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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Îòïðàâèòü ñâîþ õîðîøóþ ðàáîòó â áàçó çíàíèé ïðîñòî. Èñïîëüçóéòå ôîðìó, ðàñïîëîæåííóþ íèæå
Ñòóäåíòû, àñïèðàíòû, ìîëîäûå ó÷åíûå, èñïîëüçóþùèå áàçó çíàíèé â ñâîåé ó÷åáå è ðàáîòå, áóäóò âàì î÷åíü áëàãîäàðíû.
Prof. Smirnitsky has suggested his classification of homonyms based on the lexico-grammatical principle. He distinguished the following types of homonyms:
1) lexical homonyms are those words which belong to one part of speech but they differ only in their lexical meaning. For example. seal n --a sea animal
seal n--a design printed on paper, stamp. hairn -- haren, balln -- balln
2) Lexico-grammatical homonyms are those words which differ in their lexical and grammatical meanings. For example. sea -- to see seal n -- a sea animal, to seal v-- to close tightly, work n -- to work u, well adv -- well n -êîëîäåö (?óäó?). There may be cases when lexico-grammatical homonyms are observed within the same part of speech. For example. The words «found» (past tense of «to finds) and «found» (present tense of «to found») differ both grammatically and lexically.
3) grammatical homonymy is the homonymy of the different wordforms of one and the same word (part of speech). For example. boys1 -- boy's2, asked1-- past tense asked2 -p .II.
3. The sources of homonyms
There are some sources of homonyms. They are:
1) divergent meaning development of one polysemantic word. Different meanings of the same word move so far away from each other (differ from each other) and they become two different words.
For example., Spring1 -- ñàêðàìî? (ïðûãàòü), spring2 --áóëî? (ðîäíèê), spring3 --áà?îð (âecía), can be etymologically traced back to the same source, «flower» and «flour» which originally were one word (M. E. flour). The meaning was «the flower» and «the finest part of wheat», now they are different words.
2) many homonyms came as a result of converging sound development. For example. OE ic and OE aze have become identical in pronunciation. I pron and eye (n.), love (v) --love n (OE lufu -- lufian)
3) many homonyms arose from conversion, they have related meanings For example. paper--to paper, support -- to support. Some linguists think that converted pairs must not be included in homonyms. This question demands further investigation.
4) The formation of different grammatical forms may cause homonyms: girl's -- girls.
5) borrowed words may become homonyms as a result of phonetic convergence._
For example. Scandinavian «ras» and French race are homonymous in English:
race1 --ïîéãà (cocòÿçàíèå), race2 -- peéñ case1 --êåëèøèê (ïàäåæ), case2 --÷åìîäàí, case3 --âàçèÿò (ñëó÷àé)
4. The difference between homonimy and polycemy
In polysemy we deal with the different meanings of the same word. In homonomy we have different words which have their own meanings. The problem of difference between polysemy and homonymy is a subject of discussion among the linguists.
«... The trouble of today is, however, that lexical homonyms often enough come together with polysemy. There is no hard and fast line of democration between the meanings of a polysemantic word and lexical homonymy. For instance, there is hardly any semantic connection in Modern English between nail - êîãîòü and nail -- ãâîçäü notwithstanding the fact that both of them may be traced back to different meanings of one and the same word». (M. A. Kas-hcheyeva)
In most cases the semantic definition of words may be the criteria for the difference of polysemy and homonymy. For example.
1) table -- piece of furniture consisting of a flat top with (usu. four) supports (called legs)
2) table -- (sing, only) people seated at a table
3) table -- (sing, only) food provided at a table
4) table -- list of orderly arrangement of facts, information, etc (use in columns)
We'll explain the second and the third meanings by substituting them with the help of the definition of the first meaning.
2) table -- people seated at a piece of furniture;
3) table -- food served at a piece of furniture. So these two meanings of the word «table» are the meanings of one word «table» because they can be substituted by the first meaning. The fourth meaning «òàáëèöà» can't be substituted by the first meaning (list -- number of names (persons, items) written or printed) This gives us the right that the fourth meaning of the word «table» is the homonym to the previous third meaning.
1) beam -- long horizontal piece of squared timber or of steel supported at both ends, used to carry the weight of a building etc;
2) beam -- horizontal cross timber in a ship, joining the sides and supporting the desk (s), the greatest width of a ship.
3) beam -- crosspiece of a balance, from which the scales hang.
4) beam -- ray or stream of light. The first, second and third meanings are defined by the common semantic component and they may be defined with the words «horizontal and «tirnber» and may be transformed by the first meaning of the word. But the fourth meaning has no common semantic component with the first, second and third meanings (stream -- steady frow (of light): light -- that which makes thing visible).
Some scientists say that the substitution of different meanings of words by the synonyms may help to differ homonyms from polysemantic words.
