Lexicology of the English language

Subject matter of Lexicology. Types of Lexicology and its links with other branches of linguistics. Meaning and context. Causes of semantic change. Definition of polysemy. The difference between homonymy and polycemy. Classification of antonyms.

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, , , , .

to look at, to look forward, to look for, to look after, to look through, to look pale, to look like;

2. Types of meaning. Motivation of the word

lexical items are traditionally said to have bcth le-xical and grammatical meaning. For examplecow not only signifies a particular concept (the material or lexical meanings of the item) but it does so according to a particular mode of signifying. For exampleas a substance, a quality, an action, etc. (John Lyons)

The grammatical meaning is the formal meaning of a word. It is defined as the meaning belonging to the lexico-- grammatical classes and grammatical categories. It is expressed by the word's form. Every word belongs to a definite part of speech and every part of speech has a certain grammatical categories. For exampleverbs have tense, voice, mood, person etc, Nouns have the categories of case, number etc. For example. the words asked, thought, talked, took, ran have the grammatical meaning of tense. The grammatical meaning unites words into big groups such as parts of speech.

The lexical meaning is the material meaning of a word. This is a meaning which gives the concept of a word. By the lexical meaning the word expresses the basic properties of the thing the word denotes.

The lexical meaning of a word falls into two:

I) the denotational meaning, 2) the connotational meaning.

Denotational meaning makes communication possible because words denote things, concepts, they name them. For example. the denotational meaning of the word table is a piece of furniture consisting of a flat top with four supports (called legs). . . . words refer not only to thing but to the user's own feelings. The common term for the word's objective reference is denotation. The common term for a word's emotional content is connotation. Fragrance (), reek ( ) dor (, ) denote smell. But fragrance connotes the speaker's approval of the smell, reek connotes his revulsion (? ? - ) and odor carries no connotation at all. (Richard M: Eastman).

Thus, the connotational meaning is a meaning which has a stylistic shade. It serves to express all sorts of emotions, expressiveness. Connotation may be shortly defined as emotional and evaluative component of the lexical meaning, Comparing the meanings of English words well-known, famous, notorious we see that all these words express the denotational meaning widely known. But the word famous has a positive evaluative meaning and notorious has a negative evaluation. So, the words well-known, famous, no-torious differ in their emotional colouring and evaluation.

Connotational meaning consists of such constituents as: emotion, evaluation and intensity (intensifying connotation). The word takes the emotional connotation in contexts corresponding to emotional situations. The denotational meaning is associated with emotions (For example. He besought a favour of the judge: Here the word beseech besought p.t means to ask eagerly and also anxiously).

The leading semantic component in the semantic. structure of a word is usually termed denotative component (also, the term referential component may be used). The denotative component expresses the conceptual content of a word.

The following list presents denotative components of some English adjectives and verbs:

Denotative components

lonely, adj. - alone, without company ...

notorious, adj. - widely known

celebrated, adj. - widely known

to glare, v. - to look

to glance, v. - to look

to shiver, v. - to tremble

to shudder, v. - to tremble

It is quite obvious that the definitions given in the right column only partially and incompletely describe the meanings of their corresponding words. They do not give a more or less full picture of the meaning of a word. To do it, it is necessary to include in the scheme of analysis additional semantic components which are termed connotations or connotative components.

The above examples show how by singling out denotative and connotative components one can get a sufficiently clear picture of what the word really means. The schemes presenting the semantic structures of "glare", "shiver", "shudder" also show that a meaning can have two or more connotative components.

The given examples do not exhaust all the types of connotations but present only a few: emotive, evaluative connotations, and also connotations of duration and of cause.

Evaluative connotation denotes approval or disapproval relations to the thing or phenomena, For example. colt--a young male horse used for a young unexperienced person; pup--a young dog used for a person. These words have negative evaluation. But in English we have words which have positive evaluation (For examplebunny--() (?), bunting-- ().

Intensifying connotation is the reinforcement of the sign: it indicates the special importance of the thing expressed. For example. awfully glad, terribly important.

The connotational meaning may be expressed also either in the emotive charge or in stylistic reference.

For example. aunt and auntie. These words have the same denotational meaning but the word aunt has no emotive charge but auntie has it. The Uzbek ? has no emotive charge, but ? has.

