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Lexicology and Sociolinguistics

02070855-3517-2011

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
LECTURE 1. METHODS AND PROCEDURES OF LEXICOLOGICAL ANALYSIS.  
LECTURE 2. SEMASIOLOGY .
LECTURE 3. WORD-GROUPS AND PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS ...  
LECTURE 4. WORD-STRUCTURE
LECTURE 5. WORD-FORMATION. VARIOUS WAYS OF FORMING WORDS..  
LECTURE 6. WORD-FORMATION. COMPOUNDING ..
LECTURE 7. ETYMOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE ENGLISH WORD-STOCK .........  
LECTURE 8. VARIOUS ASPECTS OF VOCABULARY UNITS AND REPLENISHMENT OF MODERN ENGLISH WORD-STOCK. VARIANTS AND DIALECTS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ...  
LECTURE 9. FUNDAMENTALS OF ENGLISH LEXICOGRAPHY  
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INTRODUCTION

 

1. Definition. Lexicology is a branch of linguistics, the science of language. The term Lexicology is composed of two Greek morphemes: lexismeaning word, phrase (hence lexicos having to do with words) and logoswhich denotes learning, a department of knowledge. Thus, the literal meaning of the term Lexiolg is the science of the word. The literal meaning, however, gives only a general notion of the aims and the subject-matter of this branch of linguistic science, since all its other branches also take account of words in one way or another approaching them from different angles.

Lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims and methods of scientific research, its basic task being a study and systematic description of vocabulary in respect to its origin, development and current use. Lexicology is concerned with words, variable word-groups, phraseological units, and with morphemes which make up words.

Distinction is naturally made between General Lexicology and Special Lexicology. General Lexicology is part of General Linguistics; it is concerned with the study of vocabulary irrespective of the specific features of any particular language. Special Lexicology is the Lexicology of a particular language (e.g. English, Russian, etc.), i.e. the study and description of its vocabulary and vocabulary units, primarily words as the main units of language. Needless to say that every Special Lexicology is based on the principles worked out and laid down by General Lexicology, a general theory of vocabulary.

Two Approaches to Language

There are two principal approaches in linguistic science to the study of language material, namely the synchronic (Gr. syn together, with and chromos time) and the diachronic (Gr. Dia through) approach. With regard to Special Lexicology the synchronic approach is concerned with the vocabulary of a language as it exists at a given time, for instance, at the present time. It is special Desriptive Lexicology that deals with the vocabulary and vocabulary units of a particular language at a certain time. A Course in Modern English Lexicology is therefore a course in Special Descriptive Lexicology, its object of study being the English vocabulary as it exists at the present time.

The diachronic approach in terms of Special Lexicology deals with the changes and the development of vocabulary in the course of time. It is special Historical Lexicology that deals with the evolution of the vocabulary units of a language as time goes by.

It should be emphatically stressed that the distinction between the synchronic and the diachronic study is merely a difference of approach separating for the purposes of investigation what in real language is inseparable. The two approaches should not be contrasted, or set one against the other; in fact, they are intrinsically interconnected and interdependent: every linguistic structure and system actually exists in a state of constant development so that the synchronic state of a language system is a result of a long process of linguistic evolution, of its historical development.

Lexical Units

It was pointed out above that Lexicology studies various lexical units: morphemes, words, variable word-groups and phraseological units. We proceed from the assumption that the word is the basic unit of language system, the largest on the morphologic and the smallest on the syntactic plane of linguistic analysis. The word is a structural and semantic entity within the language system.

It should be pointed out that there is another approach to the concept of the basic language unit. Both words and phraseological units are names for things, namely the names of actions, objects, qualities, etc. Unlike words proper, however, phraseological units are word- as a unit with a specialised meaning of the whole. To illustrate, the lexical or to be more exact the vocabulary units tattle, wall, taxiare words denoting various objects of the outer world; the vocabulary units black frost, red tape, a skeleton in the cupboardare phraseological units: each is a word-group with a specialised meaning of the whole, namely black frostis frost without snow or rime, red tapedenotes bureaucratic methods, a skeleton in the cupboardrefers to a fact of which a family is ashamed and which it tries to hide.

Varieties of Words

Although the ordinary speaker is acutely word-conscious and usually finds no difficulty either in isolating words from an utterance or in identifying them in the process of communication, the precise linguistic definition of a word is far from easy to state; no exhaustive definition of the word has yet been given by linguists.

The word as well as any linguistic sign is a two-facet unit possessing both form and content or, to be more exact, soundform and meaning. Neither can exist without the other. For example, [θimbl] is a word within the framework of the English language primarily because it has the lexical meaning a small cap of metal, plastic, etc. worn on the finger in sewing (Russ. ) and the grammatical meaning of the Common case, singular. In other languages it is not a word, but a meaningless sound-cluster.

When used in actual speech the word undergoes certain modification and functions in one of its forms.

The system showing a word in all its word-forms is called its paradigm. The lexical meaning f word is the same throughout the paradigm, i.e. all the word-forms of one and the same word are lexically identical. The grammatical meaning varies from one form to another (cf. to take, takes, took, takingor singer, singers, singers, singers).

