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.

90,5 K

. ,

, , , , .

b) units of the type to be tired . Some of these units remind the Passive Voice in their structure but they have different prepositons with them, while in the Passive Voice we can have only prepositions by or with, e.g. to be tired of, to be interested in, to be surprised at etc. There are also units in this type which remind free word-groups of the type to be young, e.g. to be akin to, to be aware of etc. The difference between them is that the adjective young can be used as an attribute and as a predicative in a sentence, while the nominal component in such units can act only as a predicative. In these units the verb is the grammar centre and the second component is the semantic centre;

c) prepositional- nominal phraseological units. These units are equivalents of unchangeable words: prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs , that is why they have no grammar centre, their semantic centre is the nominal part, e.g. on the doorstep (quite near), on the nose (exactly), in the course of, on the stroke of, in time, on the point of etc. In the course of time such units can become words, e.g. tomorrow, instead etc.

Among two-top units A.I. Smirnitsky points out the following structural types:

a) attributive-nominal such as: a month of Sundays, grey matter, a millstone round one's neck and many others. Units of this type are noun equivalents and can be partly or perfectly idiomatic. In partly idiomatic units (phrasisms) sometimes the first component is idiomatic, e.g. high road, in other cases the second component is idiomatic, e.g. first night. In many cases both components are idiomatic, e.g. red tape, blind alley, bed of nail, shot in the arm and many others.

b) verb-nominal phraseological units, e.g. to read between the lines , to speak BBC, to sweep under the carpet etc. The grammar centre of such units is the verb, the semantic centre in many cases is the nominal component, e.g. to fall in love. In some units the verb is both the grammar and the semantic centre, e.g. not to know the ropes. These units can be perfectly idiomatic as well, e.g. to burn one's boats,to vote with one's feet, to take to the cleaners' etc.

Very close to such units are word-groups of the type to have a glance, to have a smoke. These units are not idiomatic and are treated in grammar as a special syntactical combination, a kind of aspect.

c) phraseological repetitions, such as : now or never, part and parcel , country and western etc. Such units can be built on antonyms, e.g. ups and downs , back and forth; often they are formed by means of alliteration, e.g cakes and ale, as busy as a bee. Components in repetitions are joined by means of conjunctions. These units are equivalents of adverbs or adjectives and have no grammar centre. They can also be partly or perfectly idiomatic, e.g. cool as a cucumber (partly), bread and butter (perfectly).

Phraseological units the same as compound words can have more than two tops (stems in compound words), e.g. to take a back seat, a peg to hang a thing on, lock, stock and barrel, to be a shaddow of one's own self, at one's own sweet will.

Syntactical classification of phraseological units

Phraseological units can be clasified as parts of speech. This classification was suggested by I.V. Arnold. Here we have the following groups:

a) noun phraseologisms denoting an object, a person, a living being, e.g. bullet train, latchkey child, redbrick university, Green Berets,

b) verb phraseologisms denoting an action, a state, a feeling, e.g. to break the log-jam, to get on somebody's coattails, to be on the beam, to nose out , to make headlines,

c) adjective phraseologisms denoting a quality, e.g. loose as a goose, dull as lead ,

d) adverb phraseological units, such as : with a bump, in the soup, like a dream , like a dog with two tails,

e) preposition phraseological units, e.g. in the course of, on the stroke of ,

f) interjection phraseological units, e.g. Catch me!, Well, I never! etc.

In I.V.Arnold's classification there are also sentence equivalents, proverbs, sayings and quatations, e.g. The sky is the limit, What makes him tick, I am easy. Proverbs are usually metaphorical, e.g. Too many cooks spoil the broth, while sayings are as a rule non-metaphorical, e.g. Where there is a will there is a way.

Seminar 6. Phraseological units

Bibliography: .. . . 1986. ,pp.77-101

1. Answer the questions:

II.Analyze the following phraseological units according to their meaning, structure, syntactical function and the way they are formed:

When pigs fly /never/. To leap into marriage.

To be a whipping boy. To be behind scenes.

Girl Friday /a man's assistant/. Fire in the belly.

Man Friday /a true friend/. A dear John.

To be on the beam. Game, set and match.

Country and western. To jump out of one's skin.

As smart as paint. It's my cup of tea.

Robin Crusoe and Friday / seats at a theatre divided by a passage/. Fortune favours fools. To be in the dog house.

The green power. Green Berets.

Culture vulture. To get off one's back.

To make headlines. On the nose.

With a bump. To have a short fuse.

To vote with one's feet. Nuts and bolts.

Blackboard jungle. The sky is the limit.

Cash and carry. To nose out.

To sandwich in. Berlin wall.

A close mouth catches no flies. To speak BBB.

To sound like a computer. As dull as lead.

Last but not least. On the stroke of.

III. Speak on the topics:

1.Ways of forming phraseological units.

2.Semantic classification of phraseological units.

3.Structural classification of phraseological units.

4.Syntactical classification of phraseological units.

Seminar 7. Phraseological units

Students choose ten phraseological units from Koonin's dictionary of phraseological units and a unilingual dictionary of idioms and analyze them in the written form. During the seminar they analyze their phrasological units chosen from dictionaries at the blackboard.

Borrowing words from other languages is characteristic of English throughout its history More than two thirds of the English vocabulary are borrowings. Mostly they are words of Romanic origin (Latin, French, Italian, Spanish). Borrowed words are different from native ones by their phonetic structure, by their morphological structure and also by their grammatical forms. It is also characterisitic of borrowings to be non-motivated semantically.