Stylistically words can be subdivided into literary, neutral and colloquial layers. Neutral words are words of general use. For example. the words to begin (?, ) and to commences (?, ), dad and father have the same denotational meanings but to begins and father are stylistically neutral words, whereas dad is a colloquial word and to commence stylistically a literary word. In Uzbek is a neutral word but aa, are colloquial.

Besides the lexical and grammatical meanings we can observe differential, functional and distributional meanings of a word. Differential meaning is the semantic component that serves to distinguish one word from others in words containing the same (identical) morphemes.

For example. note-book. The morpheme note serves to distinguish the word from other words: exercise-book, copy-book or: bookshelf, bookcase. The functional meaning may be seen in derivational morphemes. If we see the words with the suffixes -ment, -er, -ity, -or we say that they are nouns.. establishment, plurality, teacher, translator, sailor. If -ful, -less, -able, -al etc. are present in words we say adjectives. For example. helpful, handless, guiltless, readable, national, writable, operational, openable, proposal.

The distributional meaning is found in all words having more than one morpheme. It is found in the arrangement and order of morphemes making up the word. For example. teacher but not ertach.

boyisness but not nessboyish.

Different types of the lexical meaning of one and the same word are considered its lexico-semantic variants. Le-xico-semantic variants in their correlations and interconnection form the semantic structure of the word. In the semantic structure of the word there is a special information on the members and the conditions of communication. The intercourse and personal contacts in real situations may reveal the pragmatic aspect of the lexical meaning of the word,

For example. Hallo is used in unofficial situations giving a signal at the same time to the friendly relations of the members of the communication.

The meaning of a word may be realized by its structure. A direct connection between the structural pattern of the word and its meaning is called the motivation of a word. Motivation may be morphological, phonetical and semantic. The relationship between morphemic structure and meaning is called morphological motivation. From this point of view the words may be motivated and non-motivated. For example. sing, tell, eat, read, open, go are non-motivated words because each of them has simple stem and one morpheme. If we can see a direct connection between the structural pattern of the word and its meaning we say that this word is motivated. So in most cases the derived and compound words are motivated and simple words are non-motivated. For example. eatable, readable, reader, doll-faced, singer are motivated but eat, read, doll, sing are non-motivated: ring, finger are non-motivated but finger-ring is motivated. The words may be partially motivated. For example. cranberry is partially motivated because the morpheme cran has no meaning.

If we see the connection between the phonetic structure of a word and its meaning we say that the word is phonetically motivated. For example. cuckoo, boom, cock-a doodle-doo, bow-wow, mew-mew, etc.

When the meaning of a word is metaphorically extended or when a word is used as a metaphorically extention of the central meaning we say the word is semantically motivated. For example. He is my mothers. Here mother is used metaphorically, the whole sentence means that he looks after me like my mother*. So the word mother is semantically motivated. He is a fox. (He is cunny), fox is semantically motivated.

We must differ two approaches to the study of motivation: 1) diachronic, 2) synchronic.

For example. the word essex, norfolk, suttom were non-moti vated in old English.

But East - Saxon, North + Folk, Sou-th Town in Modern English are motivated. If we compare the motivation of words in different languages it may differ


For example. long- haired -- - - motivated in 3 languages. But overcoat -- is motivated in English, ---non- motivated, curtain -- non- motivated, -- motivated, apa -- non- motivated.

If we use a word in a transferred meaning, metaphorical or otherwise the result will be semantically motivated: it will be transpa-rant thanks to the connection between the two senses. Thus, when we speak of the root of an evil, the branches of a science, an offensive nipped in the bud, the flower of a country' s manhood, the fruits of peace or family -- tree, the use of these botanical terms is not arbitrary but motivated by some kind of similarity or analogy between their concrete meanings and the abstract phenomena to which they are applied*. (S. Ulltnann)

3. Semantic structure of the word

It is generally known that most words convey several concepts and thus possess the corresponding number of meanings. Most English words have many meanings. It should be noted that the wealth of expressive resources of a language largely depends on the degree to which polysemy has developed in the language. Sometimes people who are not very well informed in linguistic matters claim that a language is lacking in words if the need arises for the same word to be applied to several different phenomena. In actual fact, it is exactly the opposite.

When analysing the semantic structure of a polysemantic word, it is necessary to distinguish between two levels of analysis.

