Word and its Meaning. Denotation and Connotation. Implication. Presupposition. 

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Word and its Meaning. Denotation and Connotation. Implication. Presupposition.

Meaning is usually more pure than reference. On the other hand, understanding is less than referential meaning in words.

Denotation – the major component of lexical meaning. It is precise literal and objective, logical and cognitive. It carries no emotional overtones, judgments. It simply describes the object, person, place, etc. to which the word refers. We usually think of donation in terms of dictionary definition. It signifies and may be put in certain immediate constituency (father – male, parent, adult).

Connotation – variable, figurative, subjective. What the word suggests or implies. It is suggested by the word itself and the referent the word signifies. Connotation is that part of lexical meaning which a communication value, in addition to the word purely conceptual concept. It’s always associative by nature. The use of the connotation calls forth hinds of association. Connotation may be a part of lexical meaning or a part of semantic structure, or they they can be determined by the collocability of the word.

Connotation may be individual, contextual, occasional and general, permanent, usual. These associations come from the context of the usage of the word, the primary context and the utterances from which they derived their emotiveness, expressiveness, stylistical value, etc. They may call forth the environment of the word, that is, other words that tend to occur with the word in question. They may be associated with the situations which suggested these connotation. Connotation reflects the effective side of the language, denotation – the cognitive side. Connotation reflects the situation and the participants; the types of texts and speech situations proper for them; the place of the word in the system of language.

Emotive meaning is that part of connotation that expresses emotions and at the same time gives words their intensity, emotional power and arouses feelings.

Connotative meaning includes all feelings and associations of the words with emotions.

Evaluative connotation expresses the attitude of the speaker to the reality denoted by the language sign. It’s usually ameliorative or pejorative. They are regarded high or low in social estimations, logical consideration.

3 facts that determine evaluative meaning:

- the object of speech

- the nature of sphere of communication

- the relations (emotions of participants of the communication)

Expressive meaning is a reflected meaning, the expressive value based intensification or correlations between form and content and resulting in hyper semantisation (приращение смысла).

Collocative meaning is communicated through association with words which typically occur in the environment of another word, that part of connotation which is determined by the collocability of the word with some particular words.

Cintextual meaning – meaning that is imposed on the words by the context.

Grammatical meaning refers our mind to relations between words or to some words or constructions bearing upon their structural functions in the language-as-a-system.

Implication – a category in which the content is rather suggested but not expressed verbally. It sis expressed either by context or by the reader’s background knowledge, including the knowledge of the language. Trophs are the means of implication.

Presupposition – the conditions which may be satisfied to make the sentence function as a question, a demand, a statement;

- the relation between a referent and other referents without which this particular object and what is said about it can not be actualized. The different between the presupposition and meaning in their reaction to the negation. Negation refers only to the meaning, not to the presupposition.


Context is a linguistic surrounding of an element of a language, in other words it is words and phrases which precede and follow it, also relationships and linking with this words and phrases which influence the meaning of the element and its understanding.

Context shows which of the lexical semantic variants of a word is used in this particular case.

The influence of context parameters on language use or discourse is usually studied in terms of language variation, style or register. The basic assumption here is that language users adapt the properties of their language use (such as intonation, lexical choice, syntax, and other aspects of formulation) to the current communicative situation. In this sense, language use or discourse may be called more or less 'appropriate' in a given context.

Stylistic context is a background in which the expressiveness of a stylistic device occurs by contrast or similarity.

Micro context is limited by the borders of one stylistic function.

Extra linguistic context is an environment where the act of speech takes place.

Context 1)language (words)

2)speech (environment)

Stylistic context

M/ Raffaterre defines stylistic context as a pattern broken by an unpredictable element. He thinks that contrast is a basic feature of stylistic context.

I.V. Arnold looks upon stylistic context as a unity of stylistic element and its surroundings, a systematic structure of interrelated elements. Every stylistically relevant element is not isolated but is coordinated with the other elements of the context.

Micropoetic context is limited by a complete sentence. Macropoetic context may spread on 2 any stylistically relevant part of the text (a paragraph, a complex syntactical unit or a whole text).

Stylistic context may be based on the similarity of equivalent words or their contrast.

Stylistic context very often is based on the convergence. Convergence denotes an accumulation at a given point of the text or several stylistic devices, each device adds its expressivity to that of others, and thus the total effect may be a striking emphasis. (e.g. and heaved, and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience. – simile, repetition, inversion and polysyndation).



Stylistic function

Stylistic function deals with expressive potential of elements of the language within the context. Dealing with the stylistic function of elements of the language we take into consideration emotions, relations, attitudes the author transcends to the readers. Stylistic function has a contextual nature. It belongs to the stylistic of speech. Stylistic function provides the correctness of the decoding, prevents from erroneous understanding. Stylistic means within the stylistic function helps readers to single out the main things and to put accents correctly. All in all their aim is to protect from distortion.

Stylistic function has some peculiarities:

Accumulation: the same motive, mood or feelings are usually expressed by several parallel means, if it is significant for the whole. Such abundance intensifies and concentrates the impression and is called convergence.

As stylistic function backs on connotative meanings of words, forms and constructions, it may be expressed implicitly, not directly.

Ability to irradiation: long utterance may have one/two high-flown words, which are surrounded by neutral words, but all in all the utterance will sound lofty, and vice versa – one vulgar word may make the whole utterance sound vulgar and rude.

36. Principles of foregrounding.

Foregrounding is the practice of making something stand out from the surrounding words or images. There are two main types of foregrounding: parallelism (grammar) and deviation. Parallelism can be described as unexpected regularity, while deviation can be seen as unexpected irregularity

Deviation corresponds to the traditional idea of poetic license: the writer of literature is allowed - in contrast to the everyday speaker - to deviate from rules, maxims, or conventions. These may involve the language, as well as literary traditions or expectations set up by the text itself. The result is some degree of surprise in the reader, and his / her attention is thereby drawn to the form of the text itself (rather than to its content). Cases of neologism, live metaphor, or ungrammatical sentences, as well as archaisms, paradox, and oxymoron (the traditional tropes) are clear examples of deviation.

Devices of parallelism are characterized by repetitive structures: (part of) a verbal configuration is repeated (or contrasted), thereby being promoted into the foreground of the reader's perception. Traditional handbooks of poetics and rhetoric have surveyed and described (under the category of figures of speech) a wide variety of such forms of parallelism, e.g., rhyme, assonance, alliteration, meter, semantic symmetry, or antistrophe.

Foregrounding can occur on all levels of language (phonology, graphology, morphology, lexis, syntax, semantics and pragmatics). It is generally used to highlight important parts of a text, to aid memorability and/or to invite interpretation.


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