Types of shortenings and their function in modern english

The theoretical and practical value of english lexicology. The connection of lexicology with phonetics, stylistics, grammar. Substantivization of adjectives, criteria of semantic derivation. Syntactical classification of phraseological units, antonyms.

25.01.2010
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Lexicology

The term lexicology is of Greek origin / from lexis - word and logos - science, learning/ . Lexicology is the part of linguistics which deals with the vocabulary of the language and characteristic features of words and word-groups.

The term vocabulary is used to denote the system of words and word-groups that the language possesses.

The term word denotes the main lexical unit of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning. A word ,therefore, is simultaneously a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit. It is the smallest unit of a language which can stand alone as a complete utterance. Thus, in the word boy the group of sounds [boi] is associated with the meaning a male child up to the age of 17 or 18 (also with some other meanings, but this is the most frequently) and with a definite grammatical properties, i.e. it is a noun and thus has a plural form - boys, it is a personal noun and has the Genitive form boy's (e.g. the boy's mother), it may be used in certain syntactic functions.

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/.

The general study of words and vocabulary, irrespective of the specific features of any particular language , is known as general lexicology. Linguistic phenomena and properties common to all languages are generally referred to as language universals.

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. It will, for instance, contrast the word boy with its derivatives: boyhood, boyish, boyishly, etc. It will describe its semantic structure comprising alongside with its most frequent meaning, such variants as 'a son of any age', 'a male servant", and observe its syntactic functioning and combining possibilities. This word, for instance, can be also used vocatively in such combinations as old boy. my dear" boy, and attributively, meaning 'male', as in boy-friend.

Lexicology also studies all kinds of semantic grouping and semantic relations: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, semantic fields, etc. Meaning relations as a whole are dealt with in semantics -- the study of meaning which is relevant both for lexicology and grammar.

The distinction between the two basically different ways in which language may be viewed, the historical or diachronic (Gr dia 'through' and chronos 'time') and the descriptive or synchronic (Gr. syn 'together', 'with'), is a difference of approach, artificially separating for the purpose of study what in real language is inseparable, because actually every linguistic structure and system, exists in a state of constant development. The distinction between a synchronic and a diachronic approach is due to the Swiss philologist Ferdinand de Saussure (I887-19I3).

Language is the reality of thought, and thought develops together with the development of society, therefore language and its vocabulary must be studied in the light of social history. Every new phenomenon in human society and in human activity in general, which is of any importance for communication, finds a reflection in vocabulary. A word, through its meaning rendering some notion, is a generalized reflection of reality it is therefore impossible to understand its development if one is ignorant of the chances in social, political or everyday life, production of science, manners or culture it serves to reflect. These extra-linguistic forces influencing the development of words are considered in historical lexicology. The point may be illustrated by the following

Post comes into English through French and Italian from Latin. Low Latin posta --posita fern. p.p. of Latin ponere, posit, v. 'place'. In the beginning of the 115th century it meant 'one of a number of men stationed with horses along roads at intervals, their duty being to ride forward with the King's "packet" or other letters, from stage to stage'. This meaning is now obsolete, because this type of communication is obsolete. The word, however, has become international and denotes the present-day system of carrying and delivering letters and parcels. Its synonym mail, mostly used in America, is an ellipsis from. mail of letters,~i.e. 'a bag of letters'. It comes from Old French male (modern mails) 'bag', a word of Germanic origin. Thus, the etymological meaning of mail is 'a bag or a packet of letters or dispatches for conveyance by post. Another synonym of bag is sack which shows a different meaning development. Sack is a large bag of coarse cloth, the verb to sack 'dismiss from service' comes from the expression to get the sack, which probably rose from the habit of craftsmen of old times, who on getting a job took their own tools to the works; when they left or were dismissed they were given a sack to carry away the tools.

In this connection it should be emphasized that the social nature of language and its vocabulary is not limited to the social essence of extra-linguistic factors influencing their development from without. The branch of linguistics, dealing with causal relations between the way the language works and develops, on the one hand, and the facts of social life, on the other, is termed sociolinguistics. Some scholars use this term in a narrower sense, and maintain that it is the analysis of speech behaviour in- small social groups that is the focal point of sociolinguistic analysis. A. D. Schweitzer has proved that such microsociological approach alone cannot give a complete picture of the sociology of language. It should be combined with the study of such macrosociological factors as the effect of mass media, the system of education, language planning, etc. An analysis of the social stratification of languages takes into account the stratification of society as a whole.

