Lexicology as a science

Units of Language and forming of the packed words. Classifications of English mixtures. Basics ways of word-building. Criteria of semantic derivation. Classifications of borrowings to according to degree of assimilation. Local variety of English.

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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.

4. Local varieties of English

4.1 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/.

4.2 British and American English

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. There are some differences between British and American English in the usage of prepositions, such as prepositions with dates, days of the week BE requres on / I start my holiday on Friday/, in American English there is no preposition / I start my vacation Friday/. In Be we use by day, by night/at night, in AE the corresponding forms are days and nights. In BE we say at home , in AE - home is used. In BE we say a quarter to five, in AE a quarter of five. In BE we say in the street, in AE - on the street. In BE we say to chat to somebody, in AE to chat with somebody. In BE we say different to something, in AE - different from someting. There are also units of vocabulary which are different while denoting the same notions, e.g. BE - trousers, AE -pants; in BE pants are which in AE is shorts. While in BE shorts are outwear. This can lead to misunderstanding. There are some differences in names of places:


passage hall cross-roads intersection

pillar box mail-box the cinema the movies

studio, bed-sitter one-room appartment

flyover overpass zebra crossing Pxing

pavement sidewalk tube, uderground subway

tram streetcar flat apartment

surgery doctor's office lift elevator

Some names of useful objects:


biro ballpoint rubber eraser

tap faucet torch flashlight

parcel package elastic rubber band

carrier bag shopping bag reel of cotton spool of thread

Some words connected with food:


tin can sweets candy

sweet biscuit cookie dry biscuit crackers

sweet dessert chips french fries

minced meat ground beef

Some words denoting personal items:


fringe bangs/of hair/ turn- ups cuffs

tights pantyhose mackintosh raincoat

ladder run/in a stocking/ braces suspenders

poloneck turtleneck waistcoat vest

Some words denoting people:


barrister, lawyer, staff /university/ faculty

post-graduate graduate chap, fellow guy

caretaker janitor constable patrolman

shopassistant shopperson bobby cop

If we speak about cars there are also some differences:


boot trunk bumpers fenders

a car, an auto, to hire a car to rent a car

Differences in the organization of education lead to different terms. BE public school is in fact a private school. It is a fee-paying school not controlled by the local education authorities. AE public school is a free local authority school. BE elementary school is AE grade school BE secondary school is AE high school. In BE a pupil leaves a secondary school, in AE a student graduates from a high school In BE you can graduate from a university or college of education, graduating entails getting a degree. A British university student takes three years known as the first, the second and the third years. An American student takes four years, known as freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. While studying a British student takes a main and subsidiary subjects. An American student majors in a subject and also takes electives. A British student specializes in one main subject, with one subsidiary to get his honours degree. An American student earns credits for successfully completing a number of courses in studies, and has to reach the total of 36 credits to receive a degree.

4.2.1 Differences of spelling

The reform in the English spelling for American English was introduced by the famous American lexicographer Noah Webster who published his first dictionary in 1806. Those of his proposals which were adopted in the English spelling are as follows:

a) the delition of the letter u in words ending in our, e.g. honor, favor;

b) the delition of the second consonant in words with double consonants, e.g. traveler, wagon,

c) the replacement of re by er in words of French origin, e.g. theater, center,

d) the delition of unpronounced endings in words of Romanic origin, e.g. catalog, program,

e) the replacement of ce by se in words of Romanic origin, e.g. defense, offense,

d) delition of unpronounced endings in native words, e.g. tho, thro.

4.2.2 Differences in pronunciation

In American English we have r-coloured fully articulated vowels, in the combinations: ar, er, ir, or, ur, our etc. In BE the sound / / corresponds to the AE /^/, e.g. not. In BE before fricatives and combinations with fricatives a is pronounced as /a:/, in AE it is pronounced / / e.g. class, dance, answer, fast etc.

There are some differences in the position of the stress:


add`ress adress la`boratory `laboratory

re`cess `recess re`search `research

in`quiry `inquiry ex`cess `excess

Some words in BE and AE have different pronunciation, e.g.


