Lexicology as a science. Branches of lexicology. The word as the basic unit of language.


Lexicology as a science. Branches of lexicology. The word as the basic unit of language.

Lexicology is the part of linguistics which deals with the vocabulary and characteristic features of words and word-groups. The term word denotes the main lexical unit of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning. This unit is used in grammatical functions characteristic of it. It is the smallest unit of a language which can stand alone as a complete utterance. The term word-group denotes a group of words which exists in the language as a ready-made unit, has the unity of meaning, the unity of syntactical function, e.g. the word-group as loose as a goose means clumsy and is used in a sentence as a predicative (He is as loose as a goose). Lexicology can be general and special. General lexicology is the lexicology of any language, part of General Linguistics. It is aimed at establishing language universals – linguistic phenomena and propeties common to all languages. Special lexicology is the lexicology of a particular language (English, German, Russian, etc.). Lexicology can study the development of the vocabulary, the origin of words and word-groups, their semantic relations and the development of their sound form and meaning. In this case it is called historical lexicology. Another branch of lexicology is called descriptive and studies the vocabulary at a definite stage of its development.

Types of morphemes.

Morphemes are the smallest indivisible two-facet units composite words are made of, e.g. teach-er, kill-joy. A morpheme can occur in speach only as a constituent part of the word. It may have different phonetic variants (allomorphs): decision – attention; inactive – illegal. Its meaning varies too: childish – reddish; encircle – enrich.

By the degree of their independence morphemes are classified into free and bound. Free morphemes may occur alone and coincide with word-forms or immutable words: at, by, water- (water, watery). Bound morphemes occur only in combination with other morphemes: dis- (dislike), -y (watery). Most roots are free but some are bound: cran- (cranberry). Affixes are always bound. Some morphemes occupy an intermediate position between free and bound:

1. semi-affixes: -man (postman), half- (half-eaten); 2. combining forms: tele- (television), graph (autograph);

By their frequency morphemes are classified into recurrent and unique. Recurrent morphemes are found in a number of words: sing-ing = sing- (singer, sing-song) + -ing (walking, drawing). Unique morphemes are found only in a given word: pock (pocket). By their activity in the language affixes are subduvided into productive and non-productive. Productive affixes are used to build new words: -ism (escapism), - ize (nationalize). Non-productive affixes do not build new words: -th (growth), - ous (monotonous). By their position in the word affixes are subdivided into prefixes and suffixes. A prefix stands before the root and modifies its lexical meaning: kind – unkind. In some cases it changes the word‘s grammatical or lexico-grammatical meaning: sleep (noun) – asleep (stative). A suffix follows the root, modifying its lexical meaning and changing the word‘s grammatical or lexico-grammatical meaning: appear (verb) – appearance (noun). The suffix renders a very general meaning and is often fused with the root semantically.

Morphemic analysis of word.

The morphemic analysis (sometimes also called morphological) is one of possible methods of analyzing word structure along with the word-building analysis. The morphemic analysis is a process of singling out morphs in a word and stating their meaning. To state the borders between morphemes correctly, it is necessary to study the word in a row of words which are structurally similar (words with the same root and suffixes). The procedure of the morphemic analysis states the morphemic structure of the word. The procedure consists of two operations: 1) the stem is separated from the inflection by means of comparing word- forms of the word; 2) relations between morphemes in the stem are stated by means of comparing cognate words.

The morphemic analysis based on the distributional analysis gave rise to such notions as morph, allomorph, morpheme, etc.

Derivational analysis.

According to the derivative structure all words fall into two big classes: simple, non-derived words and complexes or derivatives. Simplexes are words which derivationally cannot’ be segmented into ICs. Derivatives are words which depend on some other simpler lexical items that motivate them structurally and semantically, i.e. the meaning and the structure of the derivative is understood through the comparison with the meaning and the structure of the source word. The basic elementary units of the derivative structure of words are: derivational bases, derivational affixes and derivational patterns and degree Derivational base: is defined as the constituent to which a rule of word-formation is applied. Structurally derivational bases fall into three classes:

1) bases that coincide with morphological stems of different degrees of complexity, e.g. dutiful, dutifully; day-dream, to day-dream, daydreamer. Derivationally the stems may be:



1. ü simple, which consist of only one, semantically non motivated constituent (pocket, motion, retain, horrible).