The theoretical and practical value of English Lexicology

The importance of English lexicology is based not on the size of its vocabulary, however big it is, but on the fact that at present it is the world's most widely used language. One of the most fundamental works on the English language of the present -- "A Grammar of Contemporary English" by R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum, G. Leech and J. Svartvik (1978) -- gives the following data: it is spoken as a native language by nearly three hundred million people In Britain, the United States, Ireland, Australia, Canada. New Zealand, South Africa and some other countries. The knowledge of English is widely spread geographically --it is in fact used in all continents. It is also spoken in many countries as a second language and used in official and business activities there. This is the case in India, Pakistan and many other former British colonies, English is also one of the working languages of the United Nations and the language of international aviation. More than a half world's literature is published in English. For all these reasons it is the widely studied all over the world as a foreign language.

The theoretical value of lexicology becomes obvious if we realize that it forms the study of one of the three main aspects of language, i.e. its vocabulary, its grammar and sound system. The theory of meaning is originally developed within the limits of philosophical science. The relationship between the name and the thing named has in the course of history constituted one of the key questions in gnostic theories .

Lexicology came into being to meet the demands of many different branches of applied linguistics, namely of lexicography, standardization of terminology, information retrieval, literary criticism and especially of foreign language teaching.

Its importance in training a would-be teacher of languages is of a quite special character and cannot be overestimated as it helps to stimulate a systematic approach to the facts of vocabulary and an organized comparison of the foreign and native language. It is particularly useful in building up the learner's vocabulary by an effective selection, grouping and analysis of new words. New words are better remembered if they are given not at random but organized in thematic groups, word-families, synonymic series, etc.

A good knowledge of the system of word-formation furnishes a tool helping the student to guess and retain in his memory the meaning of new words on the basis' of their motivation and by comparing and contrasting them with the previously learned elements and patterns.

The knowledge, for instance, of the meaning of negative, reversative and pejorative prefixes and patterns of derivation may be helpful in understanding new words. For example such words as immovable (a), deforestation (n) and miscalculate (v) will be readily understood as 'that cannot be moved', 'clearing land from forests' and 'to calculate wrongly'.

A working knowledge and understanding of functional styles and stylistical synonyms is indispensable when literary texts are used as a basis for acquiring oral skills, for analytical reading, discussing fiction and translation. Lexicology not only gives a systematic description of the present make-up of the vocabulary, but also helps students to master the literary standards of word usage. The correct use of words is an important counterpart of expressive and effective speech.

An exact knowledge of the vocabulary system is also necessary in connection with technical teaching means. It imparts the necessary skills of using different kinds of dictionaries and reference books, and prepares for future independent work on increasing and improving one's vocabulary. (For more details see: .. . . 1986.pp.9-14)

The connection of Lexicology with Phonetics, Stylistics, Grammar and other branches of Linguistics

The treatment of words in Lexicology is closely connected with the study of all the other elements in the language system to which words belong. It should be always borne in mind that in reality, in the actual process of communication, all these elements are interdependent and stand in definite relations to one another. We separate them for convenience of study and yet to separate them for analysis is pointless, unless we are afterwards able to put them back together to achieve a synthesis and see their inter dependence and development in the language system as a whole.

The word, as it has already been stated, is studied in several branches of linguistics and not in lexicology only, and the latter, in its turn, is closely connected with general linguistics, the history of the language, phonetics, stylistics, grammar and such new branches of our science as sociolinguistics, paralinguistics, pragmalinguisties and some others.

The importance of the connection between lexicology and phonetics stands explained if we remember that a word is an association of a given group of sounds with a given meaning, so that top is one word, and tip is another. Phonemes have no meaning of their own but they serve to. distinguish between meanings. Their function is building up morphemes, and it is on the level of morphemes that the form-meaning unity is introduced into language.

Discrimination between the words may be based upon stress: the word import is recognized as a noun and distinguished from the verb import due to the position of stress. Stress also distinguishes compounds from otherwise homonymous word-groups: 'blackbird : 'black 'bird. Each language also possesses certain phonological features marking word-limits.

Historical phonetics and historical phonology can be of great use in the diachronic study of synonyms, homonyms and polysemy. When sound changes loosen the ties between members of the same word-family, this is an important factor in facilitating semantic changes.

The words whole, heal, hail, for instance, are etymologically related (etymology is a branch of linguistics which deals with the origin and history of words). The word whole originally meant 'unharmed', 'unwounded'. The early verb whole meant 'to make whole', hence 'heal. Its sense of 'healthy' led to its use as a salutation, as in hail ! Having in the course of historical development lost their phonetical similarity, these words cannot now exercise any restrictive influence upon one another's semantic development

Meaning in its turn is indispensable to phonemic analysis because to establish the phonemic difference between [ou] and [o], it is sufficient to know that [houp] means something different from [hjp].