/`fju:tail/ /`fju:t l/ /`dousail / /dos l/

/kla:k/ /kl rk/ /`fig / /figyer/

/ `le3 / / li:3 r/ /lef`ten nt/ /lu:tenant/

/ nai / /ni: r/ /shedju:l/ /skedyu:l/

But these differences in pronunciation do not prevent Englishmen and American from communicating with each other easily and cannot serve as a proof that British and American are different languages. Words can be classified according to the period of their life in the language. The number of new words in a language is always larger than the number of words which come out of active usage. Accordingly we can have archaisms, that is words which have come out of active usage, and neologisms, that is words which have recently appeared in the language.

4.3 Archaisms

Archaisms are words which are no longer used in everyday speech, which have been ousted by their synonyms. Archaisms remain in the language, but they are used as stylistic devices to express solemnity. Most of these words are lexical archaisms and they are stylistic synonyms of words which ousted them from the neutral style. Some of them are: steed /horse/, slay /kill/, behold /see/, perchance /perhaps/, woe /sorrow/ etc. Sometimes a lexical archaism begins a new life, getting a new meaning, then the old meaning becomes a semantic archaism, e.g. fair in the meaning beautiful is a semantic archaism, but in the meaning blond it belongs to the neutral style. Sometimes the root of the word remains and the affix is changed, then the old affix is considered to be a morphemic archaism, e.g. beautious /ous was substituted by ful/, bepaint / be was dropped/, darksome /some was dropped/, oft / en was added/. etc.

4.4 Neologisms

At the present moment English is developing very swiftly and there is so called neology blowup. R. Berchfield who worked at compiling a four-volume supplement to NED says that averagely 800 neologisms appear every year in Modern English. It has also become a language-giver recently, especially with the development of computerization. New words, as a rule, appear in speech of an individual person who wants to express his idea in some original way. This person is called originater. New lexical units are primarily used by university teachers, newspaper reporters, by those who are connected with mass media. Neologisms can develop in three main ways: a lexical unit existing in the language can change its meaning to denote a new object or phenomenon. In such cases we have semantic neologisms, e.g. the word umbrella developed the meanings: , . A new lexical unit can develop in the language to denote an object or phenomenon which already has some lexical unit to denote it. In such cases we have transnomination, e.g. the word slum was first substituted by the word ghetto then by the word-group inner town. A new lexical unit can be introduced to denote a new object or phenomenon. In this case we have a proper neologism, many of them are cases of new terminology.

Here we can point out several semantic groups when we analize the group of neologisms connected with computerization, and here we can mention words used:

a) to denote different types of computers, e.g. PC, super-computer, multi-user, neurocomputer / analogue of a human brain/;

b) to denote parts of computers, e.g. hardware, software, monitor, screen, data, vapourware / experimental samples of computers for exhibition, not for production/;

c) to denote computer languages, e.g. BASIC, Algol FORTRAN etc;

d) to denote notions connected with work on computers, e.g. computerman, computerization, computerize, to troubleshoot, to blitz out / to ruin data in a computer's memory/.

There are also different types of activities performed with the help of computers, many of them are formed with the help of the morpheme tele, e.g. to telework, to telecommute / to work at home having a computer which is connected with the enterprise for which one works/. There are also such words as telebanking, telemarketing, teleshopping / when you can perform different operations with the help of your computer without leaving your home, all operations are registered by the computer at your bank/, videobank /computerized telephone which registers all information which is received in your absence/. In the sphere of lingusitics we have such neologisms as: machine translation, interlingual / an artificial language for machine translation into several languages / and many others. In the sphere of biometrics we have computerized machines which can recognize characteristic features of people seeking entrance : finger-print scanner / finger prints/, biometric eye-scanner / blood-vessel arrangements in eyes/, voice verification /voice patterns/. These are types of biometric locks. Here we can also mention computerized cards with the help of which we can open the door without a key.In the sphere of medicine computors are also used and we have the following neologisms: telemonitory unit / a telemonitory system for treating patience at a distance/. With the development of social activities neologisms appeared as well, e.g. youthquake - , pussy-footer - , , Euromarket, Eurodollar, Europarliament, Europol etc.

