Danubius International Conferences, 6th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

On a Phraseological Contamination within Romanian Journalistic Contexts: a se duce pe apa Dunării (ʻto be wastedʼ)

Cristinel Munteanu
Last modified: 2016-06-01


Not only the water of the Danube itself is currently contaminated with toxic elements, but also the positive symbolic hallo which was once associated with this river. Thus, unlike in the old times, when the Danube was divinised as a saint river, it is becoming more and more a desacralized space. This tendency can also be observed, for instance, in the way in which its name is used in all kinds of puns which are found in the journalistic style, mainly in allusive journalistic headlines. I refer to a well-known procedure, by means of which journalists try to attract a certain category of readers. In my paper I will examine the way in which a Romanian idiom (having negative connotations), a se duce pe apa Sâmbetei (literally: “to go down the water of Saturday”) ʻto be wastedʼ, underwent a formal transformation, namely a substitution, and finally resulted in the phrase a se duce pe apa Dunării (literally: “to go down the water of Danube”). In this case, as well, one can find in journalistic headlines a series of motivated modifications or adaptations of the respective phrase, according to the topic of the journalistic report.