All these consideration can only give a general idea of the possible interdependence of the two branches of linguistics.

Stylistics, although from a different angle, studies many problems "treated in lexicology. These are the problems of meaning, connotations, synonymy, functional differentiation of vocabulary according to the sphere of communication and some other issues. For a reader without some awareness of the connotations and history of words, the images hidden in their root and their stylistic properties, a substantial part of the meaning of literary text is lost .

The difference and interconnection between grammar and lexicology is one of the important controversial issues in linguistics .A close connection between lexicology and grammar is conditioned by the ties between the objects of their study. Even isolated words as presented in a dictionary bear a definite relation to the grammatical system of the language because they belong to some part of speech and conform to some lexico-grammatical characteristics of the word class to which they belong. Words seldom occur in isolation.. They are arranged in certain patterns conveying the relations between the things for which they stand, therefore alongside with their lexical meaning they possess some grammatical meaning. C f. head of the committee and to head a committee.

The two kinds of meaning are often interdependent. That is to say, certain grammatical functions and meanings are possible only for the words whose lexical meaning makes them fit for these functions, and, on the other hand, some lexical meanings in some words occur only in definite grammatical functions and forms and in definite grammatical patterns.

On the other hand the grammatical form and function of the word affect its lexical meaning. A well-known example is the same verb go when in the continuous tenses, followed by to and an infinitive (except go and come), it serves to express an action in the near and immediate future, or an intention of future action: You're not going to sit there saying nothing ail the evening, both of you, are you? (Simpson)

It is also worthy of note that grammar and vocabulary make use of the same technique, i.e. the formal distinctive features of some derivational oppositions between different words are the same as those of oppositions contrasting different grammatical forms (in affixation, juxtaposition of stems and sound interchange). Compare, for example, the oppositions occurring in the lexical system, such as work :: worker, power :: will-power, food :: feed with grammatical oppositions: work (Inf.) :: worked (Past Ind.), pour (Inf.) :wii pour (Fut. Ind.); feed (inf.) :: fed (Past Ind.). Not only are the methods and patterns similar , but the very morphemes are often homonymous. For example, alongside the derivational suffixes -en, one of which occurs in adjectives (wooden), and the other in verbs (strengthen), there are two functional suffixes, one for Participle II (written), the other for the archaic plural form (oxen). The ties between lexicology and grammar are particularly strong in the sphere of word-formation which before lexicology became a separate branch of linguistics had even been considered as part of grammar. The characteristic features of English word-building, the morphological structure of the English word are dependent upon the peculiarity of the English grammatical system. (For more details see: .. . . 1986.pp.14 -18)

Language units

The term unit means one or more elements into which a whole may be divided or analyzed and which possesses the basic properties of this whole. The units of a vocabulary or lexical units are two-faced elements possessing form and meaning. The basic unit forming the bulk of the vocabulary is the word. Other units are morphemes that is part of words, into which words may be analyzed, and set expressions or groups of words into which words may be combined.

The main unit of the lexical system of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning is a word. This unit is used in grammatical functions characteristic of it. It is the smallest language unit which can stand alone as a complete utterance.

A word, however, can be divided into smaller sense units - morphemes. The morpheme is the smallest meaningful language unit. Unlike a word a morpheme is not autonomous .Morphemes occur in speech only as constituent parts of words, not independently, although a word may consist of a single morpheme. They are not indivisible into smaller meaningful units. The term morpheme is derived from Greek morphe (form) and -eme. The sentence The cats were sitting unhappily in the rain is analyzable into the morphemic string : the + cat + s + were + sit(t) + ing + un + happy + ly + in + the +rain. The 8-word sentence consists of 12 morphemes.

The morpheme consists of a class of variants, allomorphs, which are either phonologically or morphologically conditioned, e.g. please, pleasant, pleasure. (The suffixes - able and -ed are different morphemes, not allomorphs, because adjectives in -able mean capable of being: measurable capable of being measured), whereas -ed as a suffix of adjectives has a resultant force measures marked by due proportion.) They were defined by as structural linguists as morphs that have common semantic identity but differ in their pronunciation according to well-defined rules ,e.g. the prefixes in-,im-,il- are allomorphs of the same morpheme (in this case a negative prefix) in the words insincere, impolite, illogical.

Morphemes are divided into two large groups: lexical morphemes and grammatical (functional) morphemes. Both lexical and grammatical morphemes can be free and bound. Free lexical morphemes are roots of words which express the lexical meaning of the word, they coincide with the stem of simple words. Free grammatical morphemes are function words: articles, conjunctions and prepositions ( the, with, and).