There are two approaches to the paradigm: (a) as a system of forms of one word it reveals the differences and relationships between them; (b) in abstraction from concrete words it is treated as a pattern on which every word of one part of speech models its forms, thus serving to distinguish one part of speech from another. Cf. the noun paradigm ( ), -s, -s, -sas distinct from that of the regular verb ( ) ,-s, -ed1, -ed2, -ing,etc.

Contrastive Analysis

It is common knowledge that comparison is the basic principle in comparative philology.

Contrastive linguistics attempts to find out similarities and differences in both philogenically related and non-related languages.

In fact contrastive analysis grew as the result of the practical demands of language teaching methodology where it was empirically shown that the errors which are made recurrently by foreign language students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between the target language and the language of the learner. This naturally implies the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native and a target language which has been named contrastive analysis.

It is common knowledge that one of the major problems in the learning of the second language is the interference caused by the difference between the mother tongue of the learner and the target language.

Linguistic scholars proceed from the assumption that the categories, elements, etc. on the semantic as well as on the syntactic and other levels are valid for both languages, i.e. are adopted from a possibly universal inventory. For example, linking verbs can be found in English, in French, in Russian, etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of change, become are differently represented in each of the languages. In English, e.g., become, come, fall, get, grow, run, turn, wax, in German werden, in French devenir, in Russian .

The task set before the linguist is to find out which semantic and syntactic features characterise 1. the English set of verbs (cf. grow thin, get angry, fall ill, turn traitor, run dry, wax eloquent), 2. the French (Russian, German, etc.) set of verbs, 3. how the two sets compare. Cf., e.g., the English word-groups grow thin, get angry, fall ill and the Russian verbs , , .

Contrastive analysis can be carried out at three linguistic levels: phonology, grammar (morphology and syntax) and lexis (vocabulary). In what follows we shall try to give a brief survey of contrastive analysis mainly at the level of lexis.

Contrastive analysis is applied to reveal the features of sameness and difference in the lexical meaning and the semantic structure of correlated words in different languages.

Contrastive analysis also brings to light what can be labelled problem pairs, i.e. the words that denote two entities in one language and correspond to two different words in another language.

Compare, for example in Russian and clock, watch in English, in Russian and artist, painter in English.

Conversely one Russian word may correspond to a number of English words.

For instance compare a thin book subtle irony slim waist.

Statistical Analysis

An important and promising trend in modern linguistics which has been making progress during the last few decades is the quantitative study of language phenomena and the application of statistical methods in linguistic analysis.

Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognised as one of the major branches of linguistics. Statistical inquiries have considerable importance not only because of their precision but also because of their relevance to certain problems of communication engineering and information theory.

Statistical approach proved essential in the selection of vocabulary items of a foreign language for teaching purposes.

It can be easily observed from the semantic count above that themeaning part of a house (sitting room, drawing room,etc.) makes up 83% of all occurrences of the word roomand should be included in the list of meanings to be learned by the beginners, whereas the meaning suite, lodgings is not essential and makes up only 2%of all occurrences of this word.

Thus, statistical analysis is applied in different branches of linguistics including lexicology as a means of verification and as a reliable criterion for the selection of the language data provided qualitative description of lexical items is available.

Transformational Analysis

Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be defined as re-patterning of various distributional structures in order to discover difference or sameness of meaning of practically identical distributional patterns.

As distributional patterns are in a number of cases polysemantic, transformational procedures are of help not only in the analysis of semantic sameness / difference of the lexical units under investigation, but also in the analysis of the factors that account for their polysemy.

For example, if we compare two compound words dogfightand dogcart,we shall see that the distributional pattern of stems is identical and may be represented as n+n. The meaning of these words broadly speaking is also similar as the first of the stems modifies, describes, the second and we understand these compounds as a kind of fight and a kind of cart respectively. The semantic relationship between the stems, however, is different and hence the lexical meaning of the words is also different. This can be shown by means of a transformational procedure which shows that a dogfightis semantically equivalent to a fight between dogs, whereas a dogcartis not a cart between dogs but a cart drawn by dogs.

Transformational analysis may also be described as a kind of translation. If we understand by translation transference of a message by different means, we may assume that there exist at least three types of translation: 1. interlingual translation or translation from one language into another which is what we traditionally call translation; 2. intersemiotic translation or transference of a message from one kind of semiotic system to another. For example, we know that a verbal message may be transmitted into a flag message by hoisting up the proper flags in the right sequence, and at last 3. intralingual translation which consists essentially in rewording a message within the same language a kind of paraphrasing. Thus, e.g., the same message may be transmitted by the following his work is excellent -> his excellent work -> the excellence of his work.

Transformational procedures are also used as will be shown below in componental analysis of lexical units.

Componental Analysis

In recent years problems of semasiology have come to the fore in the research work of linguists of different schools of thought and a number of attempts have been made to find efficient procedures for the analysis and interpretation of meaning. An important step forward was taken in 1950s with the development of componental analysis. In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the smallest units of meaning are sememes (or semes) and that sememes and lexemes (or lexical items) are usually not in one-to-one but in one-to-many correspondence. For example, in the lexical item womanseveral components of meaning or sememes may be singled out and namely human, female, adult. This one-to-many correspondence may be represented as follows.