English history is very rich in different types of contacts with other countries, that is why it is very rich in borrowings. The Roman invasion, the adoption of Cristianity, Scandinavian and Norman conquests of the British Isles, the development of British colonialism and trade and cultural relations served to increase immensely the English vocabulary. The majority of these borrowings are fully assimilated in English in their pronunciation, grammar, spelling and can be hardly distinguished from native words.

English continues to take in foreign words , but now the quantity of borrowings is not so abundunt as it was before. All the more so, English now has become a giving language, it has become Lingva franca of the twentieth century.

Borrowings can be classified according to different criteria:

a) according to the aspect which is borrowed,

b) according to the degree of assimilation,

c) according to the language from which the word was borrowed.

(In this classification only the main languages from which words were borrowed into English are described, such as Latin, French, Italian. Spanish, German and Russian.)

There are the following groups: phonetic borrowings, translation loans, semantic borrowings, morphemic borrowings.

Phonetic borrowings are most characteristic in all languages, they are called loan words proper. Words are borrowed with their spelling, pronunciation and meaning. Then they undergo assimilation, each sound in the borrowed word is substituted by the corresponding sound of the borrowing language. In some cases the spelling is changed. The structure of the word can also be changed. The position of the stress is very often influenced by the phonetic system of the borrowing language. The paradigm of the word, and sometimes the meaning of the borrowed word are also changed. Such words as: labour, travel, table, chair, people are phonetic borrowings from French; apparatchik, nomenklatura, sputnik are phonetic borrowings from Russian; bank, soprano, duet are phonetic borrowings from Italian etc.

Translation loans are word-for-word (or morpheme-for-morpheme ) translations of some foreign words or expressions. In such cases the notion is borrowed from a foreign language but it is expressed by native lexical units, to take the bull by the horns (Latin), fair sex ( French), living space (German) etc. Some translation loans appeared in English from Latin already in the Old English period, e.g. Sunday (solis dies). There are translation loans from the languages of Indians, such as: pipe of peace, pale-faced, from German masterpiece, homesickness, superman.

Semantic borrowings are such units when a new meaning of the unit existing in the language is borrowed. It can happen when we have two relative languages which have common words with different meanings, e.g. there are semantic borrowings between Scandinavian and English, such as the meaning to live for the word to dwell' which in Old English had the meaning to wander. Or else the meaning , for the word gift which in Old English had the meaning .

Semantic borrowing can appear when an English word was borrowed into some other language, developed there a new meaning and this new meaning was borrowed back into English, e.g. brigade was borrowed into Russian and formed the meaning a working collective,. This meaning was borrowed back into English as a Russian borrowing. The same is true of the English word pioneer.

Morphemic borrowings are borrowings of affixes which occur in the language when many words with identical affixes are borrowed from one language into another, so that the morphemic structure of borrowed words becomes familiar to the people speaking the borrowing language, e.g. we can find a lot of Romanic affixes in the English word-building system, that is why there are a lot of words - hybrids in English where different morphemes have different origin, e.g. goddess, beautiful etc.

The degree of assimilation of borrowings depends on the following factors: a) from what group of languages the word was borrowed, if the word belongs to the same group of languages to which the borrowing language belongs it is assimilated easier, b) in what way the word is borrowed: orally or in the written form, words borrowed orally are assimilated quicker, c) how often the borrowing is used in the language, the greater the frequency of its usage, the quicker it is assimilated, d) how long the word lives in the language, the longer it lives, the more assimilated it is.

Accordingly borrowings are subdivided into: completely assimilated, partly assimilated and non-assimilated (barbarisms).

Completely assimilated borrowings are not felt as foreign words in the language, cf the French word sport and the native word start. Completely assimilated verbs belong to regular verbs, e.g. correct -corrected. Completely assimilated nouns form their plural by means of s-inflexion, e.g. gate- gates. In completely assimilated French words the stress has been shifted from the last syllable to the last but one.

Semantic assimilation of borrowed words depends on the words existing in the borrowing language, as a rule, a borrowed word does not bring all its meanings into the borrowing language, if it is polysemantic, e.g. the Russian borrowing sputnik is used in English only in one of its meanings.

Partly assimilated borrowings are subdivided into the following groups: a) borrowings non-assimilated semantically, because they denote objects and notions peculiar to the country from the language of which they were borrowed, e.g. sari, sombrero, taiga, kvass etc.

b) borrowings non-assimilated grammatically, e.g. nouns borrowed from Latin and Greek retain their plural forms (bacillus - bacilli, phenomenon - phenomena, datum -data, genius - genii etc.

c) borrowings non-assimilated phonetically. Here belong words with the initial sounds /v/ and /z/, e.g. voice, zero. In native words these voiced consonants are used only in the intervocal position as allophones of sounds /f/ and /s/ ( loss - lose, life - live ). Some Scandinavian borrowings have consonants and combinations of consonants which were not palatalized, e.g. /sk/ in the words: sky, skate, ski etc (in native words we have the palatalized sounds denoted by the digraph sh, e.g. shirt); sounds /k/ and /g/ before front vowels are not palatalized e.g. girl, get, give, kid, kill, kettle. In native words we have palatalization , e.g. German, child.

