evaluation, selection of information, diagnostic and analysis (Mitina & Evdokimenko, 2010: p. 29).

3. Results and Discussions

3.1. Phraseology “Ak Sook”

“Ak sook” in the phraseological dictionary of the Kyrgyz language is related to the meaning aristocrat, who is a descendant of the ruling class of society and explained as not ordinary (Osmonova et al., 2015). The literal translation of this regular expression into English is ak is white,sook is bone, this phraseology related to rich people.

Well-known Kyrgyz historian Professor S. Attokurov, in his work Tailak Baatyr, argues that the Kyrgyz Sayak tribe is genealogically related to the Saks. The word “sak” means “free man,” “strong man (warrior).” Archaeological monuments of the Sak tribes were dominated by mound tombs. These tombs were unique engineering structures dedicated to deceased kings, tribal chiefs, and nobles. Very valuable artifacts related to the Sak culture were found in these tombs. The artifacts preserved in the tombs testify the value of the burial customs of the Sak tribes. The mounds and tombs in different parts of Central Asia differ in appearance and internal structure. Another somatic expression that reflects class division is “Let the rich man’s son speak, even if his mouth is crooked.” This means that even though the mind does not understand many things, wealth is passed from father to son, and a person who has wealth also has power.

3.2. Phraseology “Not My Hand, but the Umai Mother’s Hand”

“Not my hand, but the Umai mother’s hand” is often used in the treatment of children or women giving birth, meaning “let this hand fall” and “let it be healed” (Osmonova et al., 2015: p. 752). Mother Umai is a mother who protects the children’s birth and their postpartum health. Umai mother is the sacred meaning coming after Tenir, and Tenir is a basic concept in shamanism. Shamanism and related concepts and methods of treatment have played an important role in the life of the Kyrgyz people and have been firmly entrenched in their lives (Nemerov, 2016: p. 125; Abdyrakhmanov & Syuyrbekov, 2018: p. 70).

Kyrgyz people’s pre-Islamic religious beliefs were more flexible in life, because they were more related to the peculiarities in Kyrgyz people social structure, in particular, the patriarchal and tribal traditions that were existing in it. Livestock, which was more dependent on the nature forces, also contributed to the preservation of pre-Islamic religious ideas (Osmonov & Myrzakmatova, 2012: p. 24). Examining the origin of the term Umai’s mother’s hand, not mine’s, it is clear that the Kyrgyz people practiced shamanism before converting to Islam.

Shamanism can be combined with other forms of religion, the elements of which are preserved in many religions (Karataev, 2003: p. 259). To this day, the religious concept of shamanism has survived among the Kyrgyz. Maternity hospitals appeared in the regions only during the Soviet era. Before that, Kyrgyz was born and raised in yurts. Mothers with no medical education often said: “It’s not my hand, it’s the Umai mother’s hand,” to babies to be born.

Even today, mother Umai is praised for her support. The fact that some religious rituals are still practiced among the population indicates that Kyrgyz is an ancient people. According to scientists, shamanism originated in the Stone Age and is considered as one of the oldest religions in the world (Zhelobtsov, 2014: p. 8).

3.3. Phraseology “Do Not Let to Drop White Elechek off Your Head”

A somatic phrase that reflects the nomadic life culture in the history of Kyrgyz people is “Do not drop white elechek off your head”. This is said to women; it is used in the sense of blessing, which means wish to get old together with spouse. In Islamic sharia elechek is a women’s headwear, which is white cloth, wrapped into layers that covered women’s private parts, hair and neck. In the town of Balasagun Chui Valley, more than 200 nomadic Kyrgyz converted to Islam. However, the spread of Islam in the lives of the nomads was hampered by the bravery and civil war. The process of conversion to Islam intensified during the Kokand Khanate. It is possible that the fabric was wrapped in layers to reflect the Kyrgyz nomadic life, to prevent them from freezing in different cold winds during migration. There is a way to wrap the sieve. Now you see a hat made of white cloth, but it is absolutely wrong. We are losing our culture. The elechek itself consists of a takiya and an inner part. Why wrap eighteen meters of fabric? It also has its secret, and the strength of Kyrgyz philosophy can be seen here. Where there is a soul, there is birth, where there is a soul, there is death. Because the Kyrgyz were a nomadic people, there were times when children were born and people died on the way. At that moment, an eighteen meter piece of cloth was cut from the mother’s head to wrap the body of the newborn and the dead man. Wherever he went, he was placed in a high place and kept clean. He also taught the old women to walk slowly and straight. The mothers carried the burdens of a village and a tribe on their heads. They said, “If you give birth to your son, wrap your people when you die, and carry the burden of a tribe.” (Elechek Is a Load of an Ancient Tribe, 2016)