On the first level, the semantic structure of a word is treated as a system of meanings. For example, the semantic structure of the noun "fire" may be described in the following way:

1. -

2. -

3. , - ,

4. - ?

5. , - ?

Meaning (I) holds a kind of dominance over the other meanings conveying the concept in the most general way whereas meanings (II)--(V) are associated with special circumstances, aspects and instances of the same phenomenon.

Meaning (I) (generally referred to as the main meaning) presents the centre of the semantic structure of the word holding it together. It is mainly through meaning (I) that meanings (II)--(V) (they are called secondary meanings) can be associated with one another, some of them exclusively through meaning (I) - the main meaning, as, for instance, meanings (IV) and (V).

It would hardly be possible to establish any logical associations between some of the meanings of the noun "bar" except through the main meaning[l]:

It is not in every polysemantic word that such a centre can be found.

Some semantic structures are arranged on a different principle. In the following list of meanings of the adjective "dull" one can hardly hope to find a generalized meaning covering and holding together the rest of the semantic structure.

Dull, adj.

1. A dull book, a dull film - uninteresting, monotonous, boring.

2. A dull student - slow in understanding, stupid.

3. Dull weather, a dull day, a dull colour - not clear or bright.

4. A dull sound - not loud or distinct.

5. A dull knife - not sharp.

6. Trade is dull - not active.

7. Dull eyes (arch.) - seeing badly.

8. Dull ears (arch.) - hearing badly.

There is something that all these seemingly miscellaneous meanings have in common, and that is the implication of deficiency, be it of colour (m. Ill), wits (m. 11), interest (m. 1), sharpness (m. V), etc. The implication of insufficient quality, of something lacking, can be clearly distinguished in each separate meaning.

Dull, adj.

1. Uninteresting - deficient in interest or excitement.

2. ... Stupid - deficient in intellect.

3. Not bright- deficient in light or colour.

4. Not loud - deficient in sound.

5. Not sharp - deficient in sharpness.

6. Not active - deficient in activity.

7. Seeing badly - deficient in eyesight.

8. Hearing badly - deficient in hearing.

-The transformed scheme of the semantic structure of "dull" clearly shows that the centre holding together the complex semantic structure of this word is not one of the meanings but a certain component that can be easily singled out within each separate meaning.

On the second level of analysis of the semantic structure of a word: each separate meaning is a subject to structural analysis in which it may be represented as sets of semantic components.

The scheme of the semantic structure of "dull" shows that the semantic structure of a word is not a mere system of meanings, for each separate

meaning is subject to further subdivision and possesses an inner structure of its own.

Therefore, the semantic structure of a word should be investigated at both these levels: 1) of different meanings, 2) of semantic components within each separate meaning. For a monosemantic word (i. e. a word with one meaning) the first level is naturally excluded.

The semantic structure of a word is the system and unity of all the types of meaning that a certain word possesses. The semantic structure has the national character,

The semantic structure of correlated words of two different languages can never cover each other. The major meaning is in most cases identical in two languages but others usually differ. The meaning male child can be found both in the English word boy and in its Uzbek equivalent 6o but the meaning servant can't be found in the Uzbek word 6o.

The emotive value of the word may be different. For examplethe Russian word may have ironical meaning whereas the English word is never used in this meaning. The Russian language has more morphological means than the English one. In English we have girl -- girlie, in Uzbek -- ?,?, ??; but in Russian -- , , , , ; In English -- house, in Uzbek -- , but in Russian --- , .

4. Meaning and context

It's important that there is sometimes a chance of misunderstanding when a word is used in a certain meaning but accepted by a listener or reader in another.

It is common knowledge that context prevents from any misunderstanding of meanings. For instance, the adjective dull, if used out of context, would mean different things to .different people or nothing at all. It is only in combination with other words that it reveals its actual meaning; a dull pupil, a dull play, dull weather, etc. Sometimes, however, such a minimum context fails to reveal the meaning of the word, and it may be correctly interpreted only through a second-degree context as in the following example: The man was large, but his wife was even fatter. The word fatter here serves as a kind of indicator pointing that large describes a stout man and not a big one.

Current research in semantics is largely based on the assumption that one of the more promising methods of investigating the semantic structure of a word is by studying the word's linear relationships with other words in typical contexts, i. e. its combinability or collocability.