Some French borrowings have retained their stress on the last syllable, e.g. police, cartoon. Some French borrowings retain special combinations of sounds, e.g. /a:3/ in the words : camouflage, bourgeois, some of them retain the combination of sounds /wa:/ in the words: memoir, boulevard.

d) borrowings can be partly assimilated graphically, e.g. in Greak borrowings y can be spelled in the middle of the word (symbol, synonym), ph denotes the sound /f/ (phoneme, morpheme), ch denotes the sound /k/(chemistry, chaos),ps denotes the sound /s/ (psychology).

Latin borrowings retain their polisyllabic structure, have double consonants, as a rule, the final consonant of the prefix is assimilated with the initial consonant of the stem, (accompany, affirmative).

French borrowings which came into English after 1650 retain their spelling, e.g. consonants p, t, s are not pronounced at the end of the word (buffet, coup, debris), Specifically French combination of letters eau /ou/ can be found in the borrowings : beau, chateau, troussaeu. Some of digraphs retain their French pronunciation: `ch' is pronounced as /sh/, e.g. chic, parachute, `qu' is pronounced as /k/ e.g. bouquet, ou is pronounced as /u:/, e.g. rouge; some letters retain their French pronunciation, e.g. i is pronounced as /i:/, e,g, chic, machine; g is pronounced as /3/, e.g. rouge.

Modern German borrowings also have some peculiarities in their spelling: common nouns are spelled with a capital letter e.g. Autobahn, Lebensraum; some vowels and digraphs retain their German pronunciation, e.g. a is pronounced as /a:/ (Dictat), u is pronounced as /u:/ (Kuchen), au is pronounced as /au/ (Hausfrau), ei is pronounced as /ai/ (Reich); some consonants are also pronounced in the German way, e.g. s before a vowel is pronounced as /z/ (Sitskrieg), v is pronounced as /f/ (Volkswagen), w is pronounced as /v/ , ch is pronounced as /h/ (Kuchen).

Non-assimilated borrowings (barbarisms) are borrowings which are used by Englishmen rather seldom and are non-assimilated, e.g. addio (Italian), tete-a-tete (French), dolce vita (Italian), duende (Spanish), an homme a femme (French), gonzo (Italian) etc.

Among words of Romanic origin borrowed from Latin during the period when the British Isles were a part of the Roman Empire, there are such words as: street, port, wall etc. Many Latin and Greek words came into English during the Adoption of Christianity in the 6-th century. At this time the Latin alphabet was borrowed which ousted the Runic alphabet. These borrowings are usually called classical borrowings. Here belong Latin words: alter, cross, dean, and Greek words: church, angel, devil, anthem.

Latin and Greek borrowings appeared in English during the Middle English period due to the Great Revival of Learning. These are mostly scientific words because Latin was the language of science at the time. These words were not used as frequently as the words of the Old English period, therefore some of them were partly assimilated grammatically, e.g. formula - formulae. Here also belong such words as: memorandum, minimum, maximum, veto etc.

Classical borrowings continue to appear in Modern English as well. Mostly they are words formed with the help of Latin and Greek morphemes. There are quite a lot of them in medicine (appendicitis, aspirin), in chemistry (acid, valency, alkali), in technique (engine, antenna, biplane, airdrome), in politics (socialism, militarism), names of sciences (zoology, physics) . In philology most of terms are of Greek origin (homonym, archaism, lexicography).

French borrowings

The influence of French on the English spelling.

The largest group of borrowings are French borrowings. Most of them came into English during the Norman conquest. French influenced not only the vocabulary of English but also its spelling, because documents were written by French scribes as the local population was mainly illiterate, and the ruling class was French. Runic letters remaining in English after the Latin alphabet was borrowed were substituted by Latin letters and combinations of letters, e.g. v was introduced for the voiced consonant /v/ instead of f in the intervocal position /lufian - love/, the digraph ch was introduced to denote the sound /ch/ instead of the letter c / chest/ before front vowels where it had been palatalized, the digraph sh was introduced instead of the combination sc to denote the sound /sh/ /ship/, the digraph th was introduced instead of the Runic letters 0 and /this, thing/, the letter y was introduced instead of the Runic letter 3 to denote the sound /j/ /yet/, the digraph qu substituted the combination cw to denote the combination of sounds /kw/ /queen/, the digraph ou was introduced to denote the sound /u:/ /house/ (The sound /u:/ was later on diphthongized and is pronounced /au/ in native words and fully assimilated borrowings). As it was difficult for French scribes to copy English texts they substituted the letter u before v, m, n and the digraph th by the letter o to escape the combination of many vertical lines /sunu - son, luvu - love/.

Borrowing of French words.

There are the following semantic groups of French borrowings:

a) words relating to government : administer, empire, state, government;

b) words relating to military affairs: army, war, banner, soldier, battle;

c) words relating to jury: advocate, petition, inquest, sentence, barrister;

d) words relating to fashion: luxury, coat, collar, lace, pleat, embroidery;

e) words relating to jewelry: topaz, emerald, ruby, pearl ;

f) words relating to food and cooking: lunch, dinner, appetite, to roast, to stew.

Words were borrowed from French into English after 1650, mainly through French literature, but they were not as numerous and many of them are not completely assimilated. There are the following semantic groups of these borrowings:

a) words relating to literature and music: belle-lettres, conservatorie, brochure, nuance, piruette, vaudeville;

b) words relating to military affairs: corps, echelon, fuselage, manouvre;

c) words relating to buildings and furniture: entresol, chateau, bureau;

d) words relating to food and cooking: ragout, cuisine.

Italian borrowings.