In the modern English society there is a tendency to social stratification, as a result there are neologisms in this sphere as well, e.g. belonger - , . To this group we can also refer abbreviations of the type yuppie /young urban professional people/, such as: muppie, gruppie, rumpie, bluppie etc. People belonging to the lowest layer of the society are called survivers, a little bit more prosperous are called sustainers, and those who try to prosper in life and imitate those, they want to belong to, are called emulaters. Those who have prospered but are not belongers are called achievers. All these layers of socety are called VAL /Value and Lifestyles/ . The rich belong also to jet set that is those who can afford to travel by jet planes all over the world enjoying their life. Sometimes they are called jet plane travellers. During Margaret Thatcher's rule the abbreviation PLU appeared which means People like us by which snobbistic circles of society call themselves. Nowadays /since 1989/ PLU was substituted by one of us.

There are a lot of immigrants now in UK , in connection with which neologisms partial and non-partial were formed / /. The word-group welfare mother was formed to denote a non-working single mother living on benefit. In connection with criminalization of towns in UK volantary groups of assisting the police were formed where dwellers of the neighbourhood are joined. These groups are called neighbourhood watch, home watch. Criminals wear stocking masks not to be recognized. The higher society has neologisms in their speech, such as : dial-a-meal, dial-a-taxi. In the language of teen-agers there are such words as : Drugs! /OK/, sweat / /, task /home composition /, brunch etc. With the development of professional jargons a lot of words ending in speak appeared in English, e.g. artspeak, sportspeak, medspeak, education-speak, video-speak, cable-speak etc.

There are different semantic groups of neologisms belonging to everyday life:

a) food e.g. starter/ instead of hors d'oevres/, macrobiotics / raw vegetables, crude rice/ , longlife milk, clingfilm, microwave stove, consumer electronics, fridge-freezer, hamburgers /beef-, cheese-, fish-, veg- /.

b) clothing, e.g. catsuit /one-piece clinging suit/, slimster , string / miniscule bikini/, hipster / trousers or skirt with the belt on hips/, completenik / a long sweater for trousers/, sweatnik /a long jacket/, pants-skirt, bloomers / lady's sports trousers/.

c) footwear e.g. winklepickers /shoes with long pointed toes/, thongs /open sandals/, backsters /beech sandals with thick soles/.

d) bags, e.g. bumbag /a small bag worn on the waist/, sling bag /a bag with a long belt/, maitre / a small bag for cosmetics/.

There are also such words as : dangledolly / a dolly-talisman dangling in the car before the windscreen/, boot-sale /selling from the boot of the car/, touch-tone /a telephone with press-button/. Neologisms can be also classified according to the ways they are formed. They are subdivided into : phonological neologisms, borrowings, semantic neologisms and syntactical neologisms. Syntactical neologisms are divided into morphological /word-building/ and phraseological /forming word-groups/. Phonological neologisms are formed by combining unique combinations of sounds, they are called artificial, e.g. rah-rah /a short skirt which is worn by girls during parades/, yeck /yuck which are interjections to express repulsion produced the adjective yucky/ yecky. These are strong neologisms. Strong neologisms include also phonetic borrowings, such as perestroika /Russian/, solidarnosc /Polish/, Berufsverbot / German /, dolce vita /Italian/ etc. Morphological and syntactical neologisms are usually built on patterns existing in the language, therefore they do not belong to the group of strong neologisms.

Among morphological neologisms there are a lot of compound words of different types, such as free-fall- appeared in 1987 with the stock market crash in October 1987 /on the analogy with free-fall of parachutists, which is the period between jumping and opening the chute/. Here also belong: call-and-recall - , bioastronomy -search for life on other planets, rat-out - betrayal in danger , zero-zero (double zero) - ban of longer and shorter range weapon, x-rated /about films terribly vulgar and cruel/, Ameringlish /American English/, tycoonography - a biography of a business tycoon.

There are also abbreviations of different types, such as resto, teen /teenager/, dinky /dual income no kids yet/, ARC /AIDS-related condition, infection with AIDS/, HIV / human immuno-deficiency virus/. Quite a number of neologisms appear on the analogy with lexical units existing in the language, e.g. snowmobile /automobile/, danceaholic /alcoholic/, airtel /hotel/, cheeseburger /hamburger/, autocade / cavalcade/. There are many neologisms formed by means of affixation, such as: decompress, to disimprove, overhoused, educationalist, slimster, folknik etc. Phraseological neologisms can be subdivided into phraseological units with transferred meanings, e.g. to buy into/ to become involved/, fudge and dudge /avoidance of definite decisions/, and set non-idiomatic expressions, e.g. electronic virus, Rubic's cube, retail park, acid rain , boot trade etc.