The analysis of the word girlwould also yield the sememes human and female, but instead of the sememe adult we shall find the sememe young distinguishing the meaning of the word womanfrom that of girl.The comparison of the results of the componental analysis of the words boyand girlwould also show the difference just in one component, i.e. the sememe denoting male and female respectively.

Thematic classification of vocabulary units for teaching purposes is in fact also based on componental analysis.

Thus, e.g., we can observe the common semantic component in the lexico-semantic group entitled food-stuffs and made up of such words as sugar, pepper, salt, bread,etc., or the common semantic component non-human living being in cat, lion, dog, tiger,etc.

LECTURE 2. SEMASIOLOGY

 

By definition Lexicology deals with words, word-forming morphemes (derivational affixes) and word-groups or phrases. All these linguistic units may be said to have meaning of some kind: they are all significant and therefore must be investigated both as to form and meaning. The branch of lexicology that is devoted to the study of meaning is known as Semasiology.

Semasiology is coming to the fore as the central problem of linguistic investigation of all levels of language structure.

Words, however, play such a crucial part in the structure of language that when we speak of semasiology without any qualification, we usually refer to the study of word-meaning proper, although it is in fact very common to explore the semantics of other elements, such as suffixes, prefixes, etc.

Meaning is one of the most controversial terms in the theory of language. The scientific definition of meaning however just as the definition of some other basic linguistic terms, such as word, sentence, etc., has been the issue of interminable discussions. Since there is no universally accepted definition of meaning we shall confine ourselves to a brief survey of the problem as it is viewed in modern linguistics both in our country and elsewhere.

WORD-MEANING

Referential Approach

There are broadly speaking two schools to Meaning of thought in present-day linguistics representing the main lines of contemporary thinking on the problem: the referential approach, which seeks to formulate the essence of meaning by establishing the interdependence between words and the things or concepts they denote, and the functional approach, which studies the functions of a word in speech and is less concerned with what meaning is than with how it works.

All major works on semantic theory have so far been based on referential concepts of meaning. The essential feature of this approach is that it distinguishes between the three components closely connected with meaning: the sound-form of the linguistic sign, the concept underlying this sound-form, and the actual referent, i.e. that part or that aspect of reality to which the linguistic sign refers. The best known referential model of meaning is the so-called basic triangle which, with some variations, underlies the semantic systems of all the adherents of this school of thought. In a simplified form the triangle may be represented as shown below:

As can be seen from the diagram the sound-form of the linguistic sign, e.g. [dʌv], is connected with our concept of the bird which it denotes and through it with the referent, i.e. the actual bird. The common feature of any referential approach is the implication that meaning is in some form or other connected with the referent.

Let us now examine the place of meaning in this model. It is easily observed that the sound-form of the word is not identical with its meaning, e.g. [dʌv] is the sound-form used to denote a peal-grey bird. There is no inherent connection, however, between this particular sound-cluster and the meaning of the word dove.The connection is conventional and arbitrary. This can be easily proved by comparing the sound-forms of different languages conveying one and the same meaning, e.g. English [dʌv], Russian [golub'], German [taube] and so on. It can also be proved by comparing almost identical sound-forms that possess different meaning in different languages. The sound-cluster [kot], e.g. in the English language means a small, usually swinging bed for a child, but in the Russian language essentially the same sound-cluster possesses the meaning male cat. For more convincing evidence of the conventional and arbitrary nature of the connection between sound-form and meaning all we have to do is to point to the homonyms. The word seal[si:l], e.g., means a piece of wax, lead, etc. stamped with a design; its homonym seal[si:l] possessing the same sound-form denotes a sea animal.

Besides, if meaning were inherently connected with the sound-form of a linguistic unit, it would follow that a change in sound-form would necessitate a change of meaning. We know, however, that even considerable changes in the sound-form of a word in the course of its historical development do not necessarily affect its meaning. The sound-form of the OE. word lufian [luvian] has undergone great changes, and has been transformed into love[lʌv], yet the meaning hold dear, bear love, etc. has remained essentially unchanged.

When we examine a word we see that its meaning though closely connected with the underlying concept or concepts is not identical with them. To begin with, concept is a category of human cognition. Concept is the thought of the object that singles out its essential features. Our concepts abstract and reflect the most common and typical features of the different objects and phenomena of the world. Being the result of abstraction and generalisation all concepts are thus intrinsically almost the same for the whole of humanity in one and the same period of its historical development. The meanings of words however are different in different languages. That is to say, words expressing identical concepts may have different meanings and different semantic structures in different languages. The concept of a building for human habitation is expressed in English by the word house,in Russian by the word , but the meaning of the English word is not identical with that of the Russian as housedoes not possess the meaning of fixed residence of family or household which is one of the meanings of the Russian word ; it is expressed by another English polysemantic word, namely homewhich possesses a number of other meanings not to be found in the Russian word .

The difference between meaning and concept can also be observed by comparing synonymous words and word-groups expressing essentially the same concepts but possessing linguistic meaning which is felt as different in each of the units under consideration, e.g. big, large; to, die, to pass away, to kick the bucket, to join the majority; child, baby, babe, infant.