Cultural and trade relations between Italy and England brought many Italian words into English. The earliest Italian borrowing came into English in the 14-th century, it was the word bank /from the Italian banko - bench/. Italian money-lenders and money-changers sat in the streets on benches. When they suffered losses they turned over their benches, it was called banco rotta from which the English word bankrupt originated. In the 17-th century some geological terms were borrowed : volcano, granite, bronze, lava. At the same time some political terms were borrowed: manifesto, bulletin.

But mostly Italian is famous by its influence in music and in all Indo-European languages musical terms were borrowed from Italian : alto, baritone, basso, tenor, falsetto, solo, duet, trio, quartet, quintet, opera, operette, libretto, piano, violin.

Among the 20-th century Italian borrowings we can mention : gazette, incognitto, autostrada, fiasco, fascist, diletante, grotesque, graffitto etc.

Spanish borrowings.

Spanish borrowings came into English mainly through its American variant. There are the following semantic groups of them:

a) trade terms: cargo, embargo;

b) names of dances and musical instruments: tango, rumba, habanera, guitar;

c) names of vegetables and fruit: tomato, potato, tobbaco, cocoa, banana, ananas, apricot etc.

English belongs to the Germanic group of languages and there are borrowings from Scandinavian, German and Holland languages, though their number is much less than borrowings from Romanic languages.

Scandinavian borrowings.

By the end of the Old English period English underwent a strong influence of Scandinavian due to the Scandinavian conquest of the British Isles. Scandinavians belonged to the same group of peoples as Englishmen and their languages had much in common. As the result of this conquest there are about 700 borrowings from Scandinavian into English.

Scandinavians and Englishmen had the same way of life,their cultural level was the same, they had much in common in their literature therefore there were many words in these languages which were almost identical, e.g.

ON OE Modern E

syster sweoster sister

fiscr fisc fish

felagi felawe fellow

However there were also many words in the two languages which were different, and some of them were borrowed into English , such nouns as: bull, cake, egg, kid, knife, skirt, window etc, such adjectives as: flat, ill, happy, low, odd, ugly, wrong, such verbs as : call, die, guess, get, give, scream and many others.

Even some pronouns and connective words were borrowed which happens very seldom, such as : same, both, till, fro, though, and pronominal forms with th: they, them, their.

Scandinavian influenced the development of phrasal verbs which did not exist in Old English, at the same time some prefixed verbs came out of usage, e.g. ofniman, beniman. Phrasal verbs are now highly productive in English /take off, give in etc/.

German borrowings.

There are some 800 words borrowed from German into English. Some of them have classical roots, e.g. in some geological terms, such as: cobalt, bismuth, zink, quarts, gneiss, wolfram. There were also words denoting objects used in everyday life which were borrowed from German: iceberg, lobby, rucksack, Kindergarten etc.

In the period of the Second World War the following words were borrowed: Volkssturm, Luftwaffe, SS-man, Bundeswehr, gestapo, gas chamber and many others. After the Second World War the following words were borrowed: Berufsverbot, Volkswagen etc.

Holland borrowings.

Holland and England have constant interrelations for many centuries and more than 2000 Holland borrowings were borrowed into English. Most of them are nautical terms and were mainly borrowed in the 14-th century, such as: freight, skipper, pump, keel, dock, reef, deck, leak and many others.

Besides two main groups of borrowings (Romanic and Germanic) there are also borrowings from a lot of other languages. We shall speak about Russian borrowings, borrowings from the language which belongs to Slavoninc languages.

Russian borrowings.

There were constant contacts between England and Russia and they borrowed words from one language into the other. Among early Russian borrowings there are mainly words connected with trade relations, such as: rouble, copeck, pood, sterlet, vodka, sable, and also words relating to nature, such as: taiga, tundra, steppe etc.

There is also a large group of Russian borrowings which came into English through Rushian literature of the 19-th century, such as : Narodnik, moujik, duma, zemstvo. volost, ukase etc, and also words which were formed in Russian with Latin roots, such as: nihilist, intelligenzia, Decembrist etc.

After the Great October Revolution many new words appeared in Russian connected with the new political system, new culture, and many of them were borrowed into English, such as: collectivization. udarnik, Komsomol etc and also translation loans, such as: shock worker, collective farm, five-year plan etc.

One more group of Russian borrowings is connected with perestroika, such as: glasnost, nomenklatura, apparatchik etc.

Sometimes a word is borrowed twice from the same language. As the result, we have two different words with different spellings and meanings but historically they come back to one and the same word. Such words are called etymological doublets. In English there are some groups of them:

Latino-French doublets.

Latin English from Latin English from French

uncia inch ounce

moneta mint money

camera camera chamber

Franco-French doublets

doublets borrowed from different dialects of French.

Norman Paris

canal channel

captain chieftain

catch chaise

Scandinavian-English doublets

Scandinavian English

skirt shirt

scabby shabby

There are also etymological doublets which were borrowed from the same language during different historical periods, such as French doublets: gentil - , , etymological doublets are: gentle - , and genteel - . From the French word gallant etymological doublets are : `gallant - and ga'llant - , .

Sometimes etymological doublets are the result of borrowing different grammatical forms of the same word, e.g. the Comparative degree of Latin super was superior which was borrowed into English with the meaning high in some quality or rank. The Superlative degree (Latin supremus)in English supreme with the meaning outstanding, prominent. So superior and supreme are etymological doublets.

Seminar 8. Borrowings

Classification of borrowings according to the language from which they were borrowed:

Latin borrowings.