2. ü derived stems are semantically and structurally motivated, and are the results of the application of word-formation rules (girlish-girlishness)

3. ü compound stems are always binary and semantically motivated (weekend,match-box, letter-writer)

2) bases that coincide with word-form(gerund?participle); e.g. paper-bound, unsmiling, unknown. This class of bases is confined to verbal word-forms ,phrases blue-eyed, long-fingered, old-fashioned, do-gooder, etc.

Derivational affixes: Derivational affixes are ICs of numerous derivatives in all parts of speech. Derivational affixes possess two basic functions: 1) that of stem-building and 2) that of word-building. In most cases derivational affixes perform both functions simultaneously. It is true that the part-of-speech meaning is proper in different degrees to the derivational suffixes and prefixes. It stands out clearly in derivational suffixes but it is less evident in prefixes; some prefixes lack it altogether. Prefixes like en-, un-, de-, out-, be-, unmistakably possess the part-of-speech meaning and function as verb classifiers. The prefix over-evidently lacks the part-of-speech meaning and is freely used both for verbs and adjectives, the same may be said about non-, pre-, post-.

Derivational patterns: A derivational pattern is a regular meaningful arrangement, a structure that imposes rigid rules on the order and the nature of the derivational bases and affixes that may be brought together.

There are two types of DPs — structural that specify base classes and individual affixes, and structural-semantic that specify semantic peculiarities of bases and the individual meaning of the affix. DPs of different levels of generalisation signal: 1) the class of source unit that motivates the derivative and the direction of motivation between different classes of words; 2) the part of speech of the derivative; 3) the lexical sets and semantic features of derivatives.

The criteria of compounds.

Composition is the way of word-building when a word is formed by joining two or more stems to form one word. The structural unity of a compound word depends upon:

a) A unity of stress. As a rule, English compounds have one uniting stress, e.g. 'best-seller. We can also have a double stress in an English compound: 'blood-‚vessel. The main stress may be on the second component: ‚sky-'blue.

b) Solid or hyphenated spelling. Spelling in English compounds is not very reliable because they can have different spelling even in the same text, e.g. war-ship, blood-vessel can be spelt through a hyphen and also with a break. Insofar, underfoot can be spelt solidly and with a break.

c) Semantic unity. It is often very strong. in such cases we have idiomatic compounds where the meaning of the whole is not a sum of meanings of its components, e.g. to ghostwrite, skinhead, brain-drain. In non- idiomatic compounds semantic unity is not strong, e.g. airbus, astrodynamics.

d) Unity of morphological and syntactical functioning. They are used in a sentence as one part of it and only one component changes grammatically: These girls are chatter-boxes.

There are two characteristic features of English compounds:

a) both components in an English compound can be used as words with a distinctive meaning of their own, e.g. a 'green-house and a 'green 'house;

b) English compounds have a two-stem pattern, with the exception of compound words which have form-word stems in their structure, e.g. middle-of-the-road, off-the-record.

II. Ways of Forming Compound Words

English compounds can be formed not only by means of composition but also by means of:

a) reduplication: too-too – sentimental;

b) partial conversion from word-groups: to micky-mouse, can-do;

c) back formation from compound nouns or word-groups: to fingerprint (fingerprinting), to baby-sit (baby-sitter);

d) analogy: lie-in (on the analogy with sit-in);

e) contrast: brain-gain (in contrast to brain-drain).

Polysemy and context.

The word polysemy means plurality of meanings. It exists only in the language, not in speech. A word which has more than one meaning is called polysemantic. There are two processes of the semantic development of a word: radiation and concatenation. In cases of radiation the primary meaning stands in the centre and the secondary meanings proceed out of it like rays. Each secondary meaning can be traced to the primary meaning, e.g. face (the front part of the human head - the primary meaning; the front part of a building, the front part of a watch, the front part of a playing card; expression of the face, outward appearance - secondary meanings). In cases of concatenation secondary meanings of a word develop like a chain, e.g. crust – 1. hard outer part of bread, 2. hard part of anything (a pie, a cake), 3. harder layer over soft snow, 4. sullen gloomy person, 5. impudence. Here the last meanings have nothing to do with primary ones. In such cases homonyms appeare in the language. This phenomenon is called the split of polysemy.

