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.

02.03.2012
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Many words have wider meaning in the USA. For example. the verb to fix is a slatternly verb of all words in American speech. It can mean repair, get ready, arrange, matters with, cook, comb etc. For example. He's fixed it with the policeman. Fix a fire. Fix yourself up. She is fixing supper right now. Wait till I fix my hair etc.

The verb to raises in American English can be used in the relation of trees, animals and children, but in England in these cases three different verbs are used.

Ex: In England: one grows farm or garden, products, breeds animals and rears children. In America: one raises them all. Besides them many words in America have other meanings. The word shop in America has the meaning of but in the meaning of (), the word store is used. So shoe shops in America is
( ) A shoe shop in England is (o6y ). first floors and second floor in America are ? (nep ), ? ( ) but in England first floor is ? ( ) and ? (nep ) is the ground floors, dessert in England -- ? ( : (), ?? (), ()) in America it means -- only sweets.

One of the characteristic features of American English is the formation of shortened words.

For example. D. P. (displaced person) FEAF (Far East Air Forces), Cincpoa (Commander in Chief of Pacific Ocean Area) etc. The differences of American and British English are based on the historical causes.

The American Contenent was discovered only in the 15th century. The first colonies came there in 1607 (at the beginning of the 17th century). For more than three centuries the American vocabulary developed independently and was influenced by the new surroundings. Many words were borrowed from Indian people's languages who live in America. These words are usually the words which express geographi -cal names, names of trees, animals, birds, fish etc.

For example. hickory -- opex, persimmon -- , muskrat -- , mose -- awep. , squaw -- , mash -- , ohio -- , Oklahoma -- . From German: smearcase -- cop cpa, bear garden, back country. From French prairie--. As to wordbuilding in the two variants, it is the same. The difference lies only in the more extensive use of some of them in American variants. For example. affixes- ette,- ee.super- (draftee, kitchenette, supper-market) and conversion (walk out -- to walk out, major *--to major) are more frequent in American English.

Thus the differences between British and American English are not much and they do not make a system.

If we compare American and British English we'll see the followings:

In the USA In Great Britain

bulletin board notice board

fish dealer fish monger

grocery grocer's shop

can opener tin opener

administration government

stock share

baggage luggage

intermission interval

newsie newsboy

game match

editorial leader

check bill

mail post

CHAPTER 9. METHODS USED IN LEXICOLOGICAL RESEARCH

In Modern English different methods are used in lexicological research:

1) Contrastive analysis; 2) Statistical msthois of analysis; 3) Immediate constituents analysis; 4) Distributional analysis; 5) Transformational analysis; 6) Componential analysis. 7. Cognitive analysis etc.

1. Componential analysis

In this analysis linguists proceed from the assumption that the smallest units of meaning are sememes or semes . For example. In the lexical item "woman " several sememes may be singled out, such as human , not an animal, female , adult. The analysis of the word "girl" will show the following sememes : human , female , young, The last component of the two words differentiates them and makes impossible to mix up the words in the process of communication .

The formalized representation of meaning helps to find out different semantic components which influence collocability of words (during the day but not during the stairs, down the stairs but not down the day ).

Componental analysis is practically always combined with transformational procedures or statistical analysis .The combination makes it possible to find out which of the meanings should be represented first of all in the dictionaries of different types and how the words should be combined in order to make your speech sensible .

The term componential analysis was first used by W. Goodenough. Componential Analysis and the Study of Meaning, Language, 1956, 32, 1) and F. Lounsbury A Semantic Analysis of the Pawnee Kinship Usuage, Language, 1956, 32, 1).

Words have meanings and the smallest units of meaning are called sememes or components of meaning. The word woman has the following components of meaning human, female, adult.

Each part of speech has a distinguishing semantic feature. Nouns have the component substantiality or thingness, adjectives have quality and so on.

The semantic features of words may be classified into markers and distinguishes. Semantic markers are semantic features which can be found (or are present) also in the lexical meaning of other words. Distinguishes are semantic features which are individual, which are not present in the lexical meaning of other words.

Countable noun -- is a marker, because it represents

a subclass within nouns and it is a semantic feature which the word spinster has in common with all other countable nouns (boy, table, flower, idea etc.). human is a marker because it refers the word spinsten to nouns denoting human beings.

adult is a marker because it is a subdivision of human beings into adult and young. female is a marker too because it shows a subclass of adult females as woman, widow, mother etc. Who has never married -- is a distinguisher because it differentiates the meaning of the word from other words which have all other common semantic features.