For example. voice1 -- sounds uttered in speaking (sound)
voice2 -- mode of uttering sounds in speaking (sound)
voice3-the vibration ol the vocal cords in sounds uttered (“sound”) voice4 - the form of the verb that express the relation of the subject to the action. voice1 - voice2 - voice3 are not homonyms although they have different meanings because they can by substute by the synonym “sound” as far as voice4 is concerned. It is a homonym because it can't be substituted by the word “sound”
V. Abayev gave etimological criterion. He says homonyms are wors which have different sources and onky coincides phonetically For example. race1 (O. N. ras), race.2 (F. race). I (O, E. ic)-- eye (O. E. eaze)
Thus, the first, second and third meanings are the different meanings of one polysemantic word «beam». But the fourth is a homonym to them.
«... the sense, it goes without saying, depends on the referent and the nature of the referent hfs to be defined by the context. Thus, the «cat» of «The cat sat on the mat» is different from the «cat» of «Bring back the cat for thugs and rapists». We cannot say that «cat» is a single word possessing two distinct meanings; there are two words phone-mically identical but semantically different; we call these «homonyms». The «cat» of the second sentence refers back etymologically -- by the grim fancy of «cat o'nine tailss-- to the cat of the hearthrug, but word -- origin can never be invoked, as we have already pointed out, in the examination of meanings. (A. Burgers)
1. Criteria of sunonymity
Words can be classified in different ways. The classification of words may be based upon: similarity of meanings and polarity of meanings of words. The similarity of meanings is found in synonymic groups.
Synonyms in their term are words coinciding in their emotional and stylistic fields.
Synonymy is one of modern linguistics1 most controversial problems. The very existence of words traditionally called synonyms is disputed by some linguists; the nature and essence of the relationships of these words is hotly debated and treated in quite different ways by the representatives of different linguistic schools.
... there has been, a good deal of work devoted to the investigation of lexical systems . . . with particular reference to such fields as kinship, colour, flora and fauna, weights and measures, military ranks, moral and aesthetic evaluation and various kinds of knowledge, skill and understanding. The results obtained have conclusively demonstrated the value of the structural approach to semantics, and have confirmed the pronouncements of such earlier scholars as Von Humboldt, de Saussure and Sapir to the effect that the vocabularies of different languages are nonisomorphic: that there are semantic distinctions made in one language which are not made in another . . . each language imposes a specific form on the priori undifferentiated substance of the content plane. (J. Lyons)
Even though one may accept that synonyms in the traditional meaning of the term are somewhat elusive and, to some extent, fictitious it is certain that there are words in any vocabulary which clearly develop regular and distinct relationships when used in speech.
In the following extract, in which a young woman rejects a proposal of marriage, the verbs like, admire and love, all describe feelings of attraction, approbation, fondness:
«I have always liked you very much. I admire your talent, but, forgive me, -- I could never love you as a wife should love her husband».
(From The Shivering Sands by V. Holt)
Yet, each of the three verbs, though they all describe more or less the same feeling of liking, describes it in its own way: "I like you, i. e. I have certain warm feelings towards you, but they are not strong enough for me to describe them as "love", -- so that like and love are in a way opposed to each other. . The duality of synonyms is, probably, their most confusing feature: they are somewhat the same, and yet they are most obviously different. Both as of their dual characteristics are essential for them to perform their function in speech: revealing different aspects, shades and variations of the same phenomenon.
"-- Was she a pretty girl?
-- I would certainly have called her attractive."
The second speaker in this short dialogue does his best to choose the word which would describe the girl most precisely: she was good-looking, but pretty is probably too good a word for her, so that attractive is again in a way opposed to pretty (not pretty, only attractive), but this opposition is, at the same time, firmly fixed on the sameness of pretty and attractive: essentially they both describe a pleasant appearance.
Here are some more extracts which confirm that synonyms add precision to each detail of description and show how the correct choice of a word from a group of synonyms may colour the whole text.
The first extract depicts a domestic quarrel. The infuriated husband shouts and glares at his wife, but "his glare suddenly softened into a gaze as he turned his eyes on the little girl" (i. e. he had been looking furiously at his wife, but when he turned his eyes on the child, he looked at her with tenderness).
The second extract depicts a young father taking his child for a Sunday walk.
"Neighbours were apt to smile at the long-legged bare-headed young man leisurely strolling along the street and his small companion demurely trotting by his side." (From Some Men and Women by B. Lowndes)
The synonyms stroll and trot vividly describe two different styles of walking, the long slow paces of the young man and the gait between a walk and a run of the short-legged child.
In the following extract an irritated producer is talking to an ambitious young actor:
"Think you can play Romeo? Romeo should smile, not grin, walk, not swagger, speak his lines, not mumble them." (I bid.)
Here the second synonym in each pair is quite obviously and intentionally contrasted and opposed to the first: "... smile, not grin." Yet, to grin means more or less the same as to smile, only, perhaps, denoting a broader and a rather foolish smile. In the same way to swagger means "to walk", but to walk in a defiant or insolent manner. Mumbling is also a way of speaking, but of speaking indistinctly or unintelligibly.
Synonyms are one of the language's most important expressive means. The above examples convincingly demonstrate that the principal function of synonyms is to represent the same phenomenon in different aspects, shades and variations.