The scientists have established that the semantics of words which regularly appear in common contexts are correlated and, therefore, one of the words within such a pair can be studied through the other. They are so intimately correlated that each of them casts, as it were, a kind of permanent reflection on the meaning of its neighbour. If the verb "to compose" is frequently used with the object "music", so it is natural to expect that certain musical associations linger in the meaning of the verb "to composed". How closely the negative evaluative connotation of the adjective "notorious" is linked with the negative connotation of the nouns with which it is regularly associated: "a notorious criminal", "thief, "gangster", "gambler", "-gossip", "liar", "miser", etc.

All this leads us to the conclusion that context is a good and reliable key to the meaning of the word.

It's a common error to see a different meaning in every new set of combinations. For instance: "an angry man", "an angry letter". Is the adjective "angry" used in the same meaning in both these contexts or in two different meanings? Some people will say "two" and argue that, on the one hand, the combinability is different ("man" --name of person; "letter" -name of object) and, on the other hand, a letter cannot experience anger. True, it cannot; but it can very well convey the anger of the person who wrote it. As to the combinability, the main point is that a word can realize the same meaning in different sets of combinability. For instance, in the pairs "merry children", "merry laughter", "merry faces", "merry songs" the adjective "merry" conveys the same concept 1. .. // - 2003/1 of high spirits.

The task of distinguishing between the different meanings of a word and the different variations of combinability is actually a question of singling out the different denotations within the semantic structure of the word.

1) a sad woman,

2) a sad voice,

3) a sad story,

4) a sad scoundrel (- an incorrigible scoundrel)

5) a sad night (= a dark, black night, arch, poet.)

Obviously the first three contexts have the common denotation of sorrow whereas in the fourth and fifth contexts the denotations are different. So, in these five contexts we can identify three meanings of "sad".

Answer the following questions.

I. What is semasiology busy with? 2. What does semasiology study? 3. What is the definition of the term mea-ning of a word! 4. What is understood by the referential approach to meaning? 5. What is understood by the functional approach to meaning? 6. What is the difference between the grammatical meaning and the lexical meaning? 7. What types of the lexical meaning do you know? 8. What are the differential and functional meanings of the word? 9. What is the motivation of the word? 10. What types of motivation do you know?

II. Change of meaning of words

1. Causes of semantic chnge

The meaning of a word is a changeable category. The causes of semantic changes may be either linguistic or extra-linguistic. Extra-linguistic causes are different changes in the life of the people speaking the language, the coming into-existence of new notions and objects, changes in economic and social life, changes of ideas and etc. For example. the word mill originally meant py (? ). The development of industry gave use to the meaning mill. For example. a cotton mill, a steel mill. The word atom meant indivisible substance. Now the scientists discovered that atom can be divided and this changes our concept of atomic indivisibility. A change in the meaning may be brought about by different linguistic developments in the lexical system as a whole.

The word may change its meaning by the shortening of a word group. For example. The old meaning of the verb to starve was to die and it was often used in the word group to starve of hunger. The modern meaning of the verb to starve is the result of the shortening of the word group, to starve of hungers.

The meaning of the word weekly a newspaper published weekly is the shortened form of the word group weekly newspapers, a musicals is the shortened form of the word group a musical comedy etc.

The appearance of a new word which is synonymous to the word already existing in the language may cause a change in the meanings of words. For example. The old meaning of the word deer was an animal. It was used for all kinds of animals. When the Latin word animal came into the English language the meaning of the word deer was changed. Now it is used to name only one kind of animal (deer--, ?).

The words may change their meaning when they are used transferently, i. e. metaphorically or metonymically. A metaphor is a shift of meanings caused by the likeness (semilarity of some property of two objects). Metaphor is based on the semilarities of objects.

For example. The words warm and cold may be used to denote the certain qualities of human voices because of some kind of similarity between these qualities and warm and cold temperature warm temperature cold temperature

The usage of proper names for common nouns may cause a metaphor too. Some scientists use widely some characters. For example. He is a pushkin of our days (he is a very strong poet). She is a Pushkin. Sometimes the names of animals are used to denote the human qualities. For example. She is a fox (she is very cunny). She is a parrot (She is talkative).