Bound lexical morphemes are affixes: prefixes (dis-), suffixes (-ish) and also blocked (unique) root morphemes (e.g. Fri-day, cran-berry). Bound grammatical morphemes are inflexions (endings), e.g. -s for the Plural of nouns, -ed for the Past Indefinite of regular verbs, -ing for the Present Participle, -er for the Comparative degree of adjectives.

According to the role they play in constructing words, morphemes are subdivided into roots and affixes. The affixes are further subdivided ,according to their position, into prefixes, suffixes and infixes, and ,according to their function and meaning , into derivational and functional affixes .When a derivational and or functional affix is stripped from the word , what remains is called a stem. A stem expresses the lexical and the part of speech meaning., e.g. for the word hearty and its paradigm heart-hearts (pl.) the stem may be represented as heart-.The stem is the single morpheme. It contains only the root. So, it is a simple stem. Stems may be defined as the part of the word that remains unchanged throughout its paradigm. The stem of the paradigm hearty - heartier- (the) heartiest is hearty-. It is a free stem, but as it is it consists of a root morpheme and an affix, it is not simple but derived.. Thus a stem, containing one or more affixes is a derived stem. If after deducting the affix the remaining stem is not homonymous to a separate word of the same root, we call it a bound stem. A root may be also regarded as the ultimate constituent element which remains after the removal of all functional and derivational affixes and does not admit any further analysis. It is the common element of words within a word family. Thus, -heart- is the common root of the following series of words: heart, hearten, heartily, heartless, heartiness, sweetheart, heart-broken, whole-heartedly. To sum it up, the stem is the part of the word which remains unchanged throughout the paradigm of the word, e.g. the stem hop can be found in the words: hop, hops, hopped, hopping. The stem hippie can be found in the words: hippie, hippies, hippie's, hippies'. The stem job-hop can be found in the words : job-hop, job-hops, job-hopped, job-hopping.

So stems, the same as words, can be simple, derived, compound and compound-derived. Stems have not only the lexical meaning but also grammatical (part-of-speech) meaning, they can be noun stems (girl in the adjective girlish), adjective stems (girlish in the noun girlishness), verb stems (expel in the noun expellee) etc. They differ from words by the absence of inflexions in their structure, they can be used only in the structure of words. (For the difference between stem and root see : .. . . 1986,pp.77-81)

Affixes are always bound forms. The difference between suffixes and prefixes is not limited to their position, prefixes are fixed before and suffixes after a stem. It also concerns their function and meaning. A suffix is a derivational morpheme following the stem and forming a new derivative in a different part of speech or a different word class, e.g. -en,-y-less in hearten, hearty, heartless. Suffixes render the most general semantic component of the word's lexical meaning by marking the general class of phenomena to which the word belongs. A prefix is a derivational morpheme standing before the root and modifying the meaning ,e.g. hearten-dishearten. With the verbs and statives the a prefix serves to distinguish one part of speech from another., like in earth (n) - unearth(v), sleep(n) - asleep (stative).Some prefixes express the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb., e.g. stay(v)- outstay(sb vt.).With a few exceptions, prefixes modify the the stem for time (pre-,post-),place(in-,dis-), negation (un-,dis-). An infix is an affix placed within a word ,like - n- in stand the type is not productive.

In the second half of the twentieth century the English wordbuilding system was enriched by creating so called splinters which scientists include in the affixation stock of the Modern English wordbuilding system. Splinters are the result of clipping the end or the beginning of a word and producing a number of new words on the analogy with the primary word-group. For example, there are many words formed with the help of the splinter mini- (apocopy produced by clipping the word miniature), such as miniplane, minijet, minicycle, minicar, miniradio and many others. All of these words denote obects of smaller than normal dimensions.

On the analogy with mini- there appeared the splinter maxi- (apocopy produced by clipping the word maximum), such words as maxi-series, maxi-sculpture, maxi-taxi and many others appeared in the language.

When European economic community was organized quite a number of neologisms with the splinter Euro- (apocopy produced by clipping the word European) were coined, such as: Euratom Eurocard, Euromarket, Europlug, Eurotunnel and many others. These splinters are treated sometimes as prefixes in Modern English.

There are also splinters which are formed by means of apheresis, that is clipping the beginning of a word. The origin of such splinters can be variable, e.g. the splinter burger appeared in English as the result of clipping the German borrowing Hamburger where the morphological structure was the stem Hamburg and the suffix -er. However in English the beginning of the word Hamburger was associated with the English word ham, and the end of the word burger got the meaning a bun cut into two parts. On the analogy with the word hamburger quite a number of new words were coined, such as: baconburger, beefburger, cheeseburger, fishburger etc.

