–ефераты. Lexicology

This method of analysis is extremely fruitful in discovering the

derivational structure of words .

Distributional analysis .

Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly used nowadays.

By the term УdistributionФ we understand the occurrence of a lexical unit

relative to another lexical units of the same levels : words to words ,

morpheme to morphemes . In other words , by this term we understand the

position which lexical unit occupies or may occupy in the text or in the

flow of speech . It is observed that a certain component of the word-

meaning is described when the word is identified distributionally .

e. g. In the sentence

The boy__________ home .

the missing word is easily identified as a verb . It may be Уcame ,

ran , went , goesФ , but not as an adverb or a noun , or an adjective .

Thus , we see that the component of meaning that is distributionally

identified is actually the part-of-speech meaning . It is also observed

that in a number of cases words have different lexical meanings in

different distributional patterns .

e. g. The verb Уto treatФ has different lexical meanings in Уto treat

smbd kindlyФ & Уto treat smbd to ice-creamФ .

The interdependence of distribution & meaning can be also observed at the

level of word-groups .

e. g. It is only the distribution of completely identical lexical units

but arranged on the reverse that differentiates the meaning Ц water tap

& tap water .

Transformational analysis .

Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be defined

as repatterning ( representing , reorganization ) 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 but also in the analysis of the factors that account for

their polysemy . Word-groups of identical distributional structure when

repatterned show that the semantic relations between words & consequently

the meaning may be different .e. g. A pattern Уpossessive pronoun

Ф+ФnounФ(his car , his failure , his arrest, his kindness ). According to

transformational analysis the meaning of each word-group may be represented

as : he has a car , he failed , he was arrested , he is kind. In each of

the cases different meaning is revealed : possession , action , passive

action , quality .The rules of transformation are rather strict & shouldnТt

be identified with paraphrasing in the usual sense of the term .There are

many restrictions both on syntactic & lexical levels . These are :

Permutation Ц the repatterning on condition that the basic subordinative

relationships between words & word-stems of the lexical units are not

changed .e. g. УHis work is excellent У may be transformed into У his

excellent work , the excellence of his work , he works excellently У.In

the example given the relationships between lexical units & the stems of

the notional words are essentially the same .

Replacement Ц the substitution of a component of the distributional

structure by a member of a certain strictly defined set of lexical units

.e. g. Replacement of a notional verb by an auxiliary or link verb (he will

make a bad mistake & he will make a good teacher ). The sentences have

identical distributional structure but only in the second one the verb Уto

make У can be substituted by У become У or У be У . The fact of

impossibility of identical transformations of distributionally identical

structures is a formal proof of the difference in their meaning .

Addition ( or expansion ) may be illustrated by the application of the

procedure of addition to the classification of adjectives into two groups-

adjectives denoting inherent & non-inherent qualities .

e. g. John is happy .

John is tall .

We add a word-group У in Moscow У. We shall see that У John is happy in

Moscow .Ф has meaning while the second one is senseless . That is accounted

by the difference in the meaning of adjectives denoting inherent (tall) &

non-inherent(happy) qualities .

Deletion Ц a procedure which shows whether one of the words semantically

subordinated to the other . e. g. The word-group Уred flowersФ may be

deleted & transformed into УflowersФ without making the sentence senseless

: I like red flowers or I like flowers . The other word-group Уred tape У

canТt be deleted & transformed either into У I hate tape У or УI hate red У

because in both transformed sentences the meaning of the phrase Уred tapeФ

means УbureaucracyФ & it canТt be divided into two parts .

Componental analysis .