We must differ a metaphor from a simile. In simile we use before the words as and like. For example. She is a monkey (metaphor). She is like a monkey (similar).

Thus, a metaphor is a transfer of the meaning on the basis of comparison. Herman Paul points out that metaphor can be based on different types of similarity:

a) similarity of shape, For example. head (of a cabbage), bottleneck, teeth (of a saw, a comb);

b) similarity of position, For example. foot (of a page, of a mountain), head (of a procession);

c) similarity of function, behaviour For example. a whip (an official in the British Parliament whose duty is to see that members were present at the voting);

d) similarity of colour, For example. orange, hazel, chestnut etc.

In some cases we have a complex similarity, For example. the leg of a table has a similarity to a

human leg in its shape, position and function.

Many metaphors are based on parts of a human body, For example. an eye of a needle, arms and mouth of a river, head of an army.

A special type of metaphor is when proper names become common nouns, For example. philistine - a mercenary person, vandals - destructive people, a Don Juan - a lover of many women etc.

Metonymy is a shift of meaning or a change of meaning caused by a close, stable, constant connection between two or more objects. Metonomy should not be mixed up with a metaphor. In metonymy a part is used instead of the whole but metaphor is based on the likeness. For example. She has a fox on (meto-nomy). It means she wears fur-coat made out of the fur of a fox. black shirts was given for fascists in Italy because the fascists wore black shirts, red - coat means British soldiers because they wore red uniforms. The kettle is boiling (water is boiling). Sometimes names of human organs may be used metonymically.

For example. Will you lend me your ear? (listen to me). He has a good hand. (He has a good handwriting.)

The name of a person can be used to denote a thing connected with that person. For example. Do you know Byron? We mean his poems not himself. For example. I like Pushkin means I like his works. Geographical names are also used metonymically. For example. boston -- a name of town -- material. Champaine -- a province in France.

It is a transfer of the meaning on the basis of contiguity. There are different types of metonymy: a) the material of which an object is made may become the name of the object, For example. a glass, boards, iron etc; b) the name of the place may become the name of the people or of an object placed there, For example. the House - members of Parliament, Fleet Street - bourgeois press, the White House - the Administration of the USA etc; c) names of musical instruments may become names of musicians, For example. the violin, the saxophone; d) the name of some person may becom a common noun, For example. boycott was originally the name of an Irish family who were so much disliked by their neighbours that they did not mix with them, sandwich was named after Lord Sandwich who was a gambler. He did not want to interrupt his game and had his food brought to him while he was playing cards between two slices of bread not to soil his fingers; e) names of inventors very often become terms to denote things they invented, For example. Watt, Oni, Roentgen etc; f) some geographical names can also become common nouns through metonymy, For example. Holland (linen fabrics), Brussels (a special kind of carpets), china (porcelain), astrachan ~ ( a sheep fur) etc.

2. The result of semantic change

The result of semantic change can be observed in: 1) restriction (or narrowing) of meaning. Restriction of meaning is the capacity of a word to narrow its meaning in the course of historical development; 2) extention (or widening) of meaning. It is the expantion of polysemy in the course of its historical development, i.e. it is the widening of meaning. For example. The word fowl meant in old English any bird but in modern English it denotes a domestic hen or cock, -- old meaning of affection was --any feeling, new meaning is a feeling of love. The word junk originally meant sailor's word meaning old rope. Now it means rubbish, useless stuff. This is an example of extention of meaning. The word meat originally meant food now it .means one special type of food. This is an example of narrowing of meaning. As a result of change of meaning a word may get a new meaning which will be broader or more generalized than the old one. For example. season. The old meaning of the word season was spring. The new meaning is any part o| the year. Here is another example. The old meaning of to bootleg was to sell alcocholic drinks illegally New meaning is to sell anything illegally.

The meaning of a word may become ameliorated as a result of semantic change. For example. the old meaning of the word nice was foolish, now it means good, fine.

The old meaning of marshal was a servant who looked after horses. New meaning is a high military rank (ap).

The meaning of a word may become deteriorated as a result of semantic change. For example. The old meaning of villain was farm labourers, new meaning is (). The old meaning of knave was-- (), new meaning is ? (),

3. Specialization of Meaning

It is a gradual process when a word passes from a general sphere to some special sphere of communication, For example. case has a general meaning circumstances in which a person or a thing is. It is specialized in its meaning when used in law (a law suit), in grammar (a form in the paradigm of a noun), in medicine (a patient, an illness). The difference between these meanings is revealed in the context.

