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Brief course on lexicology

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9

BRIEF COURSE ON LEXICOLOGY

Lecture 1

Lexicology is the science of the word and distinguished in:

v General and special

v Contrastive and comparative

v Descriptive (the synchronic approach) and historical (the diachronic
approach).

Contrastive and comparative, descriptive and historical are closely
connected.

Lexical units are morphemes, words, word-groups, phraseological units.

Paradigm – the system showing a word in all its word-forms. The lexical
meaning is the same; the grammatical meaning varies from one form to
another (to take, takes, taken, took, taking).

Semasiology – the branch of lexicology that is devoted to the study of
the meaning. There are 2 schools with their own approaches to the
problem of the words meaning: referential and functional.

Types of the meaning

v Grammatical meaning

v Part of speech meaning

v Lexical meaning – may be denotational (making the communication
possible) and connotational (the emotive charge and the stylistic
value).

Stylistic value is subdivided into neutral, bookish and colloquial. The
last may be pointed out like slang, common colloquial, vulgarisms,
dialectical words, professionalisms, jargonisms.

Meaning is the inner facet of the word, inseparable from its outer facet
(sound form) which is indispensable to the existence of meaning and to
intercommunication.

Motivation:

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00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000220000000c000000
ffffffff460000001c00000010000000454d462b024000000c000000000000000e000000
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00000f000f0000000000040000002701ffff030000000000 Morphological (-able,
-less, re-, anti-)

9

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00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000220000000c000000
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010101010100010101010101010101010101010101000c00000040092900aa0000000000
00000f000f0000000000040000002701ffff030000000000 Phonetical (boom,
splash, cuckoo, pooh!)

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00000f000f0000000000040000002701ffff030000000000 Semantic

9

Change of meaning

Word-meaning is liable to change in the course of the historical
development of language.

Causes of semantic change

v Extra-linguistic

v Linguistic (ellipsis, discrimination of synonyms, linguistic analogy)

The kinds of association involved in semantic changes are:

1. similarity of meanings

2. contiguity of meanings

Results of semantic change:

1. changes in denotational meaning (specialization, extension
(generalization [specialized, common]))

2. changes in connotational meaning:

v pejorative development (derogatory emotive charge)

v ameliorative development (the improvement of the con. component)

Causes, nature and result of semantic changes should be regarded as 3
essentially different but closely connected aspects of the same
linguistic phenomenon.

Lecture 2

Polysemy The main problem is the problem of interrelation and
interdependence of the various meanings of the same word.

Diachronically it is a historical change in the semantic structure
resulting in disappearance of some meanings or/and in new meanings being
added to the ones already existing also in the rearrangement of these
meanings in its semantic structure.

Synchronically it is co-existence of the various meanings of the same
word at a certain historical period and the arrangement of these
meanings in the semantic structure of the word.

Diachronically: primary (original) and secondary (derived) meanings
viewed chronically.

Synchronically: central (basic) and marginal (minor) meanings according
to their relative frequency in speech.

The semantic structure is never static. The relationship between the
diachronic and synchronic evaluation of individual meanings of the same
word may be different in different periods of the historical development
of language.

The whole of the semantic structure of correlated polysemantic words of
different languages can never be identical. Words are felt as correlated
if their basic (central) meanings coincide.

Lecture 3

Homonymy Full homonymy – of words belonging to the same part of speech.

Partial homonymy – of individuals word-forms of different part of
speech.

Homonyms may be:

ь lexical (differ in lexical meaning)

ь lexico-grammatical (both in lexical and grammatical)

ь grammatical (in grammatical meaning only)

Homonyms may be classified on the basis of 3 aspects as well:

1. sound form

2. graphic form

3. meaning (dew to the meaning they are derived into homograpgs,
homophones, perfect (absolute) homonyms)

The sources of homonymy:

ь diverging meaning development of a polysemantic word

ь convergent sound development of 2 or more different words (most potent
factor)

The criteria used in the synchronic analysis of homonyms:

1. semantic 2. spelling 3. distribution

The problem of discriminating between polysemy and homonymy in
theoretical linguistics is closely connected with the problem of the
basic unit at the semantic level of analysis.

Word-meaning in syntagmatics and paradigmatics

Intralinguistic relations of words are basically of 2 types: syntagmatic
and paradigmatic.

Syntagmatic relations define the meaning the word possesses when it is
used in combination with other words in the flow of speech.

Paradigmatic relations are those that exist between individual lexical
items which make up one of the subgroups of vocabulary items (sets of
synonyms, lexico-semantic groups, etc.).

Syntagmatic relationsParadigmatic relations

He got a letter.

I received a note.

She obtained an epistle.

Lecture 4

Context may be regarded in aspects as following:

ь linguistic

ь lexical

ь grammatical

ь extra-linguistic (of situation)

Conceptual (semantic) fields.

Hoponymic (hierachia) structures.

Classification of vocabulary into thematic groups is based on common
contextual associations (the result of regular co-occurrence of words in
similar, repeatedly used contexts).

The main criterion underlying semantic classification of vocabulary
items on the paradigmatic axis is type of meaning relationships between
words.

The criterion of common concept serves to classify words into semantic
fields and lexico-semantic groups.

Semantic relationship of inclusion is the main feature of hyponymic
hierarchical structure. Semantic similarity and semantic contrast is the
type of relationship which underlies the classification of lexical items
into synonymic and antonymic series.

Synonymy and antonymy are correlative and sometimes overlapping notions.
Synonymous relationship of the denotational meaning is in many cases
combined with the difference in the connotational (mainly stylistic)
component.