French borrowings.

Italian borrowings.

Scandinavian borrowings.

German borrowings.

Russian borrowings.

Classification of borrowings according to the borrowed aspect: phonetic borrowings, semantic borrowings, translation loans, morphemeic borrowings, hybrids.

Classification of borrowings according to the degree of assimilation: fully assimilated borrowings, partly assimilated borrowings, barbarisms. Borrowings partly assimilated semantically, grammatically, phonetically and graphically.

Analyze the following borrowings:

school represent sky-blue

degree rhythm immobility

chandelier the Zoo vase

mot /mou/ hybrid bouffant

illuminate keenly communicative

possessiveness to reproach command

moustache gifted boutique

skipper cache-pot well-scrubbed

nouveau riche emphatic mysteriously

dactyl Nicholas group

to possess chenile psychological

garage guarantee contempt

trait/trei/ triumph stomach

sympathy cynical Philipp

schoolboy Christianity paralyzed

system hotel cyclic

diphtheria kerchief dark-skinned.


The branch of lexicology which deals with the meaning is called semasiology.

Every word has two aspects: the outer aspect (its sound form) and the inner aspect (its meaning) . Sound and meaning do not always constitute a constant unit even in the same language. E.g. the word temple may denote a part of a human head and a large church In such cases we have homonyms. One and the same word in different syntactical relations can develop different meanings, e.g. the verb treat in sentences:

a) He treated my words as a joke.

b) The book treats of poetry.

c) They treated me to sweets.

d) He treats his son cruelly.

In all these sentences the verb treat has different meanings and we can speak about polysemy.

On the other hand, one and the same meaning can be expressed by different sound forms, e.g. pilot , and airman, horror and terror. In such cases we have synonyms.

Both the meaning and the sound can develop in the course of time independently. E.g. the Old English /luvian/ is pronounced /l^v / in Modern English. On the other hand, board primariliy means a piece of wood sawn thin It has developed the meanings: a table, a board of a ship, a stage, a council etc.

The lexical meaning of a word is the realization of a notion by means of a definite language system. A word is a language unit, while a notion is a unit of thinking. A notion cannot exict without a word expressing it in the language, but there are words which do not express any notion but have a lexical meaning. Interjections express emotions but not notions, but they have lexical meanings, e.g. Alas! /disappointment/, Oh,my buttons! /surprise/ etc. There are also words which express both, notions and emotions, e.g. girlie, a pig /when used metaphorically/.

The term notion was introduced into lexicology from logics. A notion denotes the reflection in the mind of real objects and phenomena in their relations. Notions, as a rule, are international, especially with the nations of the same cultural level. While meanings can be nationally limited. Grouping of meanings in the semantic structure of a word is determined by the whole system of every language. E.g. the English verb go and its Russian equivalent have some meanings which coincide: to move from place to place, to extend /the road goes to London/, to work /Is your watch going?/. On the other hand, they have different meanings: in Russian we say : , in English we use the verb come in this case. In English we use the verb go in the combinations: to go by bus, to go by train etc. In Russian in these cases we use the verb .

The number of meanings does not correspond to the number of words, neither does the number of notions. Their distribution in relation to words is peculiar in every language. The Russian has two words for the English man: and . In English, however, man cannot be applied to a female person. We say in Russian: . In English we use the word person/ She is a good person/

Development of lexical meanings in any language is influenced by the whole network of ties and relations between words and other aspects of the language.

The word polysemy means plurality of meanings it exists only in the language, not in speech. A word which has more than one meaning is called polysemantic.

Different meanings of a polysemantic word may come together due to the proximity of notions which they express. E.g. the word blanket has the following meanings: a woolen covering used on beds, a covering for keeping a horse warm, a covering of any kind /a blanket of snow/, covering all or most cases /used attributively/, e.g. we can say a blanket insurance policy.

There are some words in the language which are monosemantic, such as most terms, /synonym, molecule, bronchites/, some pronouns /this, my, both/, numerals.

There are two processes of the semantic development of a word: radiation and concatination. In cases of radiation the primary meaning stands in the centre and the secondary meanings proceed out of it like rays. Each secondary meaning can be traced to the primmary meaning. E.g. in the word face the primary meaning denotes the front part of the human head Connected with the front position the meanings: the front part of a watch, the front part of a building, the front part of a playing card were formed. Connected with the word face itself the meanings : expression of the face, outward appearance are formed.

In cases of concatination secondary meanings of a word develop like a chain. In such cases it is difficult to trace some meanings to the primary one. E.g. in the word crust the primary meaning hard outer part of bread developed a secondary meaning hard part of anything /a pie, a cake/, then the meaning harder layer over soft snow was developed, then a sullen gloomy person, then impudence were developed. Here the last meanings have nothing to do with the primary ones. In such cases homonyms appear in the language. It is called the split of polysemy.

In most cases in the semantic development of a word both ways of semantic development are combined.

Homonyms are words different in meaning but identical in sound or spelling, or both in sound and spelling.

Homonyms can appear in the language not only as the result of the split of polysemy, but also as the result of levelling of grammar inflexions, when different parts of speech become identical in their outer aspect, e.g. care from caru and care from carian. They can be also formed by means of conversion, e.g. to slim from slim, to water from water. They can be formed with the help of the same suffix from the same stem, e.g. reader/ a person who reads and a book for reading/.