3.4. Phraseology “Do Not Let to Drop White Kalpak off Your Head”

As we examine the regular expressions that the article focuses on, we can see the history and culture of the ethnos. It is no coincidence that regular expressions are not a treasure trove of language. The symbolic headwear of the Kyrgyz people is reflected in the somatic constant phrase that white kalpak (hat) should not fall off men’s head. Kalpak is a sacred national headwear of Kyrgyz people. Sons are a treasure trove of national values worn by men and women. Kyrgyzstan celebrates March 5th as a White Kalpak Day, when white kalpaks will march across the country, which is very exciting scene. The kalpak is rich in deep philosophy and keeps the men head warm in winter and cool in summer. The kalpak is a natural garment made of white felt, which is made from sheep’s wool. There is a proverb about kalpak:

Do not put the kalpak on the ground.

If you lose your kalpak, you lose your head.

If you sell your kalpak, you sell your mind.

There are several other proverbs about the kalpak, which says, kalpak should always be near men’s head when sleeping, but not near feet.

3.5. Phraseology “Opening the Mouth”

“Opening the mouth” is a phraseology that we do not understand literally. This is because this constant expression means that a person who fasts during the month of Ramadan, which is one of the main duties of Islam, does not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, and only eat and drink when call by prayer is made. The somatic phrase “close mouth” means, as mentioned above, that a person who is fasting intentionally stops eating and drinking from the sunrise to sunset.

In the Kyrgyz people’s history, Islam religion was not respected as atheism in the Soviet era was dominated. After the collapse of Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan became an independent country, religious freedom returned, and Islam, in particular, is flourishing today.

3.6. Phraseology “Eat Seven Fathers Liver”

Then there is the regular phrase “Eat seven fathers’ liver”, which reflects the history, customs and culture of Kyrgyz people. Genealogy from Greek Genealogia means a list of ancestors, descendants, which originally determined the origin of humankind. The seven fathers a genealogical concept informing about ancestry. Perception of the Seven Fathers as a folkloric genealogical concept is associated with the patriarchal-nomadic tradition. Zheti ata played a socially important role among the Kyrgyz people. According to the Kyrgyz traditions, everyone in society should know their seven fathers. Because a man who did not know his seven fathers was considered as a slave. A Russian man who came to Kyrgyzstan in the late 19th century wrote: “To know something about a stranger, they ask, ‘Who were your seven fathers?’ Every Kyrgyz child can answer this question very clearly” (Asanov, 2011: p. 202). The seven fathers are named in the following order and are deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the people: father, grandfather, baba, buba, kubaar, joto, jete. It was customary to ask for seven fathers from men to whom giving a daughter to marriage. Since the Kyrgyz have long lived in isolation in the highlands, it was necessary to regulate marital relations to maintain the purity of the generation. According to this custom, marriage was forbidden with men from the same seven generations. This science is called seven-generation exogamy. This indicates that, unlike the settled peoples, the Kyrgyz have developed a separate culture of marriage and reproduction. This led to the tradition of questioning the seven fathers. So it was a disgrace to say that you felt sorry for your seven fathers, and it was tantamount to cursing your seven fathers and even death.


Citizen’s sign

He was blessed by his fathers.

Who does not know his seven fathers,

Called as insufficient slave.