A group of synonyms may be studied with the help of their dictionary definitions (definitional analysis). In this work the data from various dictionaries are analysed comparatively. After that the definitions are subjected to transformational operations (transformational analysis). In this way, the semantic components of each analysed word are singled out.
In modern research on synonyms the criterion of interchangeability is sometimes applied. According to this, synonyms are defined as words which are interchangeable at least in some contexts without any considerable alteration in denotational meaning.
This criterion of interchangeability has been much criticised. Every or almost every attempt to apply it to this or that group of synonyms seems to lead one to the inevitable conclusion that either there are very few synonyms or, else, that they are not interchangeable.
Synonyms are frequently said to be the vocabulary's colours. Attempts at ascribing to synonyms the quality of interchangeability are equal to stating that subtle tints in a painting can be exchanged without destroying the picture's effect.
All this does not mean that no synonyms are interchangeable. One can find whole groups of words with half-erased connotations which can readily be substituted one for another. The same girl can be described as pretty, good-looking, handsome or beautiful. Yet. even these words are far from being totally interchangeable. Each of them creates its own picture of human beauty. Here is an extract in which a young girl addresses an old woman: "I wouldn't say you'd been exactly pretty as a girl -- handsome is what I'd say. You've got such strong features."
(From The Stone Angel by M. Lawrence)
So, handsome is not pretty and pretty is not necessarily handsome. Perhaps they are not even synonyms? But they are. Both, the criterion of common denotation ("good-looking, of pleasing appearance") and even the dubious criterion of interchangeability seem to indicate that.
It is sufficient to choose any set of synonyms placing them in a simple context to demonstrate the point. Let us take, for example, the following synonyms. He glared at her (i. e. He looked at her angrily). He gazed at her (i. e. He looked at her steadily and attentively; probably with admiration or interest).
He glanced at her (i. e. He looked at her briefly and turned away). He peered at her (i. e. He tried to see her better, but something prevented: darkness, fog, weak eyesight).
These few simple examples are sufficient to show that each of the synonyms creates an entirely new situation which so sharply differs from the rest that any attempt at "interchanging" anything can only destroy the utterance devoiding it of any sense at all.
Consequently, it is difficult to accept interchangeability as a criterion of synonymy because the specific characteristic of synonyms, and the one justifying their very existence, is that they are not, cannot and should not be interchangeable.
In conclusion, let us stress that even if there are some synonyms which are interchangeable, it is quite certain that there are also others which are not. A criterion, if it is a criterion at all. should be applicable to all synonyms and not just to some of them. Otherwise it is not acceptable as a valid criterion.
2. Classification of synonyms
Synonyms are two or more words having the same essential meaning or, sometimes nearly the same meaning, but different shades of meanings. They are words coinciding in their notional just but different in their emotional or stylistic shades of meaning.
Synonyms usually fall into several groups:1)absolute synonyms; 2)phraseologic synonyms; 3)ideographic synonyms; 4)stylistic synonyms.
The only existing classification system for synonyms was established by Academician V. V. Vinogradov, the famous Russian scholar. In his classification system there are three types of synonyms: ideographic (which he defined as words conveying the same concept but differing in shades of meaning), stylistic (differing in stylistic characteristics) and absolute (coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics).
However, the following aspects of his classification system are open to question.
Firstly, absolute synonyms are rare in the vocabulary and, on the diachronic level, the phenomenon of absolute synonymy is anomalous and consequently temporary: the vocabulary system invariably tends to abolish it either by rejecting one of the absolute synonyms or by developing differentiation characteristics in one or both (or all) of them. Therefore, it does not seem necessary to include absolute synonyms, which are a temporary exception, in the system of classification.
The vagueness of the term "shades of meaning" has already been mentioned. Furthermore there seems to be no rigid demarcation line between synonyms differing in their shades of meaning and in stylistic characteristics, as will be shown later on. There are numerous synonyms which are distinguished by both shades of meaning and stylistic colouring. Therefore, even the subdivision of synonyms into ideographic and stylistic is open to question. A more modern and a more effective approach to the classification of synonyms may be based on the definition describing synonyms as words differing in connotations. It seems convenient to classify connotations by which synonyms differ rather than synonyms themselves. It opens up possibilities for tracing much subtler distinctive features within their semantic structures.
Synonyms are words different in their outer aspects, but identical or similar in their inner aspects. In English there are a lot of synonyms, because there are many borrowings, For example. hearty / native/ - cordial/ borrowing/. After a word is borrowed it undergoes desynonymization, because absolute synonyms are unnecessary for a language. However, there are some absolute synonyms in the language, which have exactly the same meaning and belong to the same style, For example. to moan, to groan; homeland, motherland etc. In cases of desynonymization one of the absolute synonyms can specialize in its meaning and we get semantic synonyms, For example.«city» /borrowed/, «town» /native/. The French borrowing «city» is specialized. In other cases native words can be specialized in their meanings, For example.«stool» /native/, «chair» /French/.