To distinguish meaning from the referent, i.e. from the thing denoted by the linguistic sign is of the utmost importance, and at first sight does not seem to present difficulties. To begin with, meaning is linguistic whereas the denoted object or the referent is beyond the scope of language. We can denote one and the same object by more than one word of a different meaning. For instance, in a speech situation an apple can be denoted by thewords apple, fruit, something, this,etc. as all of these words may have the same referent. Meaning cannot be equated with the actual properties of the referent, e.g. the meaning of the word watercannot be regarded as identical with its chemical formula H2O as watermeans essentially the same to all English speakers including those who have no idea of its chemical composition. Last but not least there are words that have distinct meaning but do not refer to any existing thing, e.g. angelor phoenix.Such words have meaning which is understood by the speaker-hearer, but the objects they denote do not exist.

Thus, meaning is not to be identified with any of the three points of the triangle.

TYPES OF MEANING

It is more or less universally recognised that word-meaning is not homogeneous but is made up of various components the combination and the interrelation of which determine to a great extent the inner facet of the word. These components are usually described as types of meaning. The two main types of meaning that are readily observed are the grammatical and the lexical meanings to be found in words and word-forms.

Grammatical Meaning

We notice, e.g., that word-forms, such as girls, winters, joys, tables,etc. though denoting widely different objects of reality have something in common. This common element is the grammatical meaning of plurality which can be found in all of them.

Thus grammatical meaning may be defined ,as the component of meaning recurrent in identical sets of individual forms of different words, as, e.g., the tense meaning in the word-forms of verbs (asked, thought, walked,etc.) or the case meaning in the word-forms of various nouns (girls, boys, nights,etc.).

In modern linguistic science it is commonly held that some elements of grammatical meaning can be identified by the position of the linguistic unit in relation to other linguistic units, i.e. by its distribution. Word-forms speaks, reads, writeshave one and the same grammatical meaning as they can all be found in identical distribution, e.g. only after the pronouns he, she, itand before adverbs like well, badly, to-day,etc.

Lexical Meaning

Comparing word-forms of one and the same word we observe that besides grammatical meaning, there is another component of meaning to be found in them. Unlike the grammatical meaning this component is identical in all the forms of the word. Thus, e.g. the word-forms go, goes, went, going, gonepossess different grammatical meanings of tense, person and so on, but in each of these forms we find one and the same semantic component denoting the process of movement. This is the lexical meaning of the word which may be described as the component of meaning proper to the word as a linguistic unit, i.e. recurrent in all the forms of this word.

The difference between the lexical and the grammatical components of meaning is not to be sought in the difference of the concepts underlying the two types of meaning, but rather in the way they are conveyed. The concept of plurality, e.g., may be expressed by the lexical meaning of the world plurality;it may also be expressed in the forms of various words irrespective of their lexical meaning, e.g. boys, girls, joys,etc. The concept of relation may be expressed by the lexical meaning of the word relationand also by any of the prepositions, e.g. in, on, behind,etc. (cf. the book isin/on, behind the table).

It follows that by lexical meaning we designate the meaning proper to the given linguistic unit in all its forms and distributions, while by grammatical meaning we designate the meaning proper to sets of word-forms common to all words of a certain class. Both the lexical and the grammatical meaning make up the word-meaning as neither can exist without the other. That can be also observed in the semantic analysis of correlated words in different languages. E.g. the Russian word is not semantically identical with the English equivalent informationbecause unlike the Russian the English word does not possess the grammatical meaning of plurality which is part of the semantic structure of the Russian word.

Part-of-Speech Meaning

It is usual to classify lexical items into major word-classes (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) and minor word-classes (articles, prepositions, conjunctions, etc.).

All members of a major word-class share a distinguishing semantic component which though very abstract may be viewed as the lexical component of part-of-speech meaning. For example, the meaning of thingness or substantiality may be found in all the nouns e.g. table, love, sugar,though they possess different grammatical meanings of number, case, etc. It should be noted, however, that the grammatical aspect of the part-of-speech meanings is conveyed as a rule by a set of forms.

The part-of-speech meaning of the words that possess only one form, e.g. prepositions, some adverbs, etc., is observed only in their distribution (cf. to come in (here, there)and in (on, under)the table).

One of the levels at which grammatical meaning operates is that of minor word classes like articles, pronouns, etc.

Members of these word classes are generally listed in dictionaries just as other vocabulary items, that belong to major word-classes of lexical items proper (e.g. nouns, verbs, etc.).

Emotive Charge

Words contain an element of emotive evaluation as part of the connotational meaning; e.g. a hoveldenotes a small house or cottage and besides implies that it is a miserable dwelling place, dirty, in bad repair and in general unpleasant to live in. When examining synonyms large, big, tremendousand like, love, worshipor words such as girl, girlie; dear, deariewe cannot fail to observe the difference in the emotive charge of the members of these sets. The emotive charge is one of the objective semantic features proper to words as linguistic units and forms part of the connotational component of meaning. It should not be confused with emotive implications that the words may acquire in speech. The emotive implication of the word is to a great extent subjective as it greatly depends of the personal experience of the speaker, the mental imagery the word evokes in him. Words seemingly devoid of any emotional element may possess in the case of individual speakers strong emotive implications as may be illustrated, e.g. by the word hospital.What is thought and felt when the word hospitalis used will be different in the case of an architect who built it, the invalid staying there after an operation, or the man living across the road.