II. Semantic Structure of Polysemantic Words. Synchronically, the problem of polysemy ie the problem of interrelation and interdependence of different meanings of the same word. The semantic structure of a polysemantic word is the sum total of relations between its lexico-semantic variants. The analysis of the semantic structure of a polysemantic word is based on the following set of oppositions:

1. Direct-derived meaning: rat – animal like, but larger than a mouse; rat – cowardly person; strike-breaker.

2. Extended-restricted meaning: to knock – strike, hit; to knock – of a petrol engine – make a tapping or thumping noise.

3. Free-bound meaning: hat – cover for the head; hat – nonsense (to speak through one’s hat).

4. General-specialized meaning: case – instance or example of the occurence of smth; case – (med.) person suffering from a disease.

5. Neutral-emotional meaning: nut – fruit consisting of a hard shell enclosing a kernel that can be eaten; nut – (slang) head of a human being.

Classification of synonymy.

Synonyms are two or more words of the same language, belonging to the same part of speech and possessing one or more identical or nearly identical meanings, interchangeable, at least in some contexts without any considerable alteration in sense, but differing in morphemic composition, phonemic shape, shades of meaning, connotations, style, valency and idiomatic use. Example: strange – queer – odd – quaint.

Synonymic, adj [sInenImik].

Synonymous, adj [sinOnimes].

Synonymic dominant is the central term of a synonymic set possessing the following characteristic features:

1. high frequency of usage

2. broad combinability, ability to be used in combinations with various classes of words

3. broad general meaning

4. lack of connotations (this goes for stylistic connotations as well, so that stylistic neutrality is also a typical feature of the dominant synonym)

5. it may substitute for other synonyms at least in some contexts

6. it is often used to define other synonyms in dictionary definitions.

In the synonymic set strange – queer – odd – quaint, the synonymic dominant is strange.

Ideographic synonyms are words conveying the same concept, but differing in shades of meaning. For instance, the verbs cry – weep – sob – wail – whimper are ideographic synonyms. These verbs mean “to make inarticulate sounds of grief, unhappiness, or pain”. Cry has the widest use and may be a result of unhappiness, joy or, especially with babies, of physical discomfort. Cry and weep both imply the shedding of tears, but cry more strongly implies accompanying sound. In comparison with cry, weep can suggest stronger emotions. Sob describes crying or a mixture of broken speech and crying marked by irregular and noisy breathing. Wail indicates long noisy crying in grief or complaint. Whimper refers to low, broken or repressed cries; children whimper with fear or in complaint.

Stylistic synonyms are words differing in their stylistic characteristics, sky (neutral) – welkin (bookish), head (neutral) – attic (slang).

Absolute synonyms are words coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics, word-building – word-formation.

Contextual synonyms are words which are similar in meaning only under some specific contextual conditions. The verbs to buy and to get are not synonymous, but they are synonyms in the examples offered by J. Lyons: I’ll go to the shop and buy some bread and I’ll go to the shop and get some bread.

Double scale of synonyms reflects one of the two basic principles according to which synonyms are organized in English (the 2nd deals with a triple scale). It is a pair of synonyms where a native term is opposed to one borrowed from French, Latin or Greek. In most cases the native word is more informal, whereas the foreign one often has a learned, abstract or even abstruse character. There may also be an emotive difference: the native word is apt to be “warmer and homelier”. Phonetically, the borrowed word is usually longer. Examples: bodily - corporeal; to buy – to purchase; fiddle – violin.

Triple scale of synonyms is a set of synonyms in which one word is native, the second word is French and the third synonym is Latin or Greek. In most of such sets, the native synonym is the simplest and most common of the three terms, the Latin or Greek one is learned, abstract, whereas the French one stands between the two extremes. Examples: to begin – to commence – to initiate; to end – to finish – to conclude.

Antonyms.

Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style, expressing contrary or contradictory notions. V.N. Comissarov classified antonyms into two groups: absolute (root) antonyms (late - early) and derivational antonyms (to please – to displease, honest - dishonest). Absolute antonyms have different roots and derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes. In most cases negative prefixes form antonyms (un-, dis- non-). Sometimes they are formed by means of antonymous suffixes: -ful and –less (painful - painless). The difference between derivational and root antonyms is also in their semantics. Derivational antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other: active-inactive. Absolute antonyms express contrary notions. If some notions can be arranged in a group of more than two members, the most distant members of the group will be absolute antonyms: ugly, plain, good-looking, pretty, beautiful, the antonyms are ugly and beautiful. Leonard Lipka in the book Outline of English Lexicology describes three types of oppositeness:

a) complementarity: male – female. The denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice versa;

b) antonyms: good – bad. It is based on different logical relationships;

c) converseness: to buy – to sell. It is mirror-image relations or functions: husband-wife, above-below, pupil-teacher.