Sometimes one of the absolute synonyms is specialized in its usage and we get stylistic synonyms, For example.«to begin»/ native/, «to commence» /borrowing/. Here the French word is specialized. In some cases the native word is specialized, For example. «welkin» /bookish/, «sky» /neutral/.
Stylistic synonyms can also appear by means of abbreviation. In most cases the abbreviated form belongs to the colloquial style, and the full form to the neutral style, For example.«examination', «exam».
Among stylistic synonyms we can point out a special group of words which are called euphemisms. These are words used to substitute some unpleasant or offensive words, e.g «the late» instead of «dead», «to perspire» instead of «to sweat» etc.
Complete synonyms do not exist. Bloomfield says each linguistic form has a constant an 1 specific meaning.
«In contemporary linguistics it has become almost axiomatic that complete synonymy does not exist. In the words of Bloomfield each linguistic form has a constant and specific meaning. If the forms are phonemically different, we suppose that their meanings are also different. We suppose in short, that there are no actual synonyms». (S. Ullmann),
Polysemantic words can not be synonymous in all their meanings. For example.The verb «look» is a synonym of see, watch, observe, in the meaning of «ñìîòðåòü» but in another of its meaning it is synonymous with the verbs seem, appear (to look pale).
There are also phraseological synonyms, these words are identical in their meanings and styles but different in their combining with other words in the sentence, For example. «to be late for a lecture» but «to miss the train», «to visit museums» but «to attend lectures» etc.
Synonyms which differ in their denotational meanings are called ideographic synonyms. For example. Beautiful (usually about girls) and handsome (usually about men). These are ideographic synonyms but «to die--to pass away», the neutral words have their stylistically colourd words.
to see (neutral) but- to behold (bookish)
a girl (neutral) but- a maiden (poetic)
money (neutral) but- dough (colloquial)
food (neutral) but- grub (coloquial)
to live (neutral) but- to hand out (coloquial)
Prof. E. S. Aznaurova 1. Ý. Ñ. Àçíàóðîâà. Î÷åðêè ïî ñòèëèñòèêè ñëîâà. -Òàøêåíò. 1973 joints out that stylistic synonyms carry emotional evaluative information.
Synonyms are distributionally different words. For example. «too» «also» «as well» are synonyms. They always occur in different surroundings. The synonyms differ in their collocability. For example. We compare the collocability of synonyms «to book» and «to buy».
to book in advance to buy in advance
to book somebody to buy somebody
to book seats to buy seats
to buy cheaply to book cheaply
to buy from a person to book from a person
to buy a house to book a house
3. The dominant synonym
The dominant synonym expresses the notion common to all synonyms of the group in the most general way, without contributing any additional information as to the manner, intensity, duration or any attending feature of the referent. So, any dominant synonym is a typical basic-vocabulary word (see Ch. 2). Its meaning, which is broad and generalised, more or less "covers" the meanings of the rest of the synonyms, so that it may be substituted for any of them. It seems that here, at last, the idea of interchangeability of synonyms comes into its own. And yet. each such substitution would mean an irreparable loss of the additional information supplied by connotative components of each synonym. So, using to look instead of to glare, to stare, to peep, to peer we preserve the general sense of the utterance but lose a great deal in precision, expressiveness and colour.
The Dominant Synonym high frequency of usage. Broad combinability, i. e. ability to be used in combinations with various classes of words, broad general meaning. Lack of connotations. (This goes for stylistic con notations as well, so that neutrality as to style is also a typical feature of the dominant synonym.)
In each group of synonyms there is a word with the most general meaning, which can substitute any word in the group, For example.«piece» is the synonymic dominant in the group «slice)), «lump», «morseb). The verb « to look at)> is the synonymic dominant in the group «to stare», «to glance», «to peep». The adjective «red' is the synonymic dominant in the group «purple», «scarlet)), «crimsom>.
The attentive reader will have noticed much use was made of the numerous synonyms of the verb to look, and yet, the verb to look itself was never mentioned. That doesn't seem fair because it is, certainly, a verb which possesses the highest frequency of use compared with its synonyms, and so plays an important role in communication. Its role and position in relation to its synonyms is also of some importance as it presents a kind of centre of the group of synonyms, as it were, holding it together. Its semantic structure is quite simple: it consists only of denotative component and it has no connotations.
All (or, at least, most) synonymic groups have a "central" word of this kind whose meaning is equal to the denotation common to all the synonymic group. This word is called the dominant synonym.
Here are examples of other dominant synonyms with their groups:
To surprise -- to astonish -- to amaze -- to astound. To shout -- to yell -- to bellow -- to roar.
To shine -- to flash -- to blaze -- to gleam -- to glisten -- to sparkle -- to glitter -- to shimmer -- to glimmer.
To tremble -- to shiver -- to shudder -- to shake.
To make -- to produce -- to create -- to fabricate -- to manufacture.
Angry --furious -- enraged. Fear -- terror -- horror.
4. The Source of synonyms
When speaking about the sources of synonyms, besides desynonymization and abbreviation, we can also mention the formation of phrasal verbs, For example «to give up» - «to abandon)), «to cut down» - «to diminish)).