Stylistic Reference

Words differ not only in their emotive charge but also in their stylistic reference. Stylistically words can be roughly subdivided into literary, neutral and colloquial layers.

The greater part of the literr layer of Modern English vocabulary are words of general use, possessing no specific stylistic reference and known as neutral words. Against the background of neutral words we can distinguish two major subgroups standard colloquial words and literary or bookish words. This may be best illustrated by comparing words almost identical in their denotational meaning, e. g., parent father dad.In comparison with the word fatherwhich is stylistically neutral, dadstands out as colloquial and parentis felt as bookish. The stylistic reference of standard colloquial words is clearly observed when we compare them with their neutral synonyms, e.g. chum friend, rot nonsense,etc. This is also true of literary or bookish words, such as, e.g., to presume (cf. to suppose), to anticipate (cf. to expect)and others.

Literary (bookish) words are not stylistically homogeneous. Besides general-literary (bookish) words, e.g. harmony, calamity, alacrity,etc., we may single out various specific subgroups, namely: 1) terms or scientific words such as, e g., renaissance, genocide, teletype,etc.; 2) poetic words and archaisms such as, e.g., whilome

formerly, aught anything, ere before, albeit although, fare walk, etc., tarry remain, nay no; 3) barbarisms and foreign words, such as, e.g., bon mot a clever or witty saying, apropos, faux pas, bouquet,etc. The colloquial words may be subdivided into:

1) Common colloquial words.

2) Slang, i.e. words which are often regarded as a violation of the norms of Standard English, e.g. governorfor father, missusfor wife, a gagfor a joke, dottyfor insane.

3) Professionalisms, i.e. words used in narrow groups bound by the same occupation, such as, e.g., labfor laboratory, hypofor hypodermic syringe, a busterfor a bomb, etc.

4) Jargonisms, i.e. words marked by their use within a particular social group and bearing a secret and cryptic character, e.g. a sucker a person who is easily deceived, a squiffer a concertina.

5) Vulgarisms, i.e. coarse words that are not generally used in public, e.g. bloody, hell, damn, shut up,etc.

6) Dialectical words, e.g. lass, kirk,etc.

7) Colloquial coinages, e.g. newspaperdom, allrightnik,etc.

Lexical Meaning

It is generally assumed that one of the semantic features of some morphemes which distinguishes them from words is that they do not possess grammatical meaning. Comparing the word man, e.g., and the morpheme man-(in manful, manly, etc.) we see that we cannot find in this morpheme the grammatical meaning of case and number observed in the word man.Morphemes are consequently regarded as devoid of grammatical meaning.

Many English words consist of a single root-morpheme, so when we say that most morphemes possess lexical meaning we imply mainly the root-morphemes in such words. It may be easily observed that the lexical meaning of the word boy and the lexical meaning of the root-morpheme boy in such words as boyhood, boyish and others is very much the same.

Just as in words lexical meaning in morphemes may also be analysed into denotational and connotational components. The connotational component of meaning may be found not only in root-morphemes but in affixational morphemes as well. Endearing and diminutive suffixes, e.g. -ette (kitchenette), -ie(y) (dearie, girlie), -ling (duckling), clearly bear a heavy emotive charge. Comparing the derivational morphemes with the same denotational meaning we see that they sometimes differ in connotation only. The morphemes, e.g. -ly, -like, -ish,have the denotational meaning of similarity in the words womanly, womanlike, womanish, the connotational component, however, differs and ranges from the positive evaluation in-ly (womanly)to the derogatory in-ish (womanish).

Differential Meaning

Besides the types of meaning proper both to words and morphemes the latter may possess specific meanings of their own, namely the differential and the distributional meanings. Differential meaning is the semantic component that serves to distinguish one word from all others containing identical morphemes. In words consisting of two or more morphemes, one of the constituent morphemes always has differential meaning. In such words as, e. g., bookshelf,the morpheme -shelfserves to distinguish the word from other words containing the morpheme book-,e.g. from bookcase, book-counterand so on. In other compound words, e.g. notebook,the morpheme note-will be seen to possess the differential meaning which distinguishes notebookfrom exercisebook, copybook,etc. It should be clearly understood that denotational and differential meanings are not mutually exclusive. Naturally the morpheme -shelfin bookshelfpossesses denotational meaning which is the dominant component of meaning. There are cases, however, when it is difficult or even impossible to assign any denotational meaning to the morpheme, e.g. cran-in cranberry,yet it clearly bears a relationship to the meaning of the word as a whole through the differential component (cf. cranberryand blackberry, gooseberry)which in this particular case comes to the fore. One of the disputable points of morphological analysis is whether such words as deceive, receive, perceiveconsist of two component morphemes.1 If we assume, however, that the morpheme -ceivemay be singled out it follows that the meaning of the morphemes re-, per, de-is exclusively differential, as, at least synchronically, there is no denotational meaning proper to them.