In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the smallest

units of meaning are sememes or semes . e. g. In the lexical item УwomanФ

several sememes may be singled out , such as human , not an animal , female

, adult . The analysis of the word УgirlФ will show the following sememes :

human , female , young . The last component of the two words differentiates

them & makes impossible to mix up the words in the process of communication

. It is classical form of revealing the work of componental analysis to

apply them to the so called closed systems of vocabulary , for example ,

colour terms . The analysis as a rule was formalized only as far as the

symbolic representation of meaning components it is concerned with .Each

sememe in the terms of colours acquires or is given a certain letter ( A ,

B , C , D Е ) & the meaning of the terms may be given in a formalized form

. e. g. Red & scarlet will differ only in one component & that is intensity

of colour & by the letter it may be illustrated as


A B C Under the letter C the intensity is meant .

The formalized representation of meaning helps to find out different

semantic components which influence collocability of words (during the day

but not during the stairs, down the stairs but not down the day ).

Componental analysis is practically always combined with transformational

procedures or statistical analysis .The combination makes it possible to

find out which of the meanings should be represented first of all in the

dictionaries of different types & how the words should be combined in order

to make your speech sensible .

Method of semantic differential .

A word has not only one meaning & even one word usually implies some

additional information which differentiates one word from another .

e. g. to like , to love , to adore , to warship . All the words denote

positive feelings , characteristic of a human being . But each of them

gives additional information on the so-called strength of feeling .

This is the connotational aspect which was singled out by the semantic

differential Ц the method which was worked out by a group of American

psycholinguists . Their technique requires the subjects to judge Ц a series

of concepts with respect to a set of antonymic adjective scale .

e. g. A horse can be :

good Ц bad

fast Ц slow

strong Ц weak

hard Ц soft

happy Ц sad

The meaning of the divisions is that each of the quality may be gradated

representing extremely good , very good , neither good nor bad ,slightly

bad , extremely bad & these grades can be marked by a plus .And the horse

may be very good , not bad , etc .

The revealed gradations showing some portion of quality helps to singled

out such words which are usually referred to as neutral, expressive ,

archaic & new words proper Ц neologisms . All the methods of analysis are

applied in one & the same sphere of investigation . If you are interested

in meaning you shouldnТt pay much attention to the structure , if you are

interested in collocation of words you shouldnТt pay much attention what

parts of words represent the distributional structure . The combination of

different methods of analysis helps to classify the vocabulary as a whole &

each lexical unit taken separately . It should be said that practically no

procedures function independently & separately from each other . It is only

for study aims that we separate one procedure from another . In fact ,

being a two-faced unit a lexical item provides to be an indivisible unit of

form & content . That is why you cannot investigate one side of the item

paying no attention to the other one .

Semasiology . Lexical

meaning & its aspects .

Semasiology (or semantics ) is a branch of linguistics which studies

meaning . Semasiology is singled out as an independent branch of lexicology

alongside word-formation , etymology , phraseology & lexicography . And at

the same time it is often referred to as the central branch of lexicology .

The significance of semasiology may be accounted for by three main

considerations :

1. Language is the basic human communication system aimed at ensuring the

exchange of information between the communicants which implies that

the semantic side forms the backbone of communication .

2. By definition lexicology deals with words , morpheme & word-groups .

All those linguistic units are two-faced entities having both form &

meaning .

3. Semasiology underlines all other branches of lexicology . Meaning is

the object of semasiological study .

However , at present there is no universally accepted definition of meaning

or rather a definition reflecting all the basic characteristic features of

meaning & being at the same time operational . Thus , linguists state that

meaning is Уone of the most ambiguous & most controversial terms in the

theory of language У(Steven Ullman).Leech states that the majority of

definitions turn out to be a dead end not only on practical but on logical

grounds . Numerous statements on the complexity of the phenomenon of

meaning are found on the Russian tradition as well by such linguists as

ј.ј.ѕотебн€ , ».ј.Ѕодуэн де  уртене , ўерба , ¬иноградов , ј.». —мерницкий

& others .

However vague & inadequate , different definitions of meaning help to sum

up the general characteristics of the notion comparing various approaches

to the description of the content side of the language . There are three

main categories of definitions which may be referred to as :

V analytical or referential definition of meaning

V functional or contextual definition of meaning

V operational or information-oriented definition of meaning

Analytical or referential

definition of meaning.