Homonyms can also appear in the language accidentally, when two words coincide in their development, e.g. two native words can coincide in their outer aspects: to bear from beran/to carry/ and bear from bera/an animal/. A native word and a borrowing can coincide in their outer aspects, e.g. fair from Latin feria and fair from native fager /blond/. Two borrowings can coincide e.g. base from the French base /Latin basis/ and base /low/ from the Latin bas /Italian basso/.

Homonyms can develop through shortening of different words, e.g. cab from cabriolet, cabbage, cabin.

Classifications of homonyms

Walter Skeat classified homonyms according to their spelling and sound forms and he pointed out three groups: perfect homonyms that is words identical in sound and spelling, such as : school - and ; homographs, that is words with the same spelling but pronounced differently, e.g. bow -/bau/ - and /bou/ - ; homophones that is words pronounced identically but spelled differently, e.g. night - and knight - .

Another classification was suggested by A.I Smirnitsky. He added to Skeat's classification one more criterion: grammatical meaning. He subdivided the group of perfect homonyms in Skeat's classification into two types of homonyms: perfect which are identical in their spelling, pronunciation and their grammar form, such as :spring in the meanings: the season of the year, a leap, a source, and homoforms which coincide in their spelling and pronunciation but have different grammatical meaning, e.g. reading - Present Participle, Gerund, Verbal noun., to lobby - lobby .

A more detailed classification was given by I.V. Arnold. She classified only perfect homonyms and suggested four criteria of their classification: lexical meaning, grammatical meaning, basic forms and paradigms.

According to these criteria I.V. Arnold pointed out the following groups: a) homonyms identical in their grammatical meanings, basic forms and paradigms and different in their lexical meanings, e.g. board in the meanings a council and a piece of wood sawn thin; b) homonyms identical in their grammatical meanings and basic forms, different in their lexical meanings and paradigms, e.g. to lie - lied - lied, and to lie - lay - lain; c) homonyms different in their lexical meanings, grammatical meanings, paradigms, but coinciding in their basic forms, e.g. light / lights/, light / lighter, lightest/; d) homonyms different in their lexical meanings, grammatical meanings, in their basic forms and paradigms, but coinciding in one of the forms of their paradigms, e.g. a bit and bit (from to bite).

In I. V. Arnold's classification there are also patterned homonyms, which, differing from other homonyms, have a common component in their lexical meanings. These are homonyms formed either by means of conversion, or by levelling of grammar inflexions. These homonyms are different in their grammar meanings, in their paradigms, identical in their basic forms, e.g. warm - to warm. Here we can also have unchangeable patterned homonyms which have identical basic forms, different grammatical meanings, a common component in their lexical meanings, e.g. before an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition. There are also homonyms among unchangeable words which are different in their lexical and grammatical meanings, identical in their basic foms, e.g. for - and for - .

Synonyms are words different in their outer aspects, but identical or similar in their inner aspects. In English there are a lot of synonyms, because there are many borrowings, e.g. hearty / native/ - cordial/ borrowing/. After a word is borrowed it undergoes desynonymization, because absolute synonyms are unnecessary for a language. However, there are some absolute synonyms in the language, which have exactly the same meaning and belong to the same style, e.g. to moan, to groan; homeland, motherland etc. In cases of desynonymization one of the absolute synonyms can specialize in its meaning and we get semantic synonyms, e.g. city /borrowed/, town /native/. The French borrowing city is specialized. In other cases native words can be specialized in their meanings, e.g. stool /native/, chair /French/.

Sometimes one of the absolute synonyms is specialized in its usage and we get stylistic synonyms, e.g. to begin/ native/, to commence /borrowing/. Here the French word is specialized. In some cases the native word is specialized, e.g. welkin /bookish/, sky /neutral/.

Stylistic synonyms can also appear by means of abbreviation. In most cases the abbreviated form belongs to the colloquial style, and the full form to the neutral style, e.g. examination', exam.

Among stylistic synonyms we can point out a special group of words which are called euphemisms. These are words used to substitute some unpleasant or offensive words, e.g the late instead of dead, to perspire instead of to sweat etc.

There are also phraseological synonyms, these words are identical in their meanings and styles but different in their combining with other words in the sentence, e.g. to be late for a lecture but to miss the train, to visit museums but to attend lectures etc.

In each group of synonyms there is a word with the most general meaning, which can substitute any word in the group, e.g. piece is the synonymic dominant in the group slice, lump, morsel. The verb to look at is the synonymic dominant in the group to stare, to glance, to peep. The adjective red' is the synonymic dominant in the group purple, scarlet, crimson.

When speaking about the sources of synonyms, besides desynonymization and abbreviation, we can also mention the formation of phrasal verbs, e.g. to give up - to abandon, to cut down - to diminish.


Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style, expressing contrary or contradictory notions.

V.N. Comissarov in his dictionary of antonyms classified them into two groups : absolute or root antonyms /late - early/ and derivational antonyms / to please' - to displease/ . Absolute antonyms have different roots and derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes. In most cases negative prefixes form antonyms / un-, dis-, non-/. Sometimes they are formed by means of suffixes -ful and -less.

The number of antonyms with the suffixes ful- and -less is not very large, and sometimes even if we have a word with one of these suffixes its antonym is formed not by substituting -ful by less-, e.g. successful -unsuccessful, selfless - selfish. The same is true about antonyms with negative prefixes, e.g. to man is not an antonym of the word to unman, to disappoint is not an antonym of the word to appoint.