Synonyms – words different in sound-form but similar in their
denotational meaning or meanings and interchangeable at least in some
contexts.

Antonyms – words different in sound-form characterized by different
types of semantic contrast of the denotational meaning and
interchangeable at least in some contexts.

Word-groups – words put together to form lexical units make up phrases
or word-groups. Come dew to lexical and grammatical valency of the
components.

Lexical valency is the aptness of a word to appear in various
collocations. Restriction of the lexical valency are to be accounted for
by the inner structure of the vocabulary of the English language.

Different meanings of a polysemantic word may be described through its
lexical valency.

Grammatical valency is the aptness of a word to appear in various
grammatical structures. Restriction of the grammatical valency are to be
accounted for by the grammatical structure of the language. The range of
the grammatical valency of the word is delimited by the part of speech
the word belongs to.

Structurally, word-groups may be classified by the criterion of
distribution into exocentric and endocentric (they according to the
head-word are distinguished nominal, adverbial, verbal, adjectival).

Semantically, word-groups may be classified into motivated and
non-motivated (phraseological units)

Lecture 5

Phraseological units – non-motivated word-groups that cannot be freely
made up in speech but are reproduced as ready made units.

Classification:

1. phraseological fusions – completely non-motivated

2. phraseological unities – partially non-motivated

3. phraseological collocations – motivated but made up of words
possessing specific lexical valency. That’s why there is a certain
degree of stability in such group.

The criterion of idiomaticity;

The criterion of function;

The criterion of context;

Phraseological units might also be shared to:

v phrasemes – two-member word-groups in which one of the members has
specialized meaning dependent on the second component: “small hours”.

v Idioms – the idiomaticity of the whole word-group; unusualness of
collocability or logical incompability of member-words; usually
homonymous with corresponding variable word-groups: red tape, to let the
cat out of the bag.

The distinguishing feature of the new approach is that phraseology is
regarded as a self-contained branch of linguistics and not as a part of
lexicology. According to this approach phraseology deals with all types
of set expressions which are divided into 3 classes:

1. phraseological units

2. phraseomatic units

3. border-line cases

Lecture 6

Word structure

There are 2 levels of approach to the study of word-structure:

v the level of morphemic analysis

v the level of derivational or word-formation analysis

The basic unit of morphemic level is the morpheme defined as the
smallest indivisible two-facet language unit.

Three types of morphemic segmentability of words are distinguished:

· complete

· conditional

· defective

Words of conditional and defective segmentability are made up of full
morphemes and pseudo (quasi) morphemes. The latter do not rise to the
status of full morphemes either for semantic reasons or because of their
unique distribution.

Semantically morphemes fall into:

1. root-morphemes

2. affixational morphemes

Structurally morphemes fall into:

1. free

2. bound

3. semi-free (semi-bound)

The structural types of words at the morphemic level are described in
terms of the number and type of their ICs (immediate constituents) as
monomorphic and polymorphic words.

Derivational level of analysis aims at finding out the derivative types
of words, the interrelation between them and at finding out how
different types of derivatives are constructed.

Derivationately all words form 2 structural classes:

1. simplexes (non-derived)

2. complexes (derivatives) which in their turn may be divided into:

· sufficial

· prefixal

· conversions

· compounds

Each structural type of complexes shows preference for one or another
part of speech. Within part of speech derivative structures are
characterized by a set of derivational patterns.

Derivational basis differ from stems both structurally and semantically.
Derivational bases are built on the following language units:

· stems of various structure

· word-forms

· word-group or phrases

Each class and subset bases has its own range of collocability and shows
peculiar ties with different parts of speech.

Derivational affixes form derived stems by repattering derivational
bases. Semantically derivational affixes present a unity of lexical
meaning and other types of meaning: functional, distributional and
differential unlike non-derivational affixes which lack lexical meaning.

Derivational patterns (DP) are meaningful arrangements of various types
of ICs that can be observed in a set of words based on their mutual
interdependence. DPs can be viewed in terms of collocability of each IC.

There are 2 types of DPs: 1) structural that specify base classes and
individual affixes.

2) structural-semantic that specify semantic peculiarities of bases and
the individual meaning of the affix.

DPs of different levels of generalization signal:

· the class of source unit that motivates the derivative and the
direction of motivation between different classes of words.

· The part of speech of the derivative.

· The lexical sets and semantic features of derivatives.

Lecture 7

Ways of forming words (according to A.I. Smirnitskiy):

Word-formation is the system of derivative types of words and the
process of creating new words from the material available in the
language after certain structural and semantic formulas and patterns.

As a subject of study English word-formation is that branch of English
lexicology which studies the derivative structure of words and the
patterns on which the English language builds new words. Like any other
linguistic phenomenon, word-formation may be studied synchronically and
diachronically.

There are 2 types of word-formation in Modern English:

1. word-derivation being of 2 kinds like affixation and conversion

2. word- composition

There is every reason to exclude the shortening of words,
lexicalization, blending, acronymy from the system of word-formation and
regard them and other word-forming processes as specific means of
vocabulary refreshment. Sound-and-stress interchange in Modern English
are a means of distinguishing between different words, primarily between
words of different pa5rts of speech.

The degree of productivity and factors favouring it make an important
aspect in synchronic description of every derivational pattern within
the 2 types of word-formation.

Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for derivational
patterns and individual derivational affixes:

1. highly productive

2. productive or semi- productive

3. non- productive

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