The main sourses of synonyms are:
1) borrowings: to ask--to question: (F)--to interrogate. (L) to begin (A, S) -- to commence (F) --to initiate (L-- rise (F) -- ascend (L);
2) The formation of verb -f adverb (V + adv) combinations like «have a smoke».
to rest -- to have a rest to swim -- to have a swim, to smoke -- to have a smoke;
3) shortening: vacation -- vac, doctor -- doc, sister -- sis;
4) conversion: laughter -- laugh, 5) many set expressions con
sisting of a verb with a postpositive element form synonymsj For example. to choose -- to pick out, to continue -- to go on, to return -- to bring back. |
6) euphemisms, i, e. words which are used instead of unpleasant words: For example. drunk-merry, ledger-paying guest, to die -- to go away, commandment -- command.
7) slang, i. e. emotionally coloured words which are the secondary names of objects. For example. ñîêðóøèòåëü, -- crusher (ïîëèöåéñêèé), òþðìà-- can (äîñëîâíà êîíñåðâíàÿ áàíêà), óáèòü -- to bump off - (äîñëîâíà ïðèñòóêíóòü), êàçíèòü -- to fry -- (äîñëîâíà çàðàæèòü), ãîëîâà--bean (äîñëîâíà áîá) èëè mug (äîñëîâíà êðóæêà).
5. Collocation of words
R.H. Robins states that «collocation» is meant the habitual association of a word in a language with other particular words in sentences. One of the meanings of «night» is its collocability with «dark» and of «dark», of course, collocation with «night». Word groups like «bright night», «dark days .... «White coffee», «black coffee», «white race» all have a range of situation of reference. Collocation is distinct from syntax in that one is concerned in collocation with each word as an individual lexical item in the company of other words as individual lexical items, and not, as in syntax, part of the grammatical level of analysis, with words as members of classes in relation to other words also as members of classes. Speakers become accustomed to the collocations of words and the mutual expectancies that hold between them in utterances irrespective of their grammatical relations as members of word classes or as 'parts of speech'.
A rather obvious example is given by Firth, who made use of the term as part of the technical terminology of linguistics: dark collocates with night, and vice versa. 'One of the meanings of night is its collocability with dark, and of dark, of course, collocation with night.* This statement does not, of course, exclude word groups like bright night tdark day, but just because of the less usual concomitance of such pairs, they stand out as more prominent in an utterance in which they occur than do dark night and bright day.
Collocations such as these are manifestly related to the referential and situational meaning of the words concerned, but collocation and situational meaning are different parts of the total statement of the use of words. In some other cases collocations are habitual but less closely connected with extralinguistic reference. White coffee, black coffee, white wine, white race all have a range of situational reference, but apart from the collocation of the particular second words in each pair the word white would not, in most utterances, be used with reference to the colours of the referents. Similar collocations in English involving colour words, but further removed from reference to actual colour surfaces, are green with jealousy, red revolution, purple passage. Some words in languages have, at least in certain styles, very limited uses, almost wholly circum-scribable in their collocations. The word maiden, for example, in modern spoken English, is scarcely ever used as a synonym for girl, but principally occurs in collocation with a limited set of other words such as voyage, speech, over (in cricket), aunt, lady (English speakers can readily supply the others).
Conversely, words like the, a, if, when, and so on, are hardly subject to any collocational restrictions, and are found in almost any lexical company in the language that the grammar permits. For such words collocation is not a relevant part of the statement of their use; but with others (the majority) it is possible to set up collocational ranges of words with which given words will be found associated in their various grammatical constructions. The conjunction of two or more words quite outside the range of collocation and unprepared by any explanation, is likely to be incomprehensible or downright nonsensical, although its grammatical composition may be unexceptionable. A now famous example of such a grammatical but nonsensical sentence is: Colourless green ideas sleep furiously'.
Collocational ranges are unlike grammatical classes in that they are peculiar to each word, and almost certainly no two words in a language share exactly the same range and frequency of occurrence within a range, whereas grammatical classes may each contain many different words as members. Moreover collocations are far more personally variable among speakers of a single dialect within a language than are grammatical classes; borderline cases there are in grammar, where speakers may differ or be uncertain, as to whether a particular word form or word sequence is grammatically acceptable; but these are very few compared to the personal differences in collocational use and acceptance.
Sometimes different styles, types of utterance appropriate to specific types of situation are characterized by different collocations (consider the differences between He's a proper rascal and that is a very proper observation, and between we've had a nice time today and we have here a nice point to decide}.
Special cases of collocations are what are called idioms and cliches. Idiom is used to refer to habitual collocations of more than one word, that tend to be used together, with a semantic function not readily deducible from the other uses of its component words apart from each other (e. g. English she went for him hammer and tongs, they ran off hell for leather). Knowledge of such individual features of a language, acquired by long experience, but unnecessary for ordinary intercourse, usually comes at the end of one's learning of a foreign language; hence a complete and near-complete mastery of one is often said to be «idiomatic». Some idioms preserve in use words that have otherwise become obsolete (e. g. English to and fro, waifs and strays, kith and kin).