L. Lipka also gives the type which he calls directional oppositions: up-down, consequence opposition: learn-know, antipodal opposition: North-South, East- West. L. Lipka also points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets. In such sets of words we can have outer and inner pairs of antonyms: excellent, good, average, fair, poor. Not every word in a language can have antonyms. This type of opposition can be met in qualitative adjectives and their derivatives: beautiful-ugly, to beautify-to uglify. It can be also met in words denoting feelings and states: to respect-to scorn, respectful-scornful and in words denoting direction in space and time: here-there, up-down, before-after. If a word is polysemantic, it can have several antonyms, e.g. the word bright has the antonyms dim, dull, sad.

Classification of homonyms.

Walter Skeat classified homonyms according to their spelling and sound forms and he pointed out three groups: perfect homonyms, words identical in sound and spelling: school – косяк рыбы and школа; homographs, words with the same spelling but pronounced differently: bow – поклон and bow – лук; homophones, words pronounced identically but spelled differently: night – ночь and knight - рыцарь. Another classification was suggested by A.I. Smirnitsky. He added to Skeat’s classification one more criterion: grammatical meaning. he subdivided the group of perfect homonyms into two types:

a) perfect homonyms which are identical in their spelling, pronunciation and their grammar form: spring in the meanings the season of the year, a leap, a source;

b) homoforms which coincide in their spelling and pronunciation but have different grammatical meaning: reading – Present Participle, Gerund, Verbal noun; to lobby-lobby.

I.V. Arnold pointed out the following groups of homonyms:

a) homonyms identical in their grammatical meanings, basic forms and paradigms and different in their lexical meanings: board – a council and board – a piece of wood sawn thin;

b) homonyms identical in their grammatical meanings and basic forms, but different in their lexical meanings and paradigms: to lie – lied – lied, and to lie – lay – lain;

c) homonyms different in their lexical meanings, grammatical meanings, paradigms, but coinciding in their basic forms: light (lights) – light (lighter, lightest);

d) homonyms different in their lexical meanings, grammatical meanings, in their basic forms and paradigms, but coinciding in one of the forms of their paradigms: a bit and bit (from to bite);

e) patterned homonyms differ from other homonyms, having a common component in their lexical meanings. They are formed either by means of conversion, or by levelling of grammar inflexions. These homonyms are different in their grammatical meanings, in their paradigms, but identical in their basic forms: warm – to warm.

Lexicology as a science. Branches of lexicology. The word as the basic unit of language.

Lexicology is the part of linguistics which deals with the vocabulary and characteristic features of words and word-groups. The term word denotes the main lexical unit of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning. This unit is used in grammatical functions characteristic of it. It is the smallest unit of a language which can stand alone as a complete utterance. The term word-group denotes a group of words which exists in the language as a ready-made unit, has the unity of meaning, the unity of syntactical function, e.g. the word-group as loose as a goose means clumsy and is used in a sentence as a predicative (He is as loose as a goose). Lexicology can be general and special. General lexicology is the lexicology of any language, part of General Linguistics. It is aimed at establishing language universals – linguistic phenomena and propeties common to all languages. Special lexicology is the lexicology of a particular language (English, German, Russian, etc.). Lexicology can study the development of the vocabulary, the origin of words and word-groups, their semantic relations and the development of their sound form and meaning. In this case it is called historical lexicology. Another branch of lexicology is called descriptive and studies the vocabulary at a definite stage of its development.

Types of morphemes.

Morphemes are the smallest indivisible two-facet units composite words are made of, e.g. teach-er, kill-joy. A morpheme can occur in speach only as a constituent part of the word. It may have different phonetic variants (allomorphs): decision – attention; inactive – illegal. Its meaning varies too: childish – reddish; encircle – enrich.