Componential analysis is also used in the investigation of the semantic structure of synonyms. There is a certain component of meaning which differs one member from any other member of the same synonymic set.

The adjective thick has no the component human, stout does not contain the semantic component object (a thick book, a stout man) and the adjective buxom possesses the semantic component female which is not to be found in either the English adjectives thick or stout.

The analysis into the components animate, inanimate, object human, male female shows the difference in the meaning of synonyms.

The analysis helps us to find out the correspondence between the semantic structure of correlated words or correlated meanings of words in different languages. The words thick, stout, buxom and the word (ce) are not semantically identical because the Russian word is used to describe both humans and

objects, For example. ,

The Uzbek word ce does not contain the semantic component male and female.

The components of the lexical or the grammatical meanings may be singled out by the co-occurrence analysis

Unfortunately the dictionaries do not always point out such semantic components of words as animate -- inanimates, human--nonhuman, young -- old etc. We know these components in their collocability with certain types of nouns.

The semantic components of the verb to smoke such as age, human can be found when it is combined with certain nouns denoting these components.

The female or male component of the meaning of the noun baby can be observed through the co-occurrence of it with the possessive pronouns his or her.

The baby drank his milk

The baby drank her milk

The componential analysis is widely used in modern linguistics. (Nida E. Gornponential Analysis of Meaning. The Hague, 1975)

The words in different languages have their own semantic components.

Comparing the English verb to go, Uzbek word 6op? and Russian xo, we can see that in tha English and Uzbek words the way of movement is not shown. But in Russian verbs xo and e this component is shown in them. We see here the hidden component of meaning. The hidden component of meaning is a component which can be revealed through the collocability of words.

It is impossible to say in Russian . R. S. Ginzburg says that the hidden component of meaning of words is the linguistic property of the word. It can be found with the help of co-occurrence analysis. (See distributional analysis) To study the hidden components of words is very important for language teaching.

2. Cognitive analysis of words

Cognitive linguistics has not well defined yet among the linguists, because of its some fragmentarity and uninvestigation. In general cognitive linguists is defined as linguistic approach which studies mental process of experiences of person and their results-knowledge. The essence of the cognitive linguistics is the imagination about the language as cognitive mechanism, giving the information on the world, and it is many-sidedly connected with the working up this information, it has directly relation to the construction, organization and improvement of the information and ways of its representation. It provides communicative process which present a definite layers of knowledge 1. .. // - 2003/1 .

Summerizing the accumulated experience in the field of cognitive linguistics it is necessary to point out number of basic principles on which cognitive investigation is based on:

1) language is considered as a mental phenomena, as specific cognitive ability;

2) the position about creative, linguistic activity;

3) the problem of correlation between linguistics and mental structures, the process of characterization and conceptionizing of the world and their reflection in the languages are the crucial problems of cognative liguistics;

Postulating the necessety of the research not only the external manifestation of the language but internal system of presentation of linguistic knowledge. The interpretation is done in the difinate model of knowledge: using linguistic knowledge; constructing the models etc.

Cognitive linguistics tries to work at primarily the conceptual information acquired in the experience of the world. Conceptual system is the system of opinions and knowledge on the world.

For example. Cognitive analysis of metaphor of the investigation not the separate cases of metaphorical formation of linguistic form but their systematic description of the definition of the basis categoric types.

For example. metaphors, including the component high are associated with the concept success, flourishing, power: higher-up, high-flyer, high-handed, high-minded, high-stepper, high-tide;

The metaphors with the component down is symbolized with the unsucces, bad mood, failure: down-and-out, down-cost, downcome, downfollen, down-hearted, downhill.

The concept frame is all the knowledge represented in human beings' mind as a definite structure. So frame is the structural organithation of the knowledge, it is a cognitive corrilator of this or that linguistic situation.

The meaning of the word black correspondes to the life situations in human's mind which gets the problem of knowledge and their representation in the language, the verbal expression and gives rise to number of linguistic units with negative, emitional, evaluative minings: black-ball, black-list, black-mail, black-heart, black-market, black-mark, black-cat, black-magic, black-sheep. Black cat is associated with the concept bad luck the reason for such association is the existence of bad sign about a black cat crossing the road in many nations.