4.4.1 Changes in pronunciation

In Modern British English there is a tendency to change pronunciation of some sounds and combinations of sounds due to the influence of American English and some other factors. These changes are most noticeable in the speech of teachers and students of the universities in the Southern part of England /Oxford, Cambridge, London/.

There are the following changes in pronouncing vowels:

a) shortening of long vowels, especially at the end of the word and before voiceless consonants,e.g. see, keep;

b) lengthening of short vowels before voiced consonants, e.g. big, good, come, jam etc. In such adjectives which end in /d/ lengthening of the vowel is observed all over England, e.g. bad, sad, glad, mad etc.

c) drawling of stressed syllables and clipping of unstressed syllables.

d) In unstressed syllables / / is pronounced instead of / i /, e.g. /b `ko:z/, /`evid ns/ etc.

e) In the words consisting of three or more syllables there is a tendency to have two main stresses,e.g. /`nes `s ri/, /`int `restin/.

f) The diphthong /ou/ is pronounced / u/,e.g. home /h um/, go /g u/.

g) the diphthong / u / is pronounced /o:/, e.g. sure /sho:/.

Vowels can also change under the influence of consonants:

a) after fricatives and consonants /n/ and /m/ /ju:/ is pronounced as /u:/, e.g. resume, music, news, enthusiasm.

b) before fricatives and combinations of fricatives with consonants a is pronounced as / /, e.g. dance, answer, class, fast.

The pronunciation of some consonants is also changed :

a) after a vowel /r/ is pronounced ,e.g. /ka:r/ , /ha:rt/.

b)There appears an intrusive /r/ in the combinations where after the final vowel / / there is a vowel at the beginning of the next word, e.g. the idea of, Asia and Europe/ on the analogy with word combinations there is, there are/.

c) /p/ and /t/ are glotalized in the middle of the word,e.g. matter is pronounced as /`m ? /, happy as /`h ? i/.

d) /s/ is used instead of /sh/ before /i/ in the structure of suffixes, e.g. social /`sousi l/, negotiate / ni`gousi,eit/;

e) /l/ is vocalized at the end of the word, e.g. full/ ful/( close to /v/ in sound).

f) /sh/ is voiced in the intervocal position in some geographical names, e.g . Asia, Persia;

g) combinations of sounds /dj/, /tj/ , /sj/ in such words as duke, tube, issue have two variants of pronunciation: /d3u:k/ and /dju:k/, /chu:b/ and /tju:b/, /`ishu:/ and /`isju:/;

h) /t/ and/d/ at the end of words are not pronounced, e.g. half past five' /`ha:f `pa:s`faiv/, old man /`oul `m n/.

4.5 Lexicography

The theory and practice of compiling dictionaries is called lexicography. The history of compiling dictionaries for English comes as far back as the Old English period, where we can find glosses of religious books / interlinear translations from Latin into English/. Regular bilingual dictionaries began to appear in the 15-th century /Anglo-Latin, Anglo-French , Anglo-German/. The first unilingual dictionary explaining difficult words appeared in 1604, the author was Robert Cawdry, a schoolmaster. He compiled his dictionary for schoolchildren. In 1721 an English scientist and writer Nathan Bailey published the first etymological dictionary which explained the origin of English words. It was the first scientific dictionary, it was compiled for philologists.

In 1775 an English scientist compiled a famous explanatory dictionary. Its author was Samuel Johnson. Every word in his dictionary was illustrated by examples from English literature, the meanings of words were clear from the contexts in which they were used The dictionary was a great success and it influenced the development of lexicography in all countries. The dictionary influenced normalization of the English vocabulary. But at the same time it helped to preserve the English spelling in its conservative form.