By the degree of their independence morphemes are classified into free and bound. Free morphemes may occur alone and coincide with word-forms or immutable words: at, by, water- (water, watery). Bound morphemes occur only in combination with other morphemes: dis- (dislike), -y (watery). Most roots are free but some are bound: cran- (cranberry). Affixes are always bound. Some morphemes occupy an intermediate position between free and bound:

1. semi-affixes: -man (postman), half- (half-eaten); 2. combining forms: tele- (television), graph (autograph);

By their frequency morphemes are classified into recurrent and unique. Recurrent morphemes are found in a number of words: sing-ing = sing- (singer, sing-song) + -ing (walking, drawing). Unique morphemes are found only in a given word: pock (pocket). By their activity in the language affixes are subduvided into productive and non-productive. Productive affixes are used to build new words: -ism (escapism), - ize (nationalize). Non-productive affixes do not build new words: -th (growth), - ous (monotonous). By their position in the word affixes are subdivided into prefixes and suffixes. A prefix stands before the root and modifies its lexical meaning: kind – unkind. In some cases it changes the word‘s grammatical or lexico-grammatical meaning: sleep (noun) – asleep (stative). A suffix follows the root, modifying its lexical meaning and changing the word‘s grammatical or lexico-grammatical meaning: appear (verb) – appearance (noun). The suffix renders a very general meaning and is often fused with the root semantically.

Morphemic analysis of word.

The morphemic analysis (sometimes also called morphological) is one of possible methods of analyzing word structure along with the word-building analysis. The morphemic analysis is a process of singling out morphs in a word and stating their meaning. To state the borders between morphemes correctly, it is necessary to study the word in a row of words which are structurally similar (words with the same root and suffixes). The procedure of the morphemic analysis states the morphemic structure of the word. The procedure consists of two operations: 1) the stem is separated from the inflection by means of comparing word- forms of the word; 2) relations between morphemes in the stem are stated by means of comparing cognate words.

The morphemic analysis based on the distributional analysis gave rise to such notions as morph, allomorph, morpheme, etc.

Derivational analysis.

According to the derivative structure all words fall into two big classes: simple, non-derived words and complexes or derivatives. Simplexes are words which derivationally cannot’ be segmented into ICs. Derivatives are words which depend on some other simpler lexical items that motivate them structurally and semantically, i.e. the meaning and the structure of the derivative is understood through the comparison with the meaning and the structure of the source word. The basic elementary units of the derivative structure of words are: derivational bases, derivational affixes and derivational patterns and degree Derivational base: is defined as the constituent to which a rule of word-formation is applied. Structurally derivational bases fall into three classes:

1) bases that coincide with morphological stems of different degrees of complexity, e.g. dutiful, dutifully; day-dream, to day-dream, daydreamer. Derivationally the stems may be:

1. ü simple, which consist of only one, semantically non motivated constituent (pocket, motion, retain, horrible).

2. ü derived stems are semantically and structurally motivated, and are the results of the application of word-formation rules (girlish-girlishness)

3. ü compound stems are always binary and semantically motivated (weekend,match-box, letter-writer)

2) bases that coincide with word-form(gerund?participle); e.g. paper-bound, unsmiling, unknown. This class of bases is confined to verbal word-forms ,phrases blue-eyed, long-fingered, old-fashioned, do-gooder, etc.

Derivational affixes: Derivational affixes are ICs of numerous derivatives in all parts of speech. Derivational affixes possess two basic functions: 1) that of stem-building and 2) that of word-building. In most cases derivational affixes perform both functions simultaneously. It is true that the part-of-speech meaning is proper in different degrees to the derivational suffixes and prefixes. It stands out clearly in derivational suffixes but it is less evident in prefixes; some prefixes lack it altogether. Prefixes like en-, un-, de-, out-, be-, unmistakably possess the part-of-speech meaning and function as verb classifiers. The prefix over-evidently lacks the part-of-speech meaning and is freely used both for verbs and adjectives, the same may be said about non-, pre-, post-.

Derivational patterns: A derivational pattern is a regular meaningful arrangement, a structure that imposes rigid rules on the order and the nature of the derivational bases and affixes that may be brought together.

There are two types of DPs — structural that specify base classes and individual affixes, and structural-semantic that specify semantic peculiarities of bases and the individual meaning of the affix. DPs of different levels of generalisation signal: 1) the class of source unit that motivates the derivative and the direction of motivation between different classes of words; 2) the part of speech of the derivative; 3) the lexical sets and semantic features of derivatives.









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