Concepts are divided into two types: concepts with universal meaning and concepts, having natural-cultural significance. Ex: concept beauty1 having universal properties has also national and cultural pecularities. The result of comparative analysis of female beauty in Uzbek and English confirm that different cultures evaluate female beauty differently.

In English: a) sexual attraction: sexy (enchantress, fax, babe) b) dangerous and destructive beauty: dangerous (siren, fimme-fatale, gold-digger, namp)

In Uzbek the inner sinsere quality is paid attention in female beauty. Ex: modesty, obedience, diligence and etc. (, , , , and others) . o- ( ) . . . .-. 2005

3. Method of semantic differential

A word has not only one meaning and even one word usually implies some additional information which differentiates one word from another .

For example. to like, to love, to adore, to -warship . All the words denote positive feelings, characteristic of a human being. But each of them gives additional information on the so called strength of feeling.

This is the connotational aspect which was singled out by the semantic differential -the method which was worked out by a group of American psycholinguists . Their technique requires the subjects to judge - a series of concepts with respect to a set of antonymic adjective scale .

For example. A horse can be :good - bad, fast -- slow, strong --weak, hard - soft, happy -- sad.

The meaning of the divisions is that each of the quality may be gradated representing extremely good, very good, neither good nor bad, slightly bad, extremely bad and these grades can be marked by a plus .And the horse may be very good, not bad, etc.

The revealed gradations showing some portion of quality helps to singled out such words which are usually referred to as neutral, expressive, archaic and new words proper-neologisms. All the methods of analysis are applied in one and the same sphere of investigation. If you are interested in meaning you shouldn't pay much attention to the structure, if you are interested in collocation of words you shouldn't pay much attention what parts of words represent the distributional structure, The combination of different methods of analysis helps to classify the vocabulary as a whole and each lexical unit taken separately . It should be said that practically no procedures function independently and separately from each other . It is only for study aims that we separate one procedure from another . In fact, being a two-faced unit a lexical item provides to be an indivisible unit I of form and content . That is why you cannot investigate one side of the item paying no attention to the other one .

4. Distributional analysis

Distributional analysis in its various forms is commonly used nowadays. By the term "distribution" we understand the occurrence of a lexical unit relative to another lexical units of the same levels : words to words , morpheme to morphemes . In other words , by this term we understand the position which lexical unit occupies or may occupy in the text or in the flow of speech . It is observed that a certain component of the word-meaning is described when the word is identified distributionally . For example. In the sentence The boy_______ home . the missing word is easily identified as a verb . It may be "came , ran , went , goes" , but not as an adverb or a noun , or an adjective .

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

For example. The verb "to treat" has different lexical meanings in "to treat smb kindly " and "to treat smb to ice-cream " .

The interdependence of distribution and meaning can be also observed at the level of word-groups .

For example. It is only the distribution of completely identical lexical units but arranged on the reverse that differentiates the meaning -- water tap and tap water .

This method is widely used in lexicological analysis. Thus, distribution is the occurence of words relatively to other words. It is the position which words occupy or may occur in the text.

The words have different lexical meanings in different distributional patterns. In different distributional structures the word ill has different meaning: ill look, ill luck, ill health -- , fall ill, be ill-- ()

The place of a morpheme is relative to other morphemes For example. singer ersing is impossible. A different pattern of arrangement of the same morphemes changes the whole into the meaningless. If we have different distribution we have different meanings!

For example. to get to London, to get angry, to get rid of.

to take care of, to take off, to take in, take on, take place, take a taxi, take tea.

As was said above, different distribution of components of compound words may change the meaning of the word. For example. bird-cage and cage-bird, fruit-market, market-fruit, lifeboat, boat-life.

So the meaning of the word depends on its distribution. It should be pointed out that the meaning of the word is dependent on what class of words it is combined with.

Thus, nouns may be subdivided into

For example. If we use after the verb move the nouns denoting

inanimate objects (move 4- inanimate N) it has the meaning: (For example. He moved a table).