The meaning of a word can specialize when it remains in the general usage. It happens in the case of the conflict between two absolute synonyms when one of them must specialize in its meaning to remain in the language, For example. The native word meat had the meaning food, this meaning is preserved in the compound sweetmeats. The meaning edible flesh was formed when the word food, its absolute synonym, won in the conflict of absolute synonyms (both words are native). The English verb starve was specialized in its meaning after the Scandinavian verb die was borrowed into English. Die became the general verb with this meaning because in English there were the noun death and the adjective dead. Starve got the meaning to die of hunger The third way of specialization is the formation of Proper names from common nouns, it is often used in toponimics, For example. The City - the business part of London, Oxford university town in England, the Tower -originally a fortress and palace, later -a prison, now - a museum. The fourth way of specialization is ellipsis. In such cases primaraly we have a word-group of the type attribute + noun, which is used constantly in a definite situation. Due to it the attribute can be dropped and the noun can get the meaning of the whole word-group, For example. room originally meant space, this meaning is retained in the adjective roomy and word combinations: no room for, to take room, to take no room. The meaning of the word room was specialized because it was often used in the

combinations: dining room, sleeping room which meant space for dining , space for sleeping.

4. Generalization of Meaning

It is a process contrary to specializaton, in such cases the meaning of a word becomes more general in the course of time.

The transfer from a concrete meaning to an abstract one is most frequent, For example. ready (a derivative from the verb ridam - ride) meant prepared for a ride, now its meaning is prepared for anything. Journey was borrowed from French with the meaning one day trip, now it means a trip of any duration.

All auxiliary verbs are cases of generalization of their lexical meaning because they developed a grammatical meaning : have, be, do, shall , will when used as auxiliary verbs.They have their lexical meaning when they are used as notional verbs or modal verbs, For example. I have several books by this writer and I have read some books by this author. In the first sentence the verb have has the meaning possess, in the second sentence it has no lexical meaning, its grammatical meaning is to form Present Perfect.

III. Polysemy

1. Definition of polysemy

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. For example. 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/, For example. We can say a blanket insurance policy.

There are some words in the language which are mono semantic, 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. For example. 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. For example. 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.

So, thus, polysemy is the existence within one word of several connected meanings. These meanings appeared as a result of the development and changes of its original meaning. Words are divided into two: polysemantic and monosemantic words. Polysemantic words are words which have more than two meanings. Monosemantic words have only one meaning. For example. The word man has eleven meanings in modern English: 1) () 2) ( ) 3) () 4) (?? ) 5) () 6) () 7) () 8) () 9) () 10) () 11) ()

The word room has 3 meanings: 1) () 2) () 3) (?).

The word new has 8 meanings: 1) () 2) , (?) 3) (? ) 4) ()

5) () 6) (?) 7) (? ) 8) ()

Paint has 7 meanings:1. (?); 2. (ᢸ? ?); 3. , (?); 4. ( ?);5. , (?); 6. ( ?);7. (?)

Picture has 9 meanings:

1. , ();

2. , ();

3. ();

4. (- , );

5. , - ( );

6. ();

7. ();

8. . , (, );

9. (? );

For example. She is the picture of her mother, to form a clear picture of smth, living pictures in the air.


white cloud (? )

white collar . ()

white hair (? )

white lie ( )

white house (? )

white race (? )

white witch (? ?)

Monosemantic words are mostly scientific terms: hydrogen, lasar, etc.

The frequency of polysemy in different languages is a variable depending on a number of factors. The progress of civilization will make it necessary not only to form new words but to add fresh meanings to old ones: in Breal's formula, the more senses a term has accumulated, the more senses a term has accumulated the more diverse aspects of intellectual and social activity it represents. It would be interesting to explore over a wider field the relation between polysemy and cultural progress.