The difference between derivational and root antonyms is not only in their structure, but in semantics as well. Derivational antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other, e.g. active- inactive. Absolute antonyms express contrary notions. If some notions can be arranged in a group of more than two members, the most distant members of the group will be absolute antonyms, e.g. ugly , plain, good-looking, pretty, beautiful, the antonyms are ugly and beautiful.

Leonard Lipka in the book Outline of English Lexicology describes different types of oppositeness, and subdivides them into three types:

a) complementary, e.g. male -female, married -single,

b) antonyms, e.g. good -bad,

c) converseness, e.g. to buy - to sell.

In his classification he describes complimentarity in the following way: the denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice versa. John is not married implies that John is single. The type of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision. Incompatibility only concerns pairs of lexical units.

Antonymy is the second class of oppositeness. It is distinguished from complimentarity by being based on different logical relationships. For pairs of antonyms like good/bad, big/small only the second one of the above mentioned relations of implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the negation of the other, but not vice versa. John is good implies that John is not bad, but John is not good does not imply that John is bad. The negation of one term does not necessarily implies the assertion of the other.

An important linguistic difference from complementaries is that antonyms are always fully gradable, e.g. hot, warm, tepid, cold.

Converseness is mirror-image relations or functions, e.g. husband/wife, pupil/teacher, preceed/follow, above/below, before/after etc.

John bought the car from Bill implies that Bill sold the car to John. Mirror-image sentences are in many ways similar to the relations between active and passive sentences. Also in the comparative form: Y is smaller than X, then X is larger than Y.

L. Lipka also gives the type which he calls directional opposition up/down, consiquence opposition learn/know, antipodal opposition North/South, East/West, ( it is based on contrary motion, in opposite directions.) The pairs come/go, arrive/depart involve motion in different directions. In the case up/down we have movement from a point P. In the case come/go we have movement from or to the speaker.

L. Lipka also points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets. Here he points out serially ordered sets, such as scales / hot, warm, tepid, cool, cold/ ; colour words / black, grey, white/ ; ranks /marshal, general, colonel, major, captain etc./ There are gradable examination marks / excellent, good, average, fair, poor/. In such sets of words we can have outer and inner pairs of antonyms. He also points out cycles, such as units of time /spring, summer, autumn, winter/ . In this case there are no outermost members.

Not every word in a language can have antonyms. This type of opposition can be met in qualitative adjectives and their derivatives, e.g. beautiful- ugly, to beautify - to uglify, beauty - ugliness. It can be also met in words denoting feelings and states, e.g. respect - scorn, to respect - to scorn, respectful - scornful, to live - to die, alive - dead, life - death. It can be also met among words denoting direction in space and time, e.g. here - there, up - down , now - never, before - after, day - night, early - late etc.

If a word is polysemantic it can have several antonyms, e.g. the word bright has the antonyms dim, dull, sad.

Seminar 9. Semaciology

Word and notion.

Lexical meaning and notion.





Classifications of homonyms when applied to analysis.

Classifications of antonyms when applied to analysis.

Analyze the following lexical units applying the above mentioned classifications of homonyms and antonyms:

present - absent, present - to present

like , to like - to dislike - dislike

sympathy - antipathy

progress - to progress, regress - to regress

success - failure, successful- unsuccessful

left - left/to leave/, right adj. - right n.

inflexible - flexible

unsafe - safe adj. - safe n.

fair n. - fair adj. unfair, foul

piece - peace

dark-haired - fair-haired

a row - a row /rou/ - /rau/

a fan - a fan

superiority - inferiority

different - similar, indifferent, alike, difference - similarity

meaningful - meaningless

after prep.- before -before adv., before conj.

to gossip - a gossip

shapeless - shapy

air - to air - air

fearless - fearful

bright - dim, dull, sad

to fasten - to unfasten

something - nothing

eldest - oldest -youngest

to husband - husband

obscure - to obscure

unaccustomed - accustomed

to exclude - to include

to conceal -to reveal

too - too- two

somewhere - nowhere

a drawer - a drawer

with - without

Local varieties of English on the British Isles

On the British Isles there are some local varieties of English which developed from Old English local dialects. There are six groups of them: Lowland /Scottish/ , Northern, Western, Midland, Eastern, Southern. These varieties are used in oral speech by the local population. Only the Scottish dialect has its own literature /R. Berns/.

One of the best known dialects of British English is the dialect of London - Cockney. Some peculiarities of this dialect can be seen in the first act of Pigmalion by B. Shaw, such as : interchange of /v/ and /w/ e.g. wery vell; interchange of /f/ and /0/ , /v/ and / /, e. g/ fing /thing/ and fa:ve / father/; interchange of /h/ and /-/ , e.g. 'eart for heart and hart for art; substituting the diphthong /ai/ by /ei/ e.g. day is pronounced /dai/; substituting /au/ by /a:/ , e.g. house is pronounced /ha:s/,now /na:/ ; substituting /ou/ by /o:/ e.g. don't is pronounced /do:nt/ or substituting it by / / in unstressed positions, e.g. window is pronounced /wind /.

Another feature of Cockney is rhyming slang: hat is tit for tat, wife is trouble and strife, head is loaf of bread etc. There are also such words as tanner /sixpence/, peckish/hungry/.

Peter Wain in the Education Guardian writes about accents spoken by University teachers: It is a variety of Southern English RP which is different from Daniel Jones's description. The English, public school leavers speak, is called marked RP, it has some characteristic features : the vowels are more central than in English taught abroad, e.g. bleck het/for black hat/, some diphthongs are also different, e.g. house is pronounced /hais/. There is less aspiration in /p/, /b/, /t/ /d/.