In 1858 one of the members of the English philological society Dr. Trench raised the question of compiling a dictionary including all the words existing in the language. The philological society adopted the decision to compile the dictionary and the work started. More than a thousand people took part in collecting examples, and 26 years later in 1884 the first volume was published. It contained words beginning with A and B. The last volume was published in 1928 that is 70 years after the decision to compile it was adopted. The dictionary was called NED and contained 12 volumes. In 1933 the dictionary was republished under the title The Oxford English Dictionary, because the work on the dictionary was conducted in Oxford. This dictionary contained 13 volumes. As the dictionary was very large and terribly expensive scientists continued their work and compiled shorter editions of the dictionary: A Shorter Oxford Dictionary consisting of two volumes. It had the same number of entries, but far less examples from literature. They also compiled A Concise Oxford Dictionary consisting of one volume and including only modern words and no examples from literature. The American lexicography began to develop much later, at the end of the 18-th century. The most famous American English dictionary was compiled by Noah Webster. He was an active stateman and public man and he published his first dictionary in 1806. He went on with his work on the dictionary and in 1828 he published a two-volume dictionary. He tried to simplify the English spelling and transcription. He introduced the alphabetical system of transcription where he used letters and combinations of letters instead of transcription signs. He denoted vowels in closed syllables by the corresponding vowels, e.g. / a/, /e/, / i/, / o/, /u/. He denoted vowels in the open syllable by the same letters, but with a dash above them,e.g. / a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/. He denoted vowels in the position before /r/ as the same letters with two dots above them, e.g. / a/, /o/ and by the l etter e with two dots above it for the combinations er, ir, ur because they are pronounced identically. The same tendency is preserved for other sounds : /u:/ is denoted by /oo/, /y/ is used for the sound /j/ etc.

4.5.1 Classification of dictionaries

All dictionaries are divided into linguistic and encyclopedic dictionaries. Encyclopedic dictionaries describe different objects, phenomena, people and give some data about them. Linguistic dictionaries describe vocabulary units, their semantic structure, their origin, their usage. Words are usually given in the alphabetical order. Linguistic dictionaries are divided into general and specialized . To general dictionries two most widely used dictionaries belong: explanatory and translation dictionaries. Specialized dictionaries include dictionaries of synonyms, antonyms, collocations, word-frequency, neologisms, slang, pronouncing, etymological, phraseological and others. All types of dictionaries can be unilingual ( excepting translation ones) if the explanation is given in the same language, bilingual if the explanation is given in another language and also they can be polilingual. There are a lot of explanatory dictionaries (NED, SOD, COD, NID, N.G. Wyld's Universal Dictionary and others). In explanatory dictionaries the entry consists of the spelling, transcription, grammatical forms, meanings, examples, phraseology. Pronunciation is given either by means of the International Transcription System or in British Phonetic Notation which is different in each large dictionary, e.g. /o:/ can be indicated as / aw/, /or/, /oh/, /o/. etc.

Translation dictionaries give words and their equivalents in the other language. There are English-Russian dictionaries by I.R. Galperin, by Y.Apresyan and others. Among general dictionaries we can also mention Learner's dictionaries. They began to appear in the second half of the 20-th century. The most famous is The Advanced Learner's Dictionary by A.S. Hornby. It is a unilingual dictionary based on COD, for advanced foreign learners and language teachers. It gives data about grammatical and lexical valency of words. Specialized dictionaries of synonyms are also widely used, one of them is A Dictionary of English Synonyms and Synonymous Expressions by R.Soule. Another famous one is Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms. These are unilingual dictionaries. The best known bilingual dictionary of synonyms is English Synonyms compiled by Y. Apresyan. In 1981 The Longman Lexicon of Contemporary English was compiled, where words are given in 14 semantic groups of everyday nature. Each word is defined in detail, its usage is explained and illustrated, synonyms, antonyms are presented also. It describes 15000 items, and can be referred to dictionaries of synonyms and to explanatory dictionaries. Phraseological dictionaries describe idioms and colloquial phrases, proverbs. Some of them have examples from literature. Some lexicographers include not only word-groups but also anomalies among words. In The Oxford Dicionary of English Proverbs each proverb is illustrated by a lot of examples, there are stylistic references as well. The dictionary by Vizetelli gives definitions and illustrations, but different meanings of polisemantic units are not given. The most famous bilingual dictionary of phraseology was compiled by A.V. Koonin. It is one of the best phraseological dictionaries.