R.N. Robins thinks when a collocation has become almost universal in a particular style, the contribution of some of its words comes to be nugatory, and often appears irritating and inelegant to listeners or readers who do not relish (as some seem to) that mode of discourse For example.the house agent's desirable residence (residence), the politician's this modern age in which we are living (this age), the journalist's inside information (information); the reader will be painfully able to multiply the examples from.his own experience]. Cliches of this sort form a notable part of the public speaking style of many politicians all over the world, presumably because of intellectual laziness or in the hope of appealing to the emotions of people in political meetings, broadcasts, and the like, by the repeated use of words, such as freedom, peace, etc., to which favourable responses are normally accorded; cliche-ridden talk is a good deal easier to produce than a serious examination of current political problems. (R. H. Robins)
1. Definition of Antonyms. Classification of antonyms
lexicology antonym semantic
Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of speech, identical in style, expressing contrary or contradictory notions. Antonyms are words which belong to the same part of speech and have contrary meanings. For example. kind -- cruel, good --bad, big -- small, little -- much.
V.N. Comissarov in his dictionary of antonyms classified them into two groups : absolute or root antonyms «late» - «early» and derivational antonyms «to please' - «to displease». Absolute antonyms have different roots and derivational antonyms have the same roots but different affixes. In most cases negative prefixes form antonyms / un-, dis-, non-/. Sometimes they are formed by means of suffixes -full and -less.
The difference between derivational and root antonyms is not only in their structure, but in semantics as well. Derivational antonyms express contradictory notions, one of them excludes the other, For example. «active»-«inactive». Absolute antonyms express contrary notions. If some notions can be arranged in a group of more than two members, the most distant members of the group will be absolute antonyms, For example. «ugly» , «plain», «good-looking», «pretty», «beautiful», the antonyms are «ugly» and «beautiful».
Antonymy is the second class of oppositeness. It is distinguished from complimentarity by being based on different logical relationships. For pairs of antonyms like good/bad, big/small only the second one of the above mentioned relations of implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the negation of the other, but not vice versa. «John is good» implies that «John is not bad», but «John is not good)> does not imply that «John is bad». The negation of one term does not necessarily implies the assertion of the other.
An important linguistic difference from complementaries is that antonyms are always fully gradable, For example. hot, warm, cold.
Converseness is mirror-image relations or functions, For example. husband/wife, pupil/teacher, preceed/follow, above/below, before/after etc.
«John bought the car from Bill» implies that «Bill sold the car to John». Mirror-image sentences are in many ways similar to the relations between active and passive sentences. Also in the comparative form: »Y is smaller than X, then X is larger than Y».
Not every word in a language can have antonyms. This type of opposition can be met in qualitative adjectives and their derivatives, For example. beautiful- ugly, to beautify - to uglify, beauty - ugliness. It can be also met in words denoting feelings and states, For example. 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, For example here - there, up - down , now - never, before - after, day - night, early - late etc.
Antonyms are not always interchangeable in certain contexts. For example. «rich voices» can not be changed into «poor voice». The opposite of a short person is a tall person. A short thing --long thing, an old book -- a new book, an old man--a young man, a thin man--a fat man, a thin book -- a thick book.
Antonyms may be found among adjectives as: good -- bad, deep -- shallow, nouns as: light --darkness; verbs as «to give» and «to take»; adverbs as quickly--slowly, early -- late.
Many antonyms are explained by means of the negative particle «not». For example. clean -- not dirty, shallow--not deep. Antonyms form pairs, not groups like synonyms: bad--good, big--little, alike -- different, old -- new.
Polysemantic words may have antonyms in some of their meanings and none in the others. For example. When the word «cri-ticism means «blame» its antonym is «praise», when it means «ðåöåíçèÿ» it has no antonym.
Àntonyms indicate words of the same category of parts of speech which have contrasting meanings, such as hot -- cold, light -- dark, happiness -- sorrow, to accept -- to reject, up -- down.
If synonyms form whole, often numerous, groups, antonyms are usually believed to appear in pairs. Yet, this is not quite true in reality. For instance, the adjective cold may be said to have warm for its second antonym, and sorrow may be very well contrasted with gaiety.
On the other hand, a polysemantic word may have an antonym (or several antonyms) for each of its meanings. So, the adjective dull has the antonyms interesting, amusing, entertaining for its meaning of "deficient in interest", clever, bright, capable for its meaning of "deficient in intellect", and active for the meaning of "deficient in activity", etc.
Antonymy is not evenly distributed among the categories of parts of speech. Most antonyms are adjectives which is only natural because qualitative characteristics are easily compared and contrasted: high -- low, wide -- narrow, strong -- weak, old--young, friendly -- hostile.
Verbs take second place, so far as antonymy is concerned. Yet. verbal pairs of antonyms are fewer in number. Here are some of them: lo lose -- to find, to live -- to die, to open -- to close, lo weep -- to laugh.
Nouns are not rich in antonyms, but even so some examples can be given: friend
-- enemy, joy -- grief, good -- evil heaven -- earth.