Distributional Meaning

Distributional meaning is the meaning ofthe order and arrangement of morphemes making up the word. It is found in all words containing more than one morpheme. The word singer,e.g., is composed of two morphemes sing-and -erboth of which possess the denotational meaning and namely to make musical sounds (sing-)and the doer of the action (-er). There is one more element of meaning, however, that enables us to understand the word and that is the pattern of arrangement of the component morphemes. A different arrangement of the same morphemes, e.g. *ersing,would make the word meaningless. Compare also boyishnessand *nessishboyin which a different pattern of arrangement of the three morphemes boy-ish-nessturns it into a meaningless string of sounds.

WORD-MEANING AND MOTIVATION

From what was said about the distributional meaning in morphemes it follows that there are cases when we can observe a direct connection between the structural pattern of the word and its meaning. This relationship between morphemic structure and meaning is termed morphological motivation.

Morphological Motivation

The main criterion in morphological motivation is the relationship between morphemes. Hence all one-morpheme words, e.g. sing, tell, eat,are by definition non-motivated. In words composed of more than one morpheme the carrier of the word-meaning is the combined meaning of the component morphemes and the meaning of the structural pattern of the word. This can be illustrated by the semantic analysis of different words composed of phonemically identical morphemes with identical lexical meaning. The words finger-ringand ring-finger,e.g., contain two morphemes, the combined lexical meaning of which is the same; the difference in the meaning of these words can be accounted forby the difference in the arrangement of the component morphemes.

If we can observe a direct connection between the structural pattern of the word and its meaning, we say that this word is motivated. Consequently words such as singer, rewrite, eatable,etc., are described as motivated. If the connection between the structure of the lexical unit and itsmeaning is completely arbitrary and conventional, we speak ofnon-motivated or idiomatic words, e.g. matter, repeat.

It should be noted in passing that morphological motivation is relative, i.e. the degree of motivation may be different. Between the extremes of complete motivation and lack of motivation, there exist various grades of partial motivation. The word endless,e.g., is completely motivated as both the lexical meaning of the component morphemes and the meaning of the pattern is perfectly transparent. The word cranberry is only partially motivated because of the absence of the lexical meaning in the morpheme cran-.

Phonetical Motivation

Motivation is usually thought of as proceeding from form or structure to meaning. Morphological motivation as discussed above implies a direct connection between the morphological structure of the word and its meaning. Some linguists, however, argue that words can be motivated in more than one way and suggest another type of motivation which may be described as a direct connection between the phonetical structure of the word and its meaning. It is argued that speech sounds may suggest spatial and visual dimensions, shape, size, etc. Experiments carried out by a group of linguists showed that back open vowels are suggestive of big size, heavy weight, dark colour, etc. The experiments were repeated many times and the results were always the same. Native speakers of English were asked to listen to pairs of antonyms from an unfamiliar (or non-existent) language unrelated to English, e.g. ching chungand then to try to find the English equivalents, e.g. light heavy, (big small,etc.), which foreign word translates which English word. About 90 per cent of English speakers felt that chingis the equivalent of the English light(small) and chungof its antonym heavy(large).

Semantic Motivation

The term motivation is also used by a number of linguists to denote the relationship between the central and the coexisting meaning or meanings of a word which are understood as a metaphorical extension of the central meaning. Metaphorical extension may be viewed as generalisation of the denotational meaning of a word permitting it to include new referents which are in some way like the original class of referents. Similarity of various aspects and/or functions of different classes of referents may account for the semantic motivation of a number of minor meanings. For example, a woman who has given birth is called a mother;by extension, any act that gives birth is associated with being a mother, e.g.in Necessity is the mother of invention.The same principle can be observed in other meanings: a mother looks after a child, so that we can say She became a mother to her orphan nephew,or Romulus and Remus were supposedly mothered by a wolf.Cf. also mother country, a mothers mark (=a birthmark), mother tongue,etc. Such metaphoric extension may be observed in the so-called trite metaphors, such as burn with anger, break smbs heart, jump at a chance,etc.

 

Grammatical Valency

Words are used also in grammatical contexts. The minimal grammatical context in which words are used when brought together to form word-groups is usually described as the pattern of the word-group. For instance, the adjective heavydiscussed above can be followed by a noun (e.g. heavy stormor by the infinitive of a verb (e.g. heavy to lift),etc. The aptness of a word to appear in specific grammatical (or rather syntactic) structures is termed grammatical valency.

The grammatical valency of words may be different. To begin with, the range of grammatical valency is delimited by the part of speech the word belongs to. It follows that the grammatical valency of each individual word is dependent on the grammatical structure of the language.

This is not to imply that grammatical valency of words belonging to the same part of speech is necessarily identical. This can be best illustrated by comparing the grammatical valency of any two words belonging to the same part of speech, e.g. of the two synonymous verbs suggestand propose.Both verbs can be followed by a noun (to proposeor suggest a plan, a resolution).It is only propose,however, that can be followed by the infinitive of a verb (to propose to do smth.).The adjectives cleverand intelligentare seen to possess different grammatical valency as clevercan be used in word-groups having the pattern: Adjective-Preposition at+Noun (clever at mathematics),whereas intelligentcan never be found in exactly the same word-group pattern.

Specific linguistic restrictions in the range of grammatical valency of individual words imposed on the lexical units by the inner structure of the language are also observed by comparing the grammatical valency of correlated words in different languages. The English verb influence,for example, can be followed only by a noun (to influence a person, a decision, choice,etc.). The grammatical valency of its Russian counterpart is different. The Russian verb can be combined only with a prepositional group (cf. , , etc.).