The splinter cade developed by clipping the beginning of the word cavalcade which is of Latin origin. In Latin the verb with the meaning to ride a horse is cabalicare and by means of the inflexion -ata the corresponding Participle is formed. So the element cade is a combination of the final letter of the stem and the inflexion. The splinter cade serves to form nouns with the meaning connected with the procession of vehicles denoted by the first component, e.g. aircade - a group of airplanes accompanying the plane of a VIP , autocade - a group of automobiles escorting the automobile of a VIP, musicade - an orchestra participating in a procession.

In the seventieths of the twentieth century there was a political scandal in the hotel Watergate where the Democratic Party of the USA had its pre-election headquarters. Republicans managed to install bugs there and when they were discovered there was a scandal and the ruling American government had to resign. The name Watergate acquired the meaning a political scandal, corruption. On the analogy with this word quite a number of other words were formed by using the splinter gate (apheresis of the word Watergate), such as: Irangate, Westlandgate, shuttlegate, milliongate etc. The splinter gate is added mainly to Proper names: names of people with whom the scandal is connected or a geographical name denoting the place where the scandal occurred.

The splinter mobile was formed by clipping the beginning of the word automobile and is used to denote special types of automobiles, such as: artmobile, bookmobile, snowmobile, tourmobile etc.

The splinter napper was formed by clipping the beginning of the word kidnapper and is used to denote different types of crimesters, such as : busnapper, babynapper, dognapper etc. From such nouns the corresponding verbs are formed by means of backformation, e.g. to busnap, to babynap, to dognap.

The splinter omat was formed by clipping the beginning of the word automat (a cafe in which meals are provided in slot-machines). The meaning self-service is used in such words as laundromat, cashomat etc.

Another splinter eteria with the meaning self-service was formed by clipping the beginning of the word cafeteria. By means of the splinter eteria the following words were formed: groceteria, booketeria, booteteria and many others.

The splinter quake is used to form new words with the meaning of shaking, agitation. This splinter was formed by clipping the beginning of the word earthquake. Ther following words were formed with the help of this splinter: Marsquake, Moonquake, youthquake etc.

The splinter rama(ama) is a clipping of the word panorama of Greek origin where pan means all and horama means view. In Modern English the meaning view was lost and the splinter rama is used in advertisements to denote objects of supreme quality, e.g. autorama means exhibition-sale of expensive cars, trouserama means sale of trousers of supreme quality etc.

The splinter scape is a clipping of the word landscape and it is used to form words denoting different types of landscapes, such as: moonscape, streetscape, townscape, seascape etc.

Another case of splinters is tel which is the result of clipping the beginning of the word hotel. It serves to form words denoting different types of hotels, such as: motel (motor-car hotel), boatel (boat hotel), floatel (a hotel on water, floating), airtel (airport hotel) etc.

The splinter theque is the result of clipping the beginning of the word apotheque of Greek origin which means in Greek a store house. In Russian words: , , the element corresponding to the English theque preserves the meaning of storing something which is expressed by the first component of the word. In English the splinter theque is used to denote a place for dancing, such as: discotheque, jazzotheque.

The splinter thon is the result of clipping the beginning of the word marathon. Marathon primarily was the name of a battle-field in Greece, forty miles from Athens, where there was a battle between the Greek and the Persian. When the Greek won a victory a Greek runner was sent to Athens to tell people about the victory. Later on the word Marathon was used to denote long-distance competitions in running. The splinter thon(athon) denotes something continuing for a long time, competition in endurance e.g. dancathon, telethon, speakathon, readathon, walkathon, moviethon, swimathon, talkathon, swearthon etc.

Splinters can be the result of clipping adjectives or substantivized adjectives. The splinter aholic (holic) was formed by clipping the beginning of the word alcoholic of Arabian origin where al denoted the, koh'l - powder for staining lids. The splinter (a)holic means infatuated by the object expressed by the stem of the word , e.g. bookaholic, computerholic, coffeeholic, cheesaholic, workaholic and many others.

The splinter genic formed by clipping the beginning of the word photogenic denotes the notion suitable for something denoted by the stem, e.g. allergenic, cardiogenic, mediagenic, telegenic etc.

As far as verbs are concerned it is not typical of them to be clipped that is why there is only one splinter to be used for forming new verbs in this way. It is the splinter cast formed by clipping the beginning of the verb broadcast. This splinter was used to form the verbs telecast and abroadcast.

Splinters can be called pseudomorphemes because they are neither roots nor affixes, they are more or less artificial. In English there are words which consist of two splinters, e.g. telethon, therefore it is more logical to call words with splinters in their structure compound-shortened words consisting of two clippings of words.