Respect the good men,

Continue fathers’ way (Abduhamidova et al., 2014).

3.7. Phraseology “Waist Band Marriage Court”

Another regular phrase that reflects the historical and cultural traditions of Kyrgyzstan is “marriage”. In the phraseological dictionary of the Kyrgyz language, this regular expression is defined as marriage court to a child before it is born, while it is still in the mother’s womb. Close friends and acquaintances blessed each other with the intention that if one of them had a son and the other a daughter, they would marry in adulthood. Most of the time, they get married when they grow up, as promised. This constant expression shows another great characteristic of the Kyrgyz, a culture of respect for elders, obedience to parents.

3.8. Phraseology “Waist Band Is Not Yet Out of a Cradle”

“Out of the cradle” means a young person who has not yet reached the age of puberty. We can see the history and culture of the Kyrgyz people in this constant phrase. Beshik is a cradle wooden bed made of birch, juniper, willow, or mulberry that can hold a baby to sleep. The cradle is designed to move into right and left, thus helping baby went asleep. Craftsmen are able to preserve these characteristics of the product, to improve their skills, to invent a new type of design and to further develop it in art. In fact, a wooden cradle is never painted.

This masterpiece, made with wisdom, is not the only invention of the artist. The cradle is a joint work of many, passed down from father to son, from elders to descendants, and as an indelible gift (Akmataliev, 1996: p. 23). It did not break when fell, and kept balance, and swing on move. The mattress, the blanket, the pillow, the pillowcase, trousers, bead, rattle all made completely. As Kyrgyz people lived in nomadic life style, they could not move without a cradle. There is a saying “a cradled child will be strong”. The baby in the cradle is always dry, that is, if the baby urinates, it falls into tray through the pipe. The baby sleeps peacefully in the cradle. Kyrgyz women are very persistent and hardworking. They manage to do all housework by putting their baby in a cradle. The cradle relevance remains to these days. This is because the baby may wake up as soon as his hand moves. In the cradle, it is as quiet as a blanket.

3.9. Phraseology “Head in a Thin Belt, Blood in a Vessel”

What does it mean to have a constant expression on your head and blood? The human head is always highly valued. People believed that only the Creator could get it back, so no one was betrayed. In times of war, women and children were highly valued, and some men tried to save them. The men on horseback, always ready for different situations, said, “Blood on the head.” If the arm was broken, it was tied to the shoulder, if the leg was broken, it was tied to the stirrup, and if the head was thrown from the shoulder, the enemy was defeated. In the fierce battles, the body of the hero, who threw his head, was tied to his horse and his head was tied to a donkey and taken away. That is why they said that when they entered the enemy, they were in disarray. In the phraseological dictionary of the Kyrgyz language; the threat of death means that you are in a very difficult situation, in a combat situation, in a difficult period. Kyrgyz people are naturally friendly people, in any situation they try to meet guests well, even in a nomadic lifestyle, they appreciated friendship and guests (Mamasheva et al., 2021).

4. Conclusion

One of the important results in linguistic research is that language is not built on the national identity of each people, but on the process of trying to learn the language of each people. Therefore, perception of the world is based on cognition, not language. The phraseology of any language clearly shows the culture, customs, history and way of life of that nation. Phraseologies convey ideas in a sharp, clear, and figurative way. Regular expressions are generally not translated directly into another language. Because the living conditions of different ethnic groups are different, as different people see the same phenomenon in their environment through their own prism and reflect it according to their own perception of the world. Therefore, study of phraseology and their origin enriches minds in many ways and plays an important role.

In our future research, comparative analysis of phraseologies will be conducted on somatic component human face in Kyrgyz, Russian and English languages.

Cite this paper: Mamasheva, O. , Madmarova, G. , Kalygulova, S. , Raimova, G. , Ergeshova, G. , Kabylov, T. , Nasyrova, M. , Asanbaeva, B. and Abdullaeva, Z. (2021) Somatic Phraseology that Shows Kyrgyz People Historical and Cultural Development. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 11, 710-718. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2021.114056.

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