But when it is followed by the noun denoting animate human being (move +animate N) it has another meaning: He moved a man . The meaning of words also different if they are combined with different Ie-xico-semantic groups. By lexico-semantic group we understand the group of words joined together by a common concept or the words which have a common semantic component. For example. verbs denoting sense perception: to think, to imagine, to write, or adjectives denoting colour: red, black, yellow, etc.

For example. blind + any N denoting a living being, animate cjienoft without the power to see: a blind man, a blind woman, a blind cat.

blind + N denoting inanimate objects or abstract concept may have different meanings depending on the lexico -- semantic group of the noun, it belongs to. So it has the meaning 6epaccy (thoughtless) when it is combined with nouns denoting emotions. For example. blind love, blind fury.

With nouns denoting written or typed signs it has the meaning hard to see, For example. blind handwriting, blind type.

Distributional analysis is widely used in wordform tion. The analysis of the derivational pattern N + ish->-adj. shows that the suffix-ish is never combined with noun stems denoting time, space. It is impossible to say hourish, mileish. Many adjectives in -- ish are formed from noun + stems denoting living beings, For example. wolfish, boyish, girlish.

So the distribution may be viewed as the place of words in relation to other words on the level of semantic classes and sub -classes. The distributional meanings by co-occurrence may be extra-linguistic or linguistic components of meaning.

Good doctor -- who treats well

Good mother -- who takes care of her children well.

Here the meaning of the adjective good is different and it is the extra-linguistic factors that account for the difference in meaning. The linguistic components of distributional meaning can be found when we compare correlated words in different languages.

For example. In English the verb to seize may be combined with nouns denoting different kinds of emotions (I was seized with joy, greif, etc.) but in Russian we may say -- ; but the collocations -- , are impossible, sd the Russian verb cannot be combined with nouns denoting pleasurable emotions.

It must be said that the different semantic pecularities of the words may be found in the distributional analysis. The verb to giggle refers to a type of laughter. It means to laugh in a nervous manner but the analysis showed that to giggte is often connected with the laugh of a woman (women giggle) man may giggle drunkenly or nervously but not happily or politely. Different words make different patterns.

For example. to feel one's way, to feel bad, to feel tired, to feel for something.

What is a pattern? A pattern is combination of a a symbolic representation of the class of words with it may be combined.

For example. see a boy, see a place, see a book.

On the bases of these words we can draw a pattern see

word, which H-N. This is called a distributional formular. The distributional formular is a symbolic representation. For example. make + (a) 4- N -- make a coat, a machine

make + (the) + N + V -- make the machine go make + (A) -- make sure make + (a) + A + N make a good wife. In each of these examples the meaning of make is different. We can divide the meaning of the verbs to giggle, to laugh, to smile into animate, person, because only a human-being can laugh:

However the laughter is not connected with sex (male/ female.). But a thorough investigation of the meaning of these verbs, and co-occurrence analysis showed that the verb to giggles has the hidden semantic component female. The verb to giggles is connected with nouns expressing the female. The occurrence of this verb with nouns, denoting ma-Ie can be seen when it is used with the adverbs drunkenly and nervously. But when the subject of the sentence is expressed by a noun denoting female the verb giggle can be used with different adverbs: to giggle happily (politely) with obvious pleasure etc.

For example. It is possible to say The man is giggling drunkenly and nervously but it is impossible. The man is giggling ' happily. However it is possible to say.

The girl is giggling nervously

-- -- happily

-- -- -- drunkenly

-- -- -- politely

-- -- -- with obvious pleasure

We can see that the semantic component age and sex may be a hidden component in some adjectives.

The adjective pretty has the hidden semantic component age.

For example. a pretty child, a pretty girl but it is impossible to say a pretty old woman. This component is not given in dictionaries.

The adjectives shabby and buxom have also the hidden component age. a shabby child is possible but a shabby old mam is impossible a buxom woman is possible but a buxom old woman is impossible. Learning the hidden components of meaning is very important for us in order to master the language. For the establishment of the hidden component we must have a dictionary of frequency value of collocations. (Ginzburg R. S.)

5. Transformational analysis

Sometimes the distributional analysis alone doesn't show whether the meaning is the same or different. In this case we use transformational analysis. Transformation is any repatterning, remaking of a word

group.

For example. to tear a curtain -- the curtain has a tear to cut a finger -- the finger has a cut. A paraphrase of a sentence in which some words are replaced by semantic equivalent is a lexical transformation.