The American English is practically uniform all over the country, because of the constant transfer of people from one part of the country to the other. However, some peculiarities in New York dialect can be pointed out, such as: there is no distinction between / / and /a: / in words: ask, dance sand bad, both phonemes are possible. The combination ir in the words: bird, girl ear in the word learn is pronoinced as /oi/ e.g. /boid/, /goil/, /loin/.In the words duty', tune /j/ is not pronounced /du:ti/, /tu:n/.

British and American English are two main variants of English. Besides them there are : Canadian, Australian, Indian, New Zealand and other variants. They have some peculiarities in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, but they are easily used for communication between people living in these countries. As far as the American English is concerned, some scientists /H.N. Menken, for example/ tried to prove that there is a separate American language. In 1919 H.N. Menken published a book called The American Language. But most scientists, American ones including, criticized his point of view because differences between the two variants are not systematic.

American English begins its history at the beginning of the 17-th century when first English-speaking settlers began to settle on the Atlantic coast of the American continent. The language which they brought from England was the language spoken in England during the reign of Elizabeth the First.

In the earliest period the task of Englishmen was to find names for places, animals, plants, customs which they came across on the American continent. They took some of names from languages spoken by the local population - Indians, such as :chipmuck/an American squirrel/, igloo /Escimo dome-shaped hut/, skunk / a black and white striped animal with a bushy tail/, squaw / an Indian woman/, wigwam /an American Indian tent made of skins and bark/ etc.

Besides Englishmen, settlers from other countries came to America, and English-speaking settlers mixed with them and borrowed some words from their languages, e.g. from French the words bureau/a writing desk/, cache /a hiding place for treasure, provision/, depot'/ a store-house/, pumpkin/a plant bearing large edible fruit/. From Spanish such words as: adobe / unburnt sun-dried brick/, bananza /prosperity/, cockroach /a beetle-like insect/, lasso / a noosed rope for catching cattle/ were borrowed.

Present-day New York stems from the Dutch colony New Amsterdam, and Dutch also influenced English. Such words as: boss, dope, sleigh were borrowed .

The second period of American English history begins in the 19-th century. Immigrants continued to come from Europe to America. When large groups of immigrants from the same country came to America some of their words were borrowed into English. Italians brought with them a style of cooking which became widely spread and such words as: pizza, spaghetti came into English. From the great number of German-speaking settlers the following words were borrowed into English: delicatessen, lager, hamburger, noodle, schnitzel and many others.

During the second period of American English history there appeared quite a number of words and word-groups which were formed in the language due to the new poitical system, liberation of America from the British colonialism, its independence. The following lexical units appeared due to these events: the United States of America , assembly, caucus, congress, Senate, congressman, President, senator, precinct, Vice-President and many others. Besides these political terms many other words were coined in American English in the 19-th century: to antagonize, to demoralize, influential, department store, telegram, telephone and many others.

  • Essence of the lexicology and its units. Semantic changes and structure of a word. Essence of the homonyms and its criteria at the synchronic analysis. Synonymy and antonymy. Phraseological units: definition and classification. Ways of forming words.

    [24,3 K], 09.11.2008

  • Lexicology, as a branch of linguistic study, its connection with phonetics, grammar, stylistics and contrastive linguistics. The synchronic and diachronic approaches to polysemy. The peculiar features of the English and Ukrainian vocabulary systems.

    [44,7 K], 30.11.2015

  • The sources of origin of phraseological units in modern English. Borrowing in the foreign language form. Phraseological units, reflecting the traditions, customs of the English people. Phraseological units connected with beliefs, taken from fairy tales.

    [19,1 K], 03.12.2015

  • Lexico-semantic features of antonyms in modern English. The concept of polarity of meaning. Morphological and semantic classifications of antonyms. Differences of meaning of antonyms. Using antonyms pair in proverbs and sayings. Lexical meaning of words.

    [43,0 K], 05.10.2011

  • The connection of lexicology with other branches of linguistics. Modern Methods of Vocabulary Investigation. General characteristics of English vocabulary. The basic word-stock. Influence of Russian on the English vocabulary. Etymological doublets.

    [44,9 K], 15.02.2013

  • Subject of theoretical grammar and its difference from practical grammar. The main development stages of English theoretical grammar. Classical scientific grammar of the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Problems of Case Grammar.

    [55,4 K], 26.01.2011

  • Historical background of the History of English. Assimilative Vowel Changes: Breaking and Diphthongisation. Old English phonetics and grammar. Morphological classification of nouns. Evolution of the grammatical system. Personal and possessive pronouns.

    [104,6 K], 23.07.2009

  • The structure of words and word-building. The semantic structure of words, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms. Word combinations and phraseology in modern English and Ukrainian languages. The Native Element, Borrowed Words, characteristics of the vocabulary.

    [95,2 K], 05.12.2010

  • The importance of English phonetics and phonology. Phonetics as an independent branch of linguistics. Phonetics as a science. The history of phonetics. Connection with other sciences. Development of phonology. Differences between phonetics and phonology.

    [23,2 K], 11.01.2014

  • Semantic peculiarities of phraseological units in modern English. The pragmatic investigate of phraseology in particularly newspaper style. The semantic analyze peculiarities of the title and the role of the phraseological unit in newspaper style.

    [103,4 K], 25.01.2013

, , ..