5. Lexicology as a science

5.1 Its basic units and methods

Lexicology is a branch of linguistics - the science of language. The term lexicology is composed of two Greek morphemes lexic - word, phrase & logos which denotes learning a department of knowledge. Thus the literal meaning of the term lexicology is the science of the word. Lexicology as a branch of linguistics has its own aims & methods of scientific research. Its basic task - being a study & systematic description of vocabulary in respect to its origin, development & its current use. Lexicology is concerned with words, variable word-groups, phraseological units & morphemes which make up words.

Distinction is made between GENERAL LEXICOLOGY & SPECIAL LEXICOLOGY. General lexicology is a part of General linguistics . It is concerned with the study of vocabulary irrespective of the specific features of any particular language . Special lexicology is the lexicology of a particular language ( Russian , German , French , etc. ).

Lexicology is closely connected with other branches of linguistics : phonetics , for example , investigates the phonetic structure of language & is concerned with the study of the outer sound-form of the word . Grammar is the study of the grammatical structure of language . It is concerned with the various means of expressing grammatical relations between words as well as with patterns after which words are combined into word-groups & sentences . There is also a close relationship between lexicology & stylistics which is concerned with a study of a nature , functions & styles of languages .

5.2 Two approaches to language study. Varieties of words

There are two principle approaches in linguistic science to the study of language material : synchronic & diachronic . With regard to Special lexicology the synchronic approach is concerned with the vocabulary of a language as it exists at a given time . It's Special Descriptive lexicology that deals with the vocabulary & vocabulary units of a particular language at a certain time .

The diachronic approach in terms of Special lexicology deals with the changes & the development of vocabulary in the coarse of time . It is Special Historical lexicology that deals with the evaluation of the vocabulary units of a language as the time goes by .

The two approaches shouldn't be set one against the other . In fact , they are interconnected & interrelated because every linguistic structure & system exists in a state of constant development so that the synchronic state of a language system is a result of a long process of linguistic evaluation , of its historical development . Closely connected with the Historical lexicology is Contrastive & Comparative lexicology whose aims are to study the correlation between the vocabularies of two or more languages & find out the correspondences between the vocabulary units of the languages under comparison .

Lexicology studies various lexical units . They are : morphemes , words , variable word-groups & phraseological units . We proceed from the assumption that the word is the basic unit of the language system , the largest on morphological & the smallest on syntactic plane of linguistic analyses . The word is a structural & semantic entity within the language system . The word as well as any linguistic sign is a two-faced unit possessing both form & content or , to be more exact , sound-form & meaning .

e. g. boy -

When used in actual speech the word undergoes certain modification & functions in one of its forms . The system showing a word in all its word-forms is called a paradigm . The lexical meaning of a word is the same throughout the paradigm . The grammatical meaning varies from one form to another . Therefore when we speak on any word as used in actual speech we use the term word conventionally because what is manifested in the utterances is not a word as a whole but one of its forms which is identified as belonging to the definite paradigm . Words as a whole are to be found in the dictionary (showing the paradigm n - noun , v - verb , etc).

There are two approaches to the paradigm : as a system of forms of one word revealing the differences & the relationships between them .

e. g. to see - saw - seen - seeing

( different forms have different relations )

In abstraction from concrete words the paradigm is treated as a pattern on which every word of one part of speech models its forms , thus serving to distinguish one part of speech from another .

-s -`s -s' -ed -ing

nouns, of-phrases verbs

Besides the grammatical forms of words there are lexical varieties which are called variants of words .Words seldom possess only one meaning , but used in speech each word reveals only that meaning which is required .

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

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

These are lexico-semantic variants .

There are also phonetic & morphological variants .

e. g. often can be pronounced in two ways, though the sound-form is slightly changed , the meaning remains unchangeable . We can build the forms of the word to dream in different ways :

to dream - dreamt - dreamt


These are morphological variants . The meaning is the same but the model is different .

Like words-forms variants of words are identified in the process of communication as making up one & the same word . Thus , within the language system the word exists as a system & unity of all its forms & variants .

5.3 Methods of investigation

The science is said to be formed when it has at its disposal certain methods of investigation . The process of scientific investigation may be subdivided into several stages :

Observation is an early & basic phase of all modern scientific investigations including linguistics & is the center of what is called the inductive method of inquiry . The cardinal role of all inductive procedures is that the statements of fact must be based on observation not on unsupported authority , logical conclusions or personal preferences .