It should also be pointed out that the individual meanings of a polysemantic word may be described through its grammatical valency. Thus, different meanings of the adjective keenmay be described in a general way through different structures of the word-groups keen+N,keen sight (hearing,etc.), keen + on + N keen on sports (on tennis, etc.), keen+V(inf.)keen to know (to find out,etc.).

From this point of view word-groups may be regarded as minimal syntactic (or syntagmatic) structures that operate as distinguishing clues for different meanings of a polysemantic word.

STRUCTURE OF WORD-GROUPS

MEANING OF WORD-GROUPS

As with word-meaning, the meaning of word-groups may be analysed into lexical and grammatical components.

Lexical Meaning

The lexical meaning of the word-group may be defined as the combined lexical meaning of the component words. Thus the lexical meaning of the word-group redflower may be described denotationally as the combined meaning of the words redand flower.It should be pointed out, however, that the term combined lexical meaning is not to imply that the meaning of the word-group is a mere additive result of all the lexical meanings of the component members. As a rule, the meanings of the component words are mutually dependent and the meaning of the word-group naturally predominates over the lexical meaning of its constituents.

Even in word-groups made up of technical terms which are traditionally held to be monosemantic the meaning of the word-group cannot be described as the sum total of the meanings of its components. For example, though the same adjective atomicis a component of a number of terminological word-groups, e.g. atomic weight, atomic warfare,etc., the lexical meaning of the adjective is different and to a certain degree subordinated to the meaning of the noun in each individual word-group and consequently the meaning of the whole group is modified.

Interdependence of the lexical meanings of the constituent members of word-groups can be readily observed in word-groups made up of polysemantic words. For example, in the nominal group blind man (cat, horse)only one meaning of the adjective blind,i.e. unable to see, is combined with the lexical meaning of the noun man (cat, horse)and it is only one of the meanings of the noun man human being that is perceived in combination with the lexical meaning of this adjective. The meaning of the same adjective in blind type (print, handwriting)is different.

As can be seen from the above examples, polysemantic words are used in word-groups only in one of their meanings. These meanings of the component words in such word-groups are mutually interdependent and inseparable.

Structural Meaning

As with polymorphemic words word-groups possess not only the lexical meaning, but also the meaning conveyed mainly by the pattern of arrangement of their constituents. A certain parallel can be drawn between the meaning conveyed by the arrangement of morphemes in words and the structural meaning of word-groups. It will be recalled that two compound words made up of lexically identical stems may be different in meaning because of the difference in the pattern of arrangement of the stems. For example, the meaning of such words as dog-houseand house-dogis different though the lexical meaning of the components is identical. This is also true of word-groups. Such word-groups as school grammarand grammar schoolare semantically different because of the difference in the pattern of arrangement of the component words.

Motivation in Word-Groups

Word-groups like words may also be analysed from the point of view of their motivation. Word-groups may be described as lexically motivated if the combined lexical meaning of the groups is deducible from the meaning of their components. The nominal groups, e.g. red flower, heavy weightand the verbal group, e.g. takelessons, are from this point of view motivated, whereas structurally identical word-groups red tapeofficial bureaucratic methods, heavy father serious or solemn part in a theatrical play, and take placeoccur are lexically non-motivated. In these groups the constituents do not possess, at least synchronically, the denotational meaning found in the same words outside these groups or, to be more exact, do not possess any individual lexical meaning of their own, as the word-groups under discussion seem to represent single indivisible semantic entities. Word-groups are said to be structurally motivated if the meaning of the pattern is deducible from the order and arrangement of the member-words of the group. Red flower,e.g., is motivated as the meaning of the pattern quality substance can be deduced from the order and arrangement of the words redand flower,whereas the seemingly identical pattern red tapecannot be interpreted as quality substance.

The degree of motivation may be different. Between the extremes of complete motivation and lack of motivation there are innumerable intermediate cases. For example, the degree of lexical motivation in the nominal group black marketis higher than in black death, but lower than in black dress,though none of the groups can be considered as completely non-motivated.

It follows from the above discussion that word-groups may be also classified into motivated and non-motivated units. Non-motivated word-groups are habitually described as phraseological units or idioms.

PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS

It has been repeatedly pointed out that word-groups viewed as functionally and semantically inseparable units are traditionally regarded as the subject matter of phraseology.

American and English dictionaries of unconventional English, slang and idioms and other highly valuable reference-books contain a wealth of proverbs, sayings, various lexical units of all kinds, but as a rule do not seek to lay down a reliable criterion to distinguish between variable word-groups and phraseological units.

Classification

Taking into account mainly the degree of idiomaticity phraseological units may be classified into three big groups: phraseological fusions, phraseological unities and phraseological collocations.

Phraseological fusions are completely non-motivated word -groups, such as redtape - bureaucratic methods; heavy father -serious or solemn part in a theatrical play; kick the bucket - die; and the like. The meaning of the components has no connections whatsoever, at least synchronically, with the meaning of the whole group. Idiomaticity is, as a rule, combined with complete stability of the lexical components and the grammatical structure of the fusion.

