–ефераты. Lexicology



1 Lexicology as a science. Branches of lexicology.

2 Two approaches to language study, varieties of words.

3 Methods of investigation.

4 Contrastive analysis.

5 Statistical analysis.

6 Immediate constituents analysis.

7 Distributional analysis.

8 Transformational analysis.

9 Componental analysis.

10 Method of semantic differential.

11 Analytical (referential) definition of meaning.

12 Functional (contextual) definition of meaning.

13 Operational (information-oriented) definition of meaning.

14 Naming. The nominative approach to meaning.

15 The formation of concepts. Meaning and concept.

16 The ways of forming sound forms of words.

17 Aspects of lexical meaning.

18 Sources and types of meaning variability.

19 The semantic structure of a word.

20 Semantic relations of words.

21 Word-structure. Types of morphemes.

22 The method of immediate and ultimate constituents.

23 The derivational structure. Derivational bases. Types of

stems .

24 Derivational patterns.

25 Word-formation. Basic ways of coining words.

26 Minor types of coining words.

27 Affixes. Polysemy. Homonymy. Synonymy.

28 Conversion.

Lexicology as a science.

Its basic units and methods.

Lexicology is a branch of linguistics Ц the science of language. The

term УlexicologyФ is composed of two Greek morphemes УlexicФ Ц word, phrase

& УlogosФ which denotes learning a department of knowledge. Thus the

literal meaning of the term УlexicologyФ is Уthe science of the wordФ.

Lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims & methods of

scientific research. Its basic task Ц being a study & systematic

description of vocabulary in respect to its origin, development & its

current use. Lexicology is concerned with words, variable word-groups,

phraseological units & morphemes which make up words.


General lexicology is a 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 ( Russian , German , French , etc. ).

Lexicology is closely connected with other branches of linguistics :

phonetics , for example , investigates the phonetic structure of language &

is concerned with the study of the outer sound-form of the word . Grammar

is the study of the grammatical structure of language . It is concerned

with the various means of expressing grammatical relations between words as

well as with patterns after which words are combined into word-groups &

sentences . There is also a close relationship between lexicology &

stylistics which is concerned with a study of a nature , functions & styles

of languages .

Two approaches to language study.

Varieties of words.

There are two principle approaches in linguistic science to the study

of language material : synchronic & diachronic . With regard to Special

lexicology the synchronic approach is concerned with the vocabulary of a

language as it exists at a given time . ItТs Special Descriptive lexicology

that deals with the vocabulary & vocabulary units of a particular language

at a certain time .

The diachronic approach in terms of Special lexicology deals with the

changes & the development of vocabulary in the coarse of time . It is

Special Historical lexicology that deals with the evaluation of the

vocabulary units of a language as the time goes by .

The two approaches shouldnТt be set one against the other . In fact ,

they are interconnected & interrelated because every linguistic structure &

system 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

evaluation , of its historical development . Closely connected with the

Historical lexicology is Contrastive & Comparative lexicology whose aims

are to study the correlation between the vocabularies of two or more

languages & find out the correspondences between the vocabulary units of

the languages under comparison .

Lexicology studies various lexical units . They are : morphemes , words

, variable word-groups & phraseological units . We proceed from the

assumption that the word is the basic unit of the language system , the

largest on morphological & the smallest on syntactic plane of linguistic

analyses . The word is a structural & semantic entity within the language

system . The word as well as any linguistic sign is a two-faced unit

possessing both form & content or , to be more exact , sound-form & meaning


e. g. boy Ц бой

When used in actual speech the word undergoes certain modification &

functions in one of its forms . The system showing a word in all its word-

forms is called a paradigm . The lexical meaning of a word is the same

throughout the paradigm . The grammatical meaning varies from one form to

another . Therefore when we speak on any word as used in actual speech we

use the term УwordФ conventionally because what is manifested in the

utterances is not a word as a whole but one of its forms which is

identified as belonging to the definite paradigm . Words as a whole are to

be found in the dictionary (showing the paradigm n Ц noun , v Ц verb ,


There are two approaches to the paradigm : as a system of forms of one

word revealing the differences & the relationships between them .

e. g. to see Ц saw - seen Ц seeing

( different forms have different relations )

In abstraction from concrete words the paradigm 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 .