Another stage of scientific investigation after observation is classification of those facts which were obtained through observation .

e. g. It is observed that in English nouns the suffixal morpheme -er is added to verbal stems ( to cook - cooker , to write - writer ) & noun stems ( village - villager , London - Londoner ). The same suffix also occurs in the words such as mother , father . The question is whether the words mother , father have suffix . They haven't , thus we can come to the conclusion that -er can be found in derived & non-derived words .

The following stage is usually that of generalization , that is , the collection of data & their classification must eventually lead to the formulation of a hypotheses , rule , or law .

e. g. In the case with -er we can formulate the rule that derived words in -er may have either verbal or noun stems .The suffix -er in combination with adjectival or adverbial stems can't produce nouns ( bigger , longer , shorter are not nouns ).

Any linguistic generalization is to be followed by the very fine process - the linguist is required to seek verification of the generalizations that are the result of his inquires . For these aims different methods & procedures are used . They are : contrastive analyses , statistical methods of analyses , immediate constituents analyses , distributional analyses , transformational analyses , componental analyses & method of semantic differentiation .

5.4 Contrastive analysis

Contrastive linguists attempt to find out similarities & differences in both related & non-related languages . Contrastive analysis grew as the result of the practical demands of a language-teaching methodology , where it was empirically shown that the errors which are made by foreign language students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between the target language & the language of the learner . This naturally implies the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native & a target language . This procedure has been named contrastive analysis . People proceed from the assumption that the categories , elements on the semantic as well as on the syntactic & other levels are valid for both languages .

e. g. Linking verbs can be found in English , French , German , Russian , etc. Linking verbs having the meaning of change & become are differently represented in each of the languages . In English , for instance , become , come , grow , fall , run , turn ; in Russian - are used . The task is to find out which semantic & syntactic features characterize the English set of linking verbs , the Russian linking verb & how they can be compared , how the English word-groups grow thin , get angry , fall ill correspond to Russian , , .

Contrastive analysis can be carried out at three linguistic levels : phonology , grammar ( morphology & syntax ) & lexis . Contrastive analysis is applied to reveal the features of sameness & difference in the lexical meaning & the semantic structure of correlated words in different languages . It is commonly assumed by non-linguists that all languages have vocabulary systems in which the words themselves differ in sound-form , but refer to reality in the same way . From this assumption it follows that for every word in the mother tongue there is an exact equivalent in the foreign language . It is a belief which is reinforced by the small bilingual dictionary where single-word translation is often used .Language learning cannot be just a matter of substitution a new set of labels for the familiar ones of the mother tongue .It should be born in mind that though the objective reality exists outside human beings & irrespective of the language they speak , every language classifies reality in its own way by means of vocabulary units .

e. g. In English , for example , the word foot is used to denote the extremity of the leg . In Russian there is no exact equivalent for foot: is a little bit smaller than foot , the word denotes the whole leg including the foot .

Differences in the lexical meaning of correlated words account for the differences of their collocability in different languages .

e. g. Thus , the English adjective new & the Russian adjective when taken in isolation are felt as correlated words : a new dress , New Year . In collocation with other nouns however the Russian adjective cannot be used in the same meaning in which the English word new is currently used : new potatoes , new bread , etc.

Contrastive analysis on the level of the grammatical meaning reveals that co-related words in different languages may differ in grammatical characteristics .

e. g. Russians are liable to say news are good , the money are on the table , her hair are black because the Russian words , , have the grammatical meaning of plurality .

Contrastive analysis brings to light the essence of what is usually described as idiomatic English , idiomatic Russian , i. e. the peculiar way in which every language combines & structures in lexical units various concepts to denote extra-linguistic reality .

e. g. A typical Russian word-group used to describe the way somebody performs an action or to state how a person finds himself has the structure that may be represented by the formula adjective + a finite form of a verb( , ). In English we can also use structurally similar word-groups & say he learns fast/slowly . The structure of idiomatic word-group in English is different . The structure is adjective + deverbal noun. It is really in English to say he is a heavy smoker , poor learner early riser.