Splinters have only one function in English: they serve to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech, whereas prefixes and suffixes can also change the part-of-speech meaning , e.g. the prefix en- and its allomorph em can form verbs from noun and adjective stems (embody, enable, endanger), be- can form verbs from noun and adjective stems (becloud, benumb), post- and pre- can form adjectives from noun stems (pre-election campaign, post-war events). The main function of suffixes is to form one part of speech from another part of speech, e.g. -er, -ing, -ment form nouns from verbal stems (teacher, dancing, movement), -ness, -ity are used to form nouns from adjective stems (clannishnes, marginality).

According to the nature and the number of morphemes constituting a word there are different structural types of words in English: simple, derived, compound, compound-derived.

Simple words consist of one root morpheme and an inflexion (in many cases the inflexion is zero), e.g. seldom, chairs, longer, asked.

Derived words consist of one root morpheme, one or several affixes and an inlexion, e.g. deristricted, unemployed.

Compound words consist of two or more root morphemes and an inflexion, e.g. baby-moons, wait-and-see (policy).

Compound-derived words consist of two or more root morphemes, one or more affixes and an inflexion, e.g. middle-of-the-roaders, job-hopper.

Sometimes it is rather difficult to distinguish between simple and derived words, especially in the cases of phonetic borrowings from other languages and of native words with blocked (unique) root morphemes, e.g. perestroika, cranberry, absence etc.

As far as words with splinters are concerned it is difficult to distinguish between derived words and compound-shortened words. If a splinter is treated as an affix (or a semi-affix) the word can be called derived , e.g.-, telescreen, maxi-taxi , shuttlegate, cheeseburger. But if the splinter is treated as a lexical shortening of one of the stems , the word can be called compound-shortened word formed from a word combination where one of the components was shortened, e.g. busnapper was formed from bus kidnapper, minijet from miniature jet.

In the English language of the second half of the twentieth century there developed so called block compounds, that is compound words which have a uniting stress but a split spelling, such as chat show, pinguin suit etc. Such compound words can be easily mixed up with word-groups of the type stone wall, so called nominative binomials. Such linguistic units serve to denote a notion which is more specific than the notion expressed by the second component and consists of two nouns, the first of which is an attribute to the second one. If we compare a nominative binomial with a compound noun with the structure N+N we shall see that a nominative binomial has no unity of stress. The change of the order of its components will change its lexical meaning, e.g. vid kid is a kid who is a video fan while kid vid means a video-film for kids or else lamp oil means oil for lamps and oil lamp means a lamp which uses oil for burning.

( It has been universally recognized that Modern English nouns possess an attributive function in which they are regularly used to form numerous nominal phrases ,e.g. peace years, stone steps, government office. Such variable nominal phrases are semantically fully derivable from the meaning of two nouns and are based on the homogeneous attributive semantic relations unlike compound words. This system of nominal phrases exist side by side with the specific and numerous class of nominal compounds which as a rule carry an additional semantic component not found in phrases. See 2. Melenciuc D. English Lexicology .CE USM.Chishinau,2002 p.142-143)

Among language units we can also point out word combinations of different structural types of idiomatic and non-idiomatic character, such as the first fiddle, old salt and round table, high road. The vocabulary of a language is enriched not only by words but also by phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech, they exist as ready-made units. They are compiled in special dictionaries .The same as words phraseological units express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it. American and British lexicographers call such units idioms. The essential features of phraseological units are stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation. It is consequently assumed that unlike components of free word-groups which may vary according to the needs of communication, member-words of phraseological units are always reproduced as single unchangeable collocations. Thus, e.g. the constituent red in the free word-group red flower may be substituted for y any other adjective, denoting colour without essentially changing the denotational meaning of the word -group under discussion (a flower of certain colour). In the phraseological unit red tape (bureaucratic methods) no such substitution is possible, as a change of the adjective would involve a complete change in the meaning of the whole group. A blue tape would mean a tape of a certain colour. It follows that the phraseological unit red tape is semantically non-motivated, its meaning cannot be deduced from the meaning of its components and that it exists as a ready made linguistic unit which does not allow of any variability of its lexical components. Nonvariability of the phraseological unit is not confined to its lexical components. Grammatical structure of phraseological units is to a certain extent stable. Thus, the structural formula of the word-groups red flower and red tape is identical ,the noun flower may be used in the plural (red flowers) ,whereas no such change is possible in the phraseological unit red tape ,red tapes would then denote tapes of red colour but not `bureaucratic methods . Taking into the account mainly the degree of idiomaticy phraseological units may be classified into three big groups: phraseological fusions, praseological inities and phraseological collocations.