-s -Сs -sТ

-ed -ing

nouns, of-phrases


Besides the grammatical forms of words there are lexical varieties

which are called УvariantsФ of words .Words seldom possess only one meaning

, but used in speech each word reveals only that meaning which is required


e. g. to learn at school to make a dress

to learn about smth. /smbd. to make smbd. do smth.

These are lexico-semantic variants .

There are also phonetic & morphological variants .

e. g. УoftenФ can be pronounced in two ways, though the sound-form is

slightly changed , the meaning remains unchangeable . We can build the

forms of the word Уto dreamФ in different ways :

to dream Ц dreamt Ц dreamt


These are morphological variants . The meaning

is the same but the model is different .

Like words-forms variants of words are identified in the process of

communication as making up one & the same word . Thus , within the language

system the word exists as a system & unity of all its forms & variants .

Methods of investigation .

The science is said to be formed when it has at its disposal certain

methods of investigation . The process of scientific investigation may be

subdivided into several stages :

* Observation is an early & basic phase of all modern scientific

investigations including linguistics & is the center of what is called У

the inductive method of inquiry У . The cardinal role of all inductive

procedures is that the statements of fact must be based on observation

not on unsupported authority , logical conclusions or personal

preferences .

* Another stage of scientific investigation after observation is

classification of those facts which were obtained through observation .

e. g. It is observed that in English nouns the suffixal morpheme

У-erФ is added to verbal stems ( to cook Ц cooker , to write

Ц writer ) & noun stems ( village Ц villager , London Ц Londoner ). The

same suffix also occurs in the words such as mother , father . The question

is whether the words У mother , father У have suffix . They havenТt , thus

we can come to the conclusion that У-erФ can be found in derived & non-

derived words .

* The following stage is usually that of generalization , that is , the

collection of data & their classification must eventually lead to the

formulation of a hypotheses , rule , or law .

e. g. In the case with У-erФ we can formulate the rule that

derived words in У-erФ may have either verbal or noun stems .The suffix У-

erФ in combination with adjectival or adverbial stems canТt produce nouns (

bigger , longer , shorter are not nouns ).

* Any linguistic generalization is to be followed by the very fine process

Ц the linguist is required to seek verification of the generalizations

that are the result of his inquires . For these aims different methods &

procedures are used . They are : contrastive analyses , statistical

methods of analyses , immediate constituents analyses , distributional

analyses , transformational analyses , componental analyses & method of

semantic differentiation .

Contrastive analysis .

Contrastive linguists attempt to find out similarities & differences in

both related & non-related languages . Contrastive analysis grew as the

result of the practical demands of a language-teaching methodology , where

it was empirically shown that the errors which are made by foreign language

students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between

the target language & the language of the learner . This naturally implies

the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native & a

target language . This procedure has been named contrastive analysis .

People proceed from the assumption that the categories , elements on the

semantic as well as on the syntactic & other levels are valid for both

languages .

e. g. Linking verbs can be found in English , French , German , Russian ,

etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of Уchange & becomeФ are differently

represented in each of the languages . In English , for instance , У become

, come , grow , fall , run , turn У ; in Russian ЦУ становитьс€ У are used

. The task is to find out which semantic & syntactic features characterize

the English set of linking verbs , the Russian linking verb & how they can

be compared , how the English word-groups У grow thin , get angry , fall

ill У correspond to Russian Упохудеть , рассердитьс€ , заболеть У.

Contrastive analysis can be carried out at three linguistic levels :

phonology , grammar ( morphology & syntax ) & lexis . Contrastive analysis

is applied to reveal the features of sameness & difference in the lexical

meaning & the semantic structure of correlated words in different languages

. It is commonly assumed by non-linguists that all languages have

vocabulary systems in which the words themselves differ in sound-form , but

refer to reality in the same way . From this assumption it follows that for

every word in the mother tongue there is an exact equivalent in the foreign

language . It is a belief which is reinforced by the small bilingual

dictionary where single-word translation is often used .Language learning

cannot be just a matter of substitution a new set of labels for the

familiar ones of the mother tongue .It should be born in mind that though

the objective reality exists outside human beings & irrespective of the

language they speak , every language classifies reality in its own way by

means of vocabulary units .

e. g. In English , for example , the word УfootФ is used to denote the

extremity of the leg . In Russian there is no exact equivalent for

УfootФ: УстопаФ is a little bit smaller than foot , the word УногаФ

denotes the whole leg including the foot .