Antonymic adverbs can be subdivided into two groups: a) adverbs derived from adjectives: warmly -- coldly, merrily -- sadly, loudly -- softly; b) adverbs proper: now -- then, here -- there, ever -- never, up -- down, in -- out.
Not so many years ago antonymy was not universally accepted as a linguistic problem, and the opposition within antonymic pairs was regarded as purely logical and finding no reflection in the semantic structures of these words. The contrast between heat and cold or big and small, said most scholars, is the contrast of things opposed by their very nature.
2. Some debatable points of antonyms
Leonard Lipka in the book «Outline of English Lexicology» describes different types of oppositeness, and subdivides them into three types:
a) complementary, For example. male -female, married -single,
b) antonyms, For example. good -bad,
c) converseness, For example. to buy - to sell.
In his classification he describes complimentarity in the following way: the denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice versa. «John is not married» implies that «John is single». The type of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision. Incompatibility only concerns pairs of lexical units.
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.
In synonymy we saw that both the identity and differentiations in words called synonyms can be said to be encoded within their semantic structures. Can the same be said about antonyms? Modern research in the field of antonymy gives a positive answer to this question. Nowadays most scientists agree that in the semantic structures of all words, which regularly occur in antonymic pairs, a special antonymic connotation can be singled out. We are so used to coming across hot and cold together, in the same contexts, that even when we find hot alone, we cannot help subconsciously registering it as not cold, that is, contrast it to its missing antonym. The word possesses its full meaning for us not only due to its direct associations but also because we subconsciously oppose it to its antonym, with which it is regularly used, in this case hot. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that the semantic structure of hot can be said to include the antonymic connotation of "not cold", and the semantic structure of enemy the connotation of "not a friend".
It should be stressed once more that we are speaking only about those antonyms which are characterised by common occurrences, that is, which are regularly used in pairs. When two words frequently occur side by side in numerous contexts, subtle and complex associations between them are not at all unusual. These associations are naturally reflected in the words' semantic structures. Antonymic connotations are a special case of such "reflected associations".
VII. Semantic systems in English
1. Semantic fields
The majority of linguists nowdays agree that the vocabulary should be studied as a system. We must study interrelated systems. For different purposes of study different types of grouping of words may be effective. Words joined together by one common semantic component form semantic fields. For examplethe semantic field of time.
One of the most fruitful concepts evolved so far in structural semantics is that of the 'lexical field', closely associated with Jost Trier and his school. So much has been written of late on this subject that it is unnecessary to go into details. It will be sufficient to recall that lexical fields are highly organized and integrated conceptual spheres whose elements mutually delimit each other and derive their significance from the system as a whole. In each field a sphere of experience, concrete or abstract, is analyzed, divided up and classified in a unique way which embodies a scale of values and a peculiar vision of the world.
The German linguist Jost Trier shows that the significance of each unit in the semantic field is determined by its neighbours, A. Shaikevitch says that semantically related words must occur near one another in the text. If the words often occur in the text together they must be semantically related and they form a semantic field. For example. faint, feeble, weary, sick, tedious and healthy form
one semantic field. Face, head, aim, hand, foot etc make up the semantic field with the notion of body. Examples of lexical fields are: the system of colors, the network of family relations; or, among abstract experiences, the terms for intellectual qualities, ethical and aesthetic values, religious and mystical experiences.
The numerous articles and monographs which have recently been published on these problems have all tended to emphasize the differences between these fields in various languages; they have concentrated on what is distinctive and idiosyncratic in them rather than on what they have in common. Yet, beneath all the diversity, there is likely to be an underlying unity which a systematic comparison of these fields would no doubt reveal Thus “we are told of striking differences between the number and nature of colour distinctions: there was no single term for 'brown' or 'gray' in Latin; Russian has two words for 'blue'--ñèíèé 'dark blue' and ãîëóáîé 'sky-blue'; These differences are highly significant, but it would be equally interesting to know whether there are any elements common to all classifications of colors, any distinctions which have to be expressed everywhere and which couid therefore rank as lexical constants”(Stephen Ullmann).
The same point is even more closely noticeable in another closely organized field which has been extensively studied in various languages: the nomenclature of kinship terms. Take for instance the words for 'brother' and 'sister'. These two concepts seem so fundamental to us that we find 'it difficult to imagine any language that could do without them. There was no single term either for younger brother or for younger sister and for elder brother and elder sister in the English language; instead, two pairs of separate words for 'elder' and 'younger brother' and 'elder' and 'younger sister' are used in the Uzbek language (àêà-óêà, îïà-ñèíãèë).
A comparison of the same field in a number of languages would reveal whether this relationship is a semantic universal. It would also show how many ways there are of 'structuring' this part of the field and how frequent these various solutions actually are. The same method could then be applied to other sections of the field. Even languages belonging to the same family and culture will sometimes show remarkable discrepancies. Thus there is no single term for 'father in law' or 'mother in law' in Russian: a distinction is made between òåññ-ñâ¸êîð,ò¸ùà-ñâ¸êðîâêà.