Meanwhile, the frequency of polysemy will also depend on purely linguistic factors. As already noted, languages where derivation and composition are sparingly used will tend to fill gaps in vocabulary by adding new meanings to existing terms. Similarly polysemy will arise more often in generic words whose meaning varies according to context than in specific terms whose sense is less subject to variation. The relative frequency of polysemy in various languages may thus provide a further criterion for semantic typology, though once again it is hard to see now this feature could be exactly measured. (S. Utlmann),

Polysemy is a fertile source of ambiguty in language. In a limited number of cases, two major meanings of the same word are differentiated by formal means: for example, flexion (brothers--brethren, hanged--hung); word order (ambassador extraordinary -- extraordinary ambassador; spelling (discreet -- discrete, draft -- draught etc). In the last majority of cases, however, the context alone will suffice to exclude all irrelevant senses. When all these safeguards break down, a conflict between two or more incompatible meanings will ensure and this may lead to the disappearance of some of these meanings, or even to that of the word itself. In the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to say whether there are any general tendencies at work in these conflicts and in the way they are resolved. (S. Ultmann).

2. Synchronic and diachronic analysis of polysemy

Polysemy may be analised from two ways: diachronically and synchronically. If polysemy is analised diachronical-ly it is understood as the development of the semantic structure of the word or we establish how the meaning of the word has changed whether it has got new meanings in the course of the development of the language. From the historical point of view one of the meanings of the word will be primary meaning; that is such a meaning of a word which was first registered. All other meanings are secondary meanings. The term secondary meaning shows that the meaning appeared in the language after the primary meaning was already established.

For example. the primary meaning of the word fox is Jinca, , ( ?) but such meanings of this word as ( ), nep ( y) are secondary meanings. Here are other examples: eye the primary meaning is (), secondary is (?), ( ), ( ), ( ? ); father -- the primary meaning is (oa), secondary is ( ? ), (? ?), ( , ) etc

fish -- the primary meaning is (?), secondary is , (),

Synchronic study of word meaning words having one meaning are called monosemantic. Polysemy is the result of one process of the acqumilation of meanings. The principal cause of polysemy according to Vinogradov's theory is discrepancy between the limited number of words and the unlimited number of things meant.

1. Frequancy value. The more often a word is used the more meanings it has. For example. Man, hand, take, see are very often used in speech and they have many meanings.

2. Syllabic structure of words. The shorter a word is the more meanings it has. The more simple morphological structure a word has, the more meanings it has. For example. Man, woman, table, cat, head, hand etc.

3. Stylistic reference of words A word stylistically neutral having no emotive charge has more meanings while a word with a narrow stylistic reference and has less meanings. Father- daddy, a horse- steed, girl- girlie

From diachronical point of view were distinguished: primary meaning and secondary meaning. From synchronical point of view we distinguish between the central meaning and marginal meaning. Central meaning is the most generalized meaning. This is clear to us without any context. Marginal meanings are semantically connected with the central meaning, and they as if group around it.

Synchronically polysemy is understood as the coexistence of various meanings of the word at a certain historical period of the development of English.

Synchronicaliy the main problem of polysemy is to establish whether all the meanings of a word are equally important. We divide the meanings of a word into two: the major (or basic) meaning of a word and the minor meaning. In most cases the surrounding context points out quite clearly which of the meanings of a word is intended

For example. 1. It is a fox. Here it shows that the word fox is used in the meaning ().

2. He is a fox. The presence of he shows that fox is in the meaning of ().

3. She will fox him. We find the meaning from the position of fox. It stands after the auxiliary verb will and the direct object him. Here it is used in the meaning of (?)

The meaning which is not dependent on context is the major (or basic) meaning of the word and the meanings which are dependent on the context are minor meanings. By context we mean the minimal stretch of speech determining each individual meaning of the word. For example. to make means to produce smth. This is its basic meaning but other meanings are minor meanings because they can be found only in a context.

The meaning of a word may be determined either by its lexical or by its grammatical context. For example. the verb to take in such lexical distributions as: take + tea (coffee, medicine)--its meaning is (?); take + care -- (? ??); take + off -- (?); to take + tram, the metro, a bus -- cec a ... (, ?); The meaning of the adjective ill is brought out only by a syntactical pattern in which ill is used as a predicative (ex, the man is ill) while the syntactical pattern in which the word ill is used as an attribute, brings out the meaning-- () an ill man -- ( ).

3. Polysemy and frequency of the word

The comparative study of the frequency value of different meanings of polysemantic words shows that the frequency value of individual meanings is different. For example. The meaning of the word table - (a piece of furniture) possesses the highest frequency value and comprises 52% of all uses of this word.