Phraseological unities are partially non-motivated as their meaning can usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological unit. For example, to show ones teeth, to wash ones dirty linen in publicif interpreted as semantically motivated through the combined lexical meaning of the component words would naturally lead one to understand these in their literal meaning. The metaphoric meaning of the whole unit, however, readily suggests take a threatening tone or show an intention to injure for show ones teethand discuss or make public ones quarrels for wash ones dirty linen in public.Phraseological unities are as a rule marked by a comparatively high degree of stability of the lexical components.

Phraseological collocations are motivated but they are made up of words possessing specific lexical valency which accounts for a certain degree of stability in such word - groups. In phraseological collocations variability of member - words is strictly limited. For instance, bear a grudge may be changed into bear malice,but not into bear a fancy or liking.Wecan say take a liking (fancy) but not take hatred (disgust).These habitual collocations tend to become kind of clichéswhere the meaning of member - words is to some extent dominated by the meaning of the whole group. Due to this phraseological collocations are felt as possessing a certain degree of semantic inseparability.

LECTURE 4. WORD-STRUCTURE

Classification of Morphemes

Morphemes may be classified:

a) from the semantic point of view;

b) from the structural point of view.

a) Semantically morphemes fall into two classes: root-morphemesandnon-rootoraffixational morphemes. Roots and affixes make two distinct classes of morphemes due to the different roles they play in word-structure. Roots and affixational morphemes are generally easily distinguished and the difference between them is clearly felt as, e.g., in the words helpless, handy, blackness, Londoner, refill,etc.: the root-morphemes help-, hand-, black-, London-, -fillare understood as the lexical centres of the words, as the basic constituent part of a word without which the word is inconceivable.

The root-morpheme is the lexical nucleus of a ward, it has an individual lexical meaning shared by no other morpheme of the language. Besides it may also possess all other types of meaning proper to morphemesexcept the part-of-speech meaning which is not found in roots. The root-morpheme is isolated as the morpheme common to a set of words making up a word-cluster, for example the morpheme teach-in to teach, teacher, teaching, theor-in theory, theorist, theoretical,etc.

Non-root morphemes include inflectional morphemes or inflections and affixational morphemes or affixes. Inflections carry only grammatical meaning and are thus relevant only for the formation of word-forms, whereas affixes are relevant for building various types of stems - the part of a word that remains unchanged throughout its paradigm. Lexicology is concerned only with affixational morphemes.

Affixes are classified into prefixes and suffixes: a prefix precedes the root-morpheme, a suffix follows it. Affixes besides the meaning proper to root-morphemes possess the part-of-speech meaning and a generalised lexical meaning.

b) Structurally morphemes fall into three types: free morphemes, bound morphemes, semi-free (semi-bound) morphemes.

A free morphemeis defined as one that coincides with the stem or a word-form. A great many root-morphemes are free morphemes, for example, the root-morpheme friend-of the noun friendshipis naturally qualified as a free morpheme because it coincides with one of the forms of the noun friend.

A bound morphemeoccurs only as a constituent part of a word. Affixes are, naturally, bound morphemes, for they always make part of a word, e.g. the suffixes -ness, -ship, -ise (-ize),etc., the prefixes un-, dis-, de-,etc.(e.g. readiness, comradeship, to activise; unnatural, to displease, to decipher).

Semi-bound (semi-free) morphemesare morphemes that can function in a morphemic sequence both as an affix and as a free morpheme. For example, the morpheme welland halfon the one hand occur as free morphemes that coincide with the stem and the word-form in utterances like sleep well, half an hour,on the other hand they occur as bound morphemes in words like well-known, half-eaten, half-done.

Morphemic Types of Words

According to the number of morphemes words are classified into monomorphic and polymorphic. Monomorphi or root-words consist of only one root-morpheme, e.g. small, dog, make, give,etc. All plmrphi words according to the number of root-morphemes are classified into two subgroups: monoradical (or one-root words) and polyradical words, i.e. words which consist of two or more roots. Monoradical words fall into two subtypes: 1) radical-suffixal words, i.e. words that consist of one root-morpheme and one or more suffixal morphemes, e.g. acceptable, acceptability, blackish,etc.; 2)radical-prefixal words, i.e. words that consist of one root-morpheme and a prefixal morpheme, e.g. outdo, rearrange, unbutton,etc. and 3) prefixo-radical-suffixal, i.e. words which consist of one root, a prefixal and suffixal morphemes, e.g. disagreeable, misinterpretation,etc.

Polyradical words fall into two types: 1) polyradical words which consist of two or more roots with no affixational morphemes, e.g. book-stand, eye-ball, lamp-shade,etc. and 2) words which containat least two roots and one or more affixational morphemes,e.g. safety-pin, wedding-pie, class-consciousness, light-mindedness, pen-holder,etc.

Derivative Relations

According to the derivative structure all words fall into two big classes: simplexes or simple, non-derived words and complexes or derivatives. Simplexes are words which derivationally cannot be segmented into ICs. The morphological stem of simple words, i.e. the part of the word which takes on the system of grammatical inflections is semantically non-motivated and independent of other words, e.g. hand, come, blue,etc.

Derivatives are words which depend on some other simpler lexical items that motivate them

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