It may be noted in passing that the theory of lexical fields has certain affinities with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Trier and his followers would readily agree with Whorf that each language contains a 'hidden metaphysics' and that 'we dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages'. There are, however, two important differences between the two schools:
(1) lexical fields have so far been explored mainly in the best-known European languages, whereas Whorf deliberately turned away from 'Standard Average European' and concentrated on totally different linguistic systems, notably the American Indian ones;
(2) the theory of lexical fields is focused on vocabulary, while Whorf's most impressive successes were obtained in the grammatical sphere. It would seem, then, that the two approaches, which have developed independently of each other, could usefully supplement one another, and the time may come when they can be combined into a unified theory.
2. Neologisms. Obsolete and archaic words
Language is always a motion. New words constately appear in the language.
Neologisms are new words (borrowed words) which appeared in the long as a result of development of culture, state system, society. War, revolution, radio, automobile, bus, spaceship, place, congress, NATO, black out, tank
At the beginning of 17th century in 1620 first English appeared in America, 1st group consisted of those who came to America with their hope for better life.
2d group consists of religious figures. When English came to America the new problems appear: linguistic and political. 1 .They took a well- known English words and filled it with a new meaning. Blackbird was taken as a name to a new kind of name. 2.English combined two morphemes to make up a new word- ratle snake, ground cock. 3.Some words were taken directly from Indian language. There are the names of American animals, institutions and others. 4.English borrowed Indian words not directly but in their Spanish, French, Denmark forms. Chocolate, potato, tomatoo, canoe
Neologism is any word which is formed according to the productive structural patterns or borrowed from another language and felt by the speakers as something new. So neologisms are newly coined words or phrase or a new meaning for an existing word or a word borrowed from another language. As a result of the development of science and industry many new words appeared in the language. For example. isotope, tape-recorder, supermarket, V-day (Victory day). The research of cosmic space gave birth to new words: sputnik, lunik, space-rocket, space - ship.
Neologisms may be divided into;
1) root words: For example. jeep -- a small light motor vehicle, zebra -- street crossing place, sputnik, lunik etc;
2) derived words; For example. collaborationist -- one who in occupied territory works helpfully with the enemy, to accessorize -- to provide with dress accessories;
3) compound: For example. space -- rocket, air --drop, microfilm-reader. New words are as a rule monosemantic. Terms, used in various fields of science and technique make the greater part of neologisms. New words belong only to the notional parts of speech: to nouns, verbs, adjectives etc.
Neologisms are mainly formed by: 1) wordformation (mainly productive type). For example.-gen, -ogen: carinogen (biological term)
-ics: psycholinguistics, electronics sputnik -- to sputnik (conversion)
-- nik: filmnik, folknik.
2) semantic extension: heel -- a tractor (old meaning: heel -- the back part of foot); to screen -- to classify, to select methodically (old meaning was -- to separate coal into different sizes);
3) borrowing; telecast, telestar (Greek), sputnik, lunnik, udarnik (Russian).
Words may drop out as a result of the disappearance of the actual objects they denote. These words are called obsolete words.
The disappearance of words may be caused as a result of influence of borrowings.
For examplethe Scandinavian «take» and «die» ousted 0. E. niman and sweldan.
The French «army» and «place» replaced the O. E. here and steps.
Words which are not used generally are called archaisms. Archaisms are used in poetic vocabulary. Ex, steed (horse), slay (kill), welkin (sky) Archaisms should be distinguished from historical terms or historisms which denote historical reality and commonly used in modern English.
For examplecannon- ball, chain mail, lance, archer, baldric (belt for a sword).
3. Emotionally coloured words
Speech also expresses the speakers attitude to what he is talking about. The speaker may wish to warn, to influence people, to express his approval or disapproval. Words expressing emotion are called emotionally coloured words.
Deminutive and derogatory affixes play an important role in forming emotionally coloured words.
For example. daddy, kiddykins, babykins, oldie, blackie.
In Uzbek: äàäàæîí, ñèíãèëãèíàì, ?èçàëî?, á¢òàëî?, Interjections also express emotion without naming them: Ah!, Hush!, Hell!, Nonsense!, Pooh; In Uzbek: âîé, àéëàíàé, ý?.
The derogatory suffixes may form emotionally coloured words, For example. bastard--âíåáðà÷íûé ðåá¸íîê, weakling -- ñëàáîå ñóùåñòâî, drunkard -- ïÿòíèöà, hibster -- õèïïè, dullard --òóïèöà
In Uzbek:îéèì÷à, îéèìòèëëà, ¢ðãèëèáãèíà êåòàé
It is very interesting that many personal nouns formed by the composition from complete sentences or phrases in most cases are derogatory:
For example. also-run --íó è ñêàêóí, íåïîñðåäñòâåííîñòü, never-say-die --íåñäàþùèåñÿ, íåïðèêëîííèé, stick-in-the mud --îòñòàëûé ÷åëîâåê, ðàñòÿïà
die-hard --êðàéíèé êîíñåðâàòîð, æèâó÷èé.
There are nouns formed by conversion which are used emotionally coloured:
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