The meanings of polysemantic words have different stylistic references. For example. jerk in the meaning of sudden movement belongs to a neutral style but in the meaning of an odd persons it is a slang (mostly expressive and ironical words). Stylistically neutral meanings are very frequent. In any historical period as a result of semantic development the secondary meaning of the word may become the central (major meaning of the word).

Polysemantic words are in most cases frequent, etymologically -- native or morphologically -simple (which has simple stem). From the phonetical point of view they have mostly one syllable, stylistically they are neutral words. For example. heart, work, do, talk, etc.

There is however, another aspect of polysemy which can be more precisely quantified: its relation to word-frequency. By systematically comparing the relative frequency of various words with the number of senses in which they are used, the late Q. K. Zipf arrived at an interesting conclusion which he termed the principle of diversity of meanings. According to Zipf there is a direct relationship between the number of different meanings of a word and its relative frequency of occurrences. He even tried to find a mathematical formula for this relationship: his calculations suggested that different meanings of a word will tend to be equal to the square root of its relative frequency (with the possible exception of the few dozen most frequent words. (S. Utlman)

IV. Homonyms

1. The definition of homonyms

Homonyms are words which are 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, For example. care from caru and care from carian. They can be also formed by means of conversion, For example. to slim from slim, to water from water. They can be formed with the help of the same suffix from the same stem, For example. 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, For example. 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, For example. fair from Latin feria and fair from native fager /blond/. Two borrowings can coincide For example. base from the French base /Latin basis/ and base /low/ from the Latin bas /Italian basso/.

Homonyms can develop through shortening of different words, For example. cab from cabriolet, cabbage, cabin.

In Modern English homonyms are widely spread. Homonymic relation can be found not only in words but also: 1) between morphemes, For example. It's raining. Flattering won't help. Fill your glasses. All is well that ends well; 2) between words and morphemes, For example. He couldn't get over the shock. The watch is shockproof; 3) between words and word-combinations, For example. Don't run away. The runaway was caught; 4) between words and sentences. For example. I don't care. He took and I don't care attitude.

Homonyms differ in their wordformational activity. For exampleaffect1- has 8 derivatives (affective, affected, affectedly, affectation, affection, affectional, affectionally) whereas, affect2 has 3, (affectation, affecting, affected)

The interdependence and interrelations of different peculiarities of homonymic pairs demand further investigation.

2. 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, For example bow -/bau/ - and /bou/ -; homophones that is words pronounced identically but spelled differently, For example. night - and knight - p.

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, For example. 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, For example. 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, For example. 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, For example. 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, For example. 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 For example. 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, For example. 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, For example. for - and for - o.

Homonyms must be studied diachronically and synchronically. Diachronically we study the origin of homonyms, the sources of homonyms, the time of their appearance in the language. Synchronically we analyse the present pecularities of homonyms, their classification etc.

Homonyms are classified into: 1) homonyms proper; 2) homophones; 3) homographs.

Homonyms proper are words identical in pronunciation and spelling and different in meaning. For example. fast --quickly, fasta -- to do smth. quickly.

back -- (op?aa), back2-- c (op?a), spring1 -- (),

spring2 -- (6a?op), spring3-- (?).

Homophones are words of the same sound form but of different spelling and meaning. For example. air -- (xao), him -- hymn, heir -- (), knight -- night pail -- (,) piece -- peace, pale -- (?), write -- right, son -- (?), see -- sea, sun -- (?), read -- reed, pray -- prey.

Homographes are words which are different in sound and in meaning but identical in spelling. For example. lead [li; d], lead [led], tear [ ] tear [t ], wind [wind] wind [waind], bow [bou] bow [bau].

We can approach homonyms from a different point of view and classify them into lexical and grammatical homonyms. Lexical homonyms are words of the same part of speech but of quite a different meaning, so that there is no semantic relation between them, For example. piece1 -- () peace 2 -- ().

Grammatical homonyms are words of different parts of speech:

work -- (paa), to work -- ? (pa), light -? () light -- ().

Wide - spread grammatical homonymy constitutes one of the specific features of English words. Grammatical homonyms are extremely numerous in the English language, (M. A. Kashcheyeva and others)

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