Thus, we can draw the conclusion that in Modern English the following language units can be mentioned: morphemes, splinters, words, nominative binomials, non-idiomatic and idiomatic word-combinations, sentences.

Seminar 1 . The Object of Lexicology. Language units

Bibliography: 1. .. . . 1986. ,pp.9-26, 27-31

2. Melenciuc D. English Lexicology .CE USM.Chisinau,2002., pp. 4-6, pp. 77-107

Answer the questions :

1.What is the object of Lexicology?

2.What is the theoretical and practical value of Lexicology?

3.What is the connection of Lexicology with Phonetics ?

4.What is the connection of Lexicology with Stylistics ?

5.What is the connection of Lexicology with Grammar ?

6.What are language units?

7.What is a word?

8.What are the two large groups of morphemes ?

9.Are the following lexical morphemes free or bound? a) the stem of simple words ;b)affixes: prefixes (dis-), suffixes (-ish) and also blocked (unique) root morphemes .

10.Are the following grammatical morphemes free or bound? a) articles, conjunctions and prepositions ( the, with, and);

b) inflexions (endings), e.g. -s for the Plural of nouns, -ed for the Past Indefinite of regular verbs, -ing for the Present Participle, -er for the Comparative degree of adjectives.

11. How are the morphemes subdivided according to the role they play in constructing words ?

12. How are the morphemes subdivided according to their function and meaning ?

13. What meanings does a stem express?

14. What is a free stem?

15.What is a derived stem ?

16.What is a root?

17.What are affixes?

18.What is the function of a suffix?

19.What is the function of a prefix?

20.What structural types of words do you know?

21 Why is it difficult to classify splinters ?

22.What is a block compound ?

23.What is a nominative binomial ?

24.What are phraseological units?

25. What language units can be distinguished in the modern English Language?

II. Choose the words corresponding to the following definitions from the list given bellow:

Lexicology ,morpheme , root , unit , allomorph, phraseological units, vocabulary, word ,word-group, general lexicology , language universals ,historical lexicology ,descriptive lexicology , suffix , prefix, nominative binomials, splinters , simple words , derived words, compound words ,compound-derived words, block compounds.

The term is used to denote the system of words and word-groups that the language possesses.

The term denotes the main lexical unit of a language resulting from the association of a group of sounds with a meaning.

The term 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.

The general study of words and vocabulary, irrespective of the specific features of any particular language , is known as

Linguistic phenomena and properties common to all languages are generally referred to as

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

A branch of lexicology that studies the vocabulary at a definite stage of its development

A derivational morpheme following the stem and forming a new derivative in a different part of speech or a different word class .It renders the most general semantic component of the word's lexical meaning by marking the general class of phenomena to which the word belongs.

A derivational morpheme standing before the root and modifying the meaning of a word.

Such linguistic units serve to denote a notion which is more specific than the notion expressed by the second component and consists of two nouns, the first of which is an attribute to the second one.

The result of clipping the end or the beginning of a word and producing a number of new words on the analogy with the primary word-group

The words consisting of one root morpheme and an inflexion (in many cases the inflexion is zero) are referred to as

The words consisting of one root morpheme, one or several affixes and an inflexion

are referred to as

The words consisting of two or more root morphemes and an inflexion are referred to as

The words consisting of two or more root morphemes, one or more affixes and an inflexion are referred to as

The compound words which have a uniting stress but a split spelling.

One or more elements into which a whole may be divided or analyzed and which possesses the basic properties of this whole.

The smallest meaningful language unit , occurring in speech only as constituent parts of words .

A class of a word's variants, which is either phonologically or morphologically conditioned

The ultimate constituent element which remains after the removal of all functional and derivational affixes and does not admit any further analysis

Word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech, they exist as ready-made units. They express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it. Their essential features are stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation.

The part of linguistics which deals with the vocabulary of the language and characteristic features of words and word-groups.

III. Analyze the following lexical units according to their structure. Point out the function of morphemes. Speak about bound morphemes and free morphemes. Point out allomorphs in analyzed words:

accompany unsystematic forget-me-not

computerise expressionless reservation

de-restrict superprivileged moisture

lengthen clannish pleasure

beautify workaholic reconstruction

beflower inwardly counterculture

specialise moneywise three-cornered

round table Green Berets to sandwich in

IV. Speak on the following topics :

1.The object of Lexicology

2.The theoretical and practical value of Lexicology.

3.The connection of Lexicology with Phonetics.

4.The connection of Lexicology with Stylistics.