Differences in the lexical meaning of correlated words account for the

differences of their collocability in different languages .

e. g. Thus , the English adjective УnewФ & the Russian adjectiveФновыйФ

when taken in isolation are felt as correlated words : a new dress ,

New Year . In collocation with other nouns however the Russian

adjective cannot be used in the same meaning in which the English word

УnewФ is currently used : new potatoes , new bread , etc.

Contrastive analysis on the level of the grammatical meaning reveals that

co-related words in different languages may differ in grammatical

characteristics .

e. g. Russians are liable to say Уnews are good , the money are on the

table , her hair are blackФ because the Russian words Уновости , деньги

, волосыФ have the grammatical meaning of plurality .

Contrastive analysis brings to light the essence of what is usually

described as idiomatic English , idiomatic Russian , i. e. the peculiar way

in which every language combines & structures in lexical units various

concepts to denote extra-linguistic reality .

e. g. A typical Russian word-group used to describe the way somebody

performs an action or to state how a person finds himself has the

structure that may be represented by the formula Уadjective + a finite

form of a verbФ(он крепко спит , быстро усваивает ). In English we can

also use structurally similar word-groups & say Уhe learns fast/slowlyФ

. The structure of idiomatic word-group in English is different . The

structure is Уadjective + deverbal nounФ. It is really in English to

say Уhe is a heavy smoker , poor learner early riserФ.

Statistical analysis .

Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognized as the one of

the major branches of linguistics . Statistical inquiries have considerable

importance because of their relevance to certain problems of communication

engineering & information theory . Statistical approach proved essential in

the selection of vocabulary items of a foreign language for teaching

purposes . Very few people know more than 10% of the words in their mother

tongue . It follows that if we do not wish to waste time on committing to

memorize vocabulary items which are never likely to be useful to the

learner we have to select only lexical units that are commonly used by a

native speaker .

Out of approximately 500 000 words listed in Oxford English dictionary

the active vocabulary of an educated Englishman comprises no more than 30

000 words & of these 4 000 - 5 000 are presumed to be amplisufficient for

the daily needs of an average member of the English speech community. Thus

, it is evident that the problem of selection of teaching vocabulary is of

vital importance . Statistical techniques have been successfully applied in

the analysis of various linguistic phenomena . Different structural types

of words , affixes , the vocabularies of great writers & poets & even in

the study of some problems of Historical Lexicology .

Statistical regularities can be observed only if the phenomena under

analysis are sufficiently numerous . Thus , the first requirement of any

statistic investigation is the size of the sample . It is known that

comparatively small group of words makes up the bulk of any text . It was

found that approximately 1300 Ц 1500 most frequent words make up 85% of all

words occurring in the text . If however we analyze a sample of 60 words it

is hard to predict the number of occurrences of most frequent words .

e. g. If we take the word УroomФ we can find some meanings of the word

: 1) УroomФ- denoting УspaceФ as in Уtake less room , not enough room

to do smth.Ф; 2) part of a house as in Уsitting-roomФ ; 3) used in

plural = lodgings as in Уto get roomsФ. Statistical analysis shows that

most frequently the word is used in its second meaning Ц 83% of all

occurrences of the word in different texts , 12% of all takes its first

meaning Ц УspaceФ, & only 2% takes the third meaning of the word .

Immediate constituents analysis .

The theory of Immediate Constituents was originally elaborated as an

attempt to determine the ways in which lexical units are relevantly related

to one another . It was discovered that combinations of units are usually

structured into hierarchial sets of binary constructions .

e. g. In the word-group У a black dress in severe style У we do not

relate the indefinite article УaФ to adjective УblackФ , УblackФ to

УdressФ , УdressФ to УinФ , УinФ to УsevereФ , УsevereФ to УstyleФ .We

set up a structure which may be represented as Уa black dressФ & Уin

severe styleФ.

Thus , the fundamental aim of immediate constituents analysis is to

segment a set of lexical units into two maximally independent sequences &

these maximally independent sequences are called immediate constituents .

The further segmentation of immediate constituents results in ultimate

constituents , which means that further segmentation is impossible for no

meaning can be found .

e. g. The ultimate constituents of the phrase given are УaФ ,ФblackФ ,

УdressФ , У inФ , УsevereФ , УstyleФ .

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