5.5 Statistical analysis

Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognized as the one of the major branches of linguistics . Statistical inquiries have considerable importance because of their relevance to certain problems of communication engineering & information theory . Statistical approach proved essential in the selection of vocabulary items of a foreign language for teaching purposes . Very few people know more than 10% of the words in their mother tongue . It follows that if we do not wish to waste time on committing to memorize vocabulary items which are never likely to be useful to the learner we have to select only lexical units that are commonly used by a native speaker .Out of approximately 500 000 words listed in Oxford English dictionary the active vocabulary of an educated Englishman comprises no more than 30 000 words & of these 4 000 - 5 000 are presumed to be amplisufficient for the daily needs of an average member of the English speech community. Thus , it is evident that the problem of selection of teaching vocabulary is of vital importance . Statistical techniques have been successfully applied in the analysis of various linguistic phenomena . Different structural types of words , affixes , the vocabularies of great writers & poets & even in the study of some problems of Historical Lexicology .Statistical regularities can be observed only if the phenomena under analysis are sufficiently numerous . Thus , the first requirement of any statistic investigation is the size of the sample . It is known that comparatively small group of words makes up the bulk of any text . It was found that approximately 1300 - 1500 most frequent words make up 85% of all words occurring in the text . If however we analyze a sample of 60 words it is hard to predict the number of occurrences of most frequent words .

e. g. If we take the word room we can find some meanings of the word : 1) room- denoting space as in take less room , not enough room to do smth.; 2) part of a house as in sitting-room ; 3) used in plural = lodgings as in to get rooms. Statistical analysis shows that most frequently the word is used in its second meaning - 83% of all occurrences of the word in different texts , 12% of all takes its first meaning - space, & only 2% takes the third meaning of the word .

5.6 Immediate constituents analysis

The theory of Immediate Constituents was originally elaborated as an attempt to determine the ways in which lexical units are relevantly related to one another . It was discovered that combinations of units are usually structured into hierarchial sets of binary constructions .

e. g. In the word-group a black dress in severe style we do not relate the indefinite article a to adjective black , black to dress , dress to in , in to severe , severe to style .We set up a structure which may be represented as a black dress & in severe style.

Thus , the fundamental aim of immediate constituents analysis is to segment a set of lexical units into two maximally independent sequences & these maximally independent sequences are called immediate constituents . The further segmentation of immediate constituents results in ultimate constituents , which means that further segmentation is impossible for no meaning can be found .

e. g. The ultimate constituents of the phrase given are a ,black , dress , in , severe , style .
This method of analysis is extremely fruitful in discovering the derivational structure of words .
5.7 Distributional analysis
Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly used nowadays. By the term distribution we understand the occurrence of a lexical unit relative to another lexical units of the same levels : words to words , morpheme to morphemes . In other words , by this term we understand the position which lexical unit occupies or may occupy in the text or in the flow of speech . It is observed that a certain component of the word-meaning is described when the word is identified distributionally .
e. g. In the sentence
The boy__________ home .

the missing word is easily identified as a verb . It may be came , ran , went , goes , but not as an adverb or a noun , or an adjective .

Thus , we see that the component of meaning that is distributionally identified is actually the part-of-speech meaning . It is also observed that in a number of cases words have different lexical meanings in different distributional patterns .

e. g. The verb to treat has different lexical meanings in to treat smbd kindly & to treat smbd to ice-cream .

The interdependence of distribution & meaning can be also observed at the level of word-groups .e. g. It is only the distribution of completely identical lexical units but arranged on the reverse that differentiates the meaning - water tap & tap water .

5.8 Transformational analysis

Transformational analysis in lexicological investigations may be defined as repatterning ( representing , reorganization ) of various distributional structures in order to discover difference or sameness of meaning of practically identical distributional patterns . As distributional patterns are in a number of cases polysemantic transformational procedures are of help not only in the analysis of semantic sameness / difference of the lexical units but also in the analysis of the factors that account for their polysemy . Word-groups of identical distributional structure when repatterned show that the semantic relations between words & consequently the meaning may be different .e. g. A pattern possessive pronoun +noun(his car , his failure , his arrest, his kindness ). According to transformational analysis the meaning of each word-group may be represented as : he has a car , he failed , he was arrested , he is kind. In each of the cases different meaning is revealed : possession , action , passive action , quality .The rules of transformation are rather strict & shouldn't be identified with paraphrasing in the usual sense of the term .There are many restrictions both on syntactic & lexical levels . These are :

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