5.The connection of Lexicology with Grammar.

6.The types of Language units.

7.The smallest language unit.

8.The function of a root morpheme.

9.The main function of suffixes.

10.The main function of prefixes.

11.Sinters and their formation in English.

12.the difference between affixes and splinters.

13.Structural types of words in English.

14.The stem of a word and the difference between a simple word, a stem and a root.

15.The difference between a block compound and a nominal binomial.

16.The difference between a word and a phraseological unit.

17.The similarity between a word and a phraseological unit.

Wordbuilding

Word-building is one of the main ways of enriching vocabulary. There are four main ways of word-building in modern English: affixation, composition, conversion, abbreviation. There are also secondary ways of word-building: sound interchange, stress interchange, sound imitation, blends, back formation.

Affixation

Affixation is one of the most productive ways of word-building throughout the history of English. It consists in adding an affix to the stem of a definite part of speech. Affixation is divided into suffixation and prefixation.

Suffixation.

The main function of suffixes in Modern English is to form one part of speech from another, the secondary function is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech. ( e.g. educate is a verb, educatee is a noun, and music is a noun, musicdom is also a noun) .

There are different classifications of suffixes :

1. Part-of-speech classification. Suffixes which can form different parts of speech are given here :

a) noun-forming suffixes, such as : -er (criticizer), -dom (officialdom), -ism (ageism),

b) adjective-forming suffixes, such as : -able (breathable), less (symptomless), -ous (prestigious),

c) verb-forming suffixes, such as -ize (computerize) , -ify (micrify),

d) adverb-forming suffixes , such as : -ly (singly), -ward (tableward),

e) numeral-forming suffixes, such as -teen (sixteen), -ty (seventy).

2. Semantic classification . Suffixes changing the lexical meaning of the stem can be subdivided into groups, e.g. noun-forming suffixes can denote:

a) the agent of the action, e.g. -er (experimenter), -ist (taxist), -ent (student),

b) nationality, e.g. -ian (Russian), -ese (Japanese), -ish (English),

c) collectivity, e.g. -dom (moviedom), -ry (peasantry, -ship (readership), -ati ( literati),

d) diminutiveness, e.g. -ie (horsie), -let (booklet), -ling (gooseling), -ette (kitchenette),

e) quality, e.g. -ness (copelessness), -ity (answerability).

3. Lexico-grammatical character of the stem. Suffixes which can be added to certain groups of stems are subdivided into:

a) suffixes added to verbal stems, such as : -er (commuter), -ing (suffering), - able (flyable), -ment (involvement), -ation (computerization),

b) suffixes added to noun stems, such as : -less (smogless), ful (roomful), -ism (adventurism), -ster (pollster), -nik (filmnik), -ish (childish),

c) suffixes added to adjective stems, such as : -en (weaken), -ly (pinkly), -ish (longish), -ness (clannishness).

4. Origin of suffixes. Here we can point out the following groups:

a) native (Germanic), such as -er,-ful, -less, -ly.

b) Romanic, such as : -tion, -ment, -able, -eer.

c) Greek, such as : -ist, -ism, -ize.

d) Russian, such as -nik.

5. Productivity. Here we can point out the following groups:

a) productive, such as : -er, -ize, --ly, -ness.

b) semi-productive, such as : -eer, -ette, -ward.

c) non-productive , such as : -ard (drunkard), -th (length).

Suffixes can be polysemantic, such as : -er can form nouns with the following meanings : agent,doer of the action expressed by the stem (speaker), profession, occupation (teacher), a device, a tool (transmitter). While speaking about suffixes we should also mention compound suffixes which are added to the stem at the same time, such as -ably, -ibly, (terribly, reasonably), -ation (adaptation from adapt).

There are also disputable cases whether we have a suffix or a root morpheme in the structure of a word, in such cases we call such morphemes semi-suffixes, and words with such suffixes can be classified either as derived words or as compound words, e.g. -gate (Irangate), -burger (cheeseburger), -aholic (workaholic) etc.

Prefixation

Prefixation is the formation of words by means of adding a prefix to the stem. In English it is characteristic for forming verbs. Prefixes are more independent than suffixes. Prefixes can be classified according to the nature of words in which they are used : prefixes used in notional words and prefixes used in functional words. Prefixes used in notional words are proper prefixes which are bound morphemes, e.g. un- (unhappy). Prefixes used in functional words are semi-bound morphemes because they are met in the language as words, e.g. over- (overhead) ( cf over the table ).

The main function of prefixes in English is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech. But the recent research showed that about twenty-five prefixes in Modern English form one part of speech from another (bebutton, interfamily, postcollege etc).


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