They seek to find the essence of meaning establishing the interdependence

between words of the objects or phenomena they denote . The best known

analytical model of meaning is the so-called Уbasic triangleФ.

Concept (or our thought)

Sound-form Word-object (referent)

They are connected directly that means that if we hear a sound-form a

certain idea arises in our mind & the idea brings out a certain referent

that exists in the reality . But the sound-form & the referent are

connected indirectly because there are no objects or phenomena in the

reality that predict a certain sound-form , that need to be named by a

certain sequence of sounds . The strongest point in the approach is an

attempt to link the notion of meaning with the process of naming the

objects , processes or phenomena of concrete reality . The analytical

definitions of meaning are usually criticized on the grounds that they

cannot be applied to sentences .

e. g. The sentence У I like to read long novels У does not express single

notion , it represents composites of notions specifying the relations

between them .

The referential definition of meaning can hardly be applied to semantic

additions that come to the surface in the process of communication .

e. g. УThatТs very clever У may mean different sorts of things including

that it is not clever at all .

It has also been stated that the referential approach fails to account

for that fact that one word may denote different objects & phenomena . That

is the case of polysemy . On the other hand one & the same object may be

denoted by different words & that is the case of synonymy .

Functional or contextual

Definitions of meaning.

Proceeding from the assumptions that the true meaning of a word is to be

found by observing what a man does with it not what he says about it , the

proponents of functional approach to meaning define it as the use of the

word in the language . It has been suggested that the meaning of a word is

revealed by substituting different contexts .

e. g. The meaning of the word cat may be singled out of contexts:

____________ catch mice.

I bought fish for my _____.

and similar sentences.

To get a better insight in to the semantics of a word it is necessary to

analyze as many contexts in which it is realized as possible. The question

arises Ц when to stop collecting different contexts & what amount of

material is sufficient to make a reliable conclusion about the meaning of a

word ? In practice a scholar is guided by intuition which amount to the

previous knowledge of the notions the given word denotes. Besides , there

are contexts which are so infrequent that they can hardly be registered &

quite obviously they have never been met by the speakers of the given

language. Nevertheless being presented with a context a native speaker

proceeds not from a list of possible contexts but from something else. The

functional approach to meaning is important because it emphasizes the fact

that words are seldom if ever used in isolation & thus the meaning of a

word is revealed only when it is realized in a context. But on the whole

the functional approach may be described as a complimentary , additional to

the referential one.

Operational definition

Of meaning.

They are centered on defining meaning through its role in the process of

communication. Just like functional approach information-oriented

definitions are part of studying words in action. They are more interested

in how the words work , how the meaning works than what the meaning is. The

operational approach began to take shape with the growing interest of

linguists in the communicative aspect of the language when the object of

study was shifted to the relations between the language we use & the

situations within which it is used. In this frame-work meaning is defined

as information conveyed from the speaker to the listener in the process of

communication. The definition is applicable both to words & sentences &

thus overcomes one of the drawbacks of the referential approach. The

problem is that it is more applicable to sentences than to words & even as

such fails to draw a clear distinguishing line between the direct sense

(that is meaning) & implication (that is additional information).

e. g. Thus the sentence УJohn came at 6 oТclockФ besides the direct

meaning may imply that John was 2 hours late , that he was punctual as

usual , that it was a surprise for John to come , that he came earlier ,

that he was not expected at all & many others.

In each case the implication would depend on the concrete situation of

communication. And discussing meaning as the information conveyed would

amount to the discussion of an almost endless set of possible communication

situations which in the end will bring us back to a modified contextual or

functional approach to meaning. The distinction between the two layers in

the information conveyed is so important that two different terms may be

used to denote them: the direct information conveyed by the units which

build up a sentence may be referred to as meaning while the information

added to the given extralinguistic situation may be called sense.

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