For example. This novel is a best - seller -- (this novel is) a book that has one of the biggest sales of the season. A lexical transformation keeps the meaning unchanged.

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

1. Permutation - the repatterning on condition that the basic subordinative relationships between words and word-stems of the lexical units are not changed For example. "His work is excellent " may be transformed into " his excellent work, the excellence of his work, he works excellently ".In the example given the relationships between lexical units and the stems of the notional words are essentially the same .

2. Replacement - the substitution of a component of the distributional structure by a member of a certain strictly defined set of lexical units . For example. Replacement of a notional verb by an auxiliary or link verb (he will make a bad mistake and he will make a good teacher). The sentences have identical distributional structure but only in the second one the verb "to make " can be substituted by " become " or " be " . The fact of impossibility of identical transformations of distributionally identical structures is a formal proof of the difference in their meaning .

3. Addition ( or expansion ) may be illustrated by the application of the procedure of addition to the classification of adjectives into two groups- adjectives denoting inherent and non-inherent qualities . For example. John is happy .John is tall.

We add a word-group " in Moscow ". We shall see that " John is happy in Moscow . " has meaning while the second one is senseless . That is accounted by the difference in the meaning of adjectives denoting inherent (tall) and non-inherent (happy) qualities .

4. Deletion - a procedure which shows whether one of the words semantically subordinated to the other , For example. The word-group "red flowers'' may be deleted and transformed into "flowers " without making the sentence senseless : I like red flowers or I like flowers . The other word-group "red tape " can't be deleted and transformed either into " / hate tape " or "I hate red " because in both transformed sentences the meaning of the phrase "red tape" means "bureaucracy" and it can't be divided into two parts.

6. The Immediate constituents analysis

The Immediate Constituents (I. C.) Analysis attepts to determine the ways in which the units are related to one another. This method is based on a binary principle. In each stage of the prosedu-re we have two components. At each stage these two components are broken into two smaller meaningful elements. The analysis is ended when we arrive at the constituents which are not divided further. These constituents are called the ultimate constituents.

The aim of the I. C. analysis is to segment a set of lexical units into two independent constituents. The meaning of the sentence, word group and the I. C. segmentation are interdependent.

For exampleA fat teacher's wife may mean that either the teach" er is fat or his wife is fat.

A fat teacher's wife -- means that the teacher is fat.

A fat/ teacher's wife -- means that his wife is fat.

A beautiful/ woman doctor --means that the doctor is a beautiful woman.

A beautiful woman/ doctor means that the doctor who treats woman is beautiful.

This analysis is widely used in lexicological investigations and in the study of derivational structure of words and morphemic analysis of words.

For example. denationalize (not to give a national right) may be first segmented into.

de /nationalize because the morpheme de-- can be found in a number of other words: such as: deform, denature, denominate

The remaining part nationalize can be broken into national/ ize because --ize can be found in such words as organize, humanize, recognize, standardize. National -- intonation/ al as -- al occurs in a number of words: occupational, musical, critical.

So we have found de /nation/ al /ize -- 4 ultimate constituents

friendliness is divided into friendly/ ness (friendly -- looking) because ness can be found in such words as happiness, kindness, darkness, beautifulness etc.

friendly is divided into friend /ly because friend may occur in friendship, unfriendly on the one hand ly can be seen in wifely, brotherly on the other hand.

So we have found friend --ly--ness--3 ultimate constituents. We draw schemes of the morphemic analysis according to the I. C. method.

unreasonable denationalize friendliness

un reasonable de nationalize friendly ness

reason able national ize friend ly

nation al

This is the morphemic analysis according to the I. C. method.

It should be pointed out that this method is very useful to find out the derivational structure of words too.

For example. denationalizes has both a prefix "de -- and the suffix " -- ize,,.

In order to know whether this word is a prefixal or a suffixal derivative we use the I.C. analysis. We cannot divide this word into denational /ize because there is no the word denational or denation. The only possible way of devision is de /nationalize because there is the word nationalize. Therefore we may say that this word is a prefixal derivative. I. C, is also useful to define the compound words and derivational compound words.

For example. snow -- covered can't be divided into snow 4 cover -f- ed but snow-h covered. So it is a compound word because there is no snow -- cover in the dictionary.

blue + eyed may be divided into (blue -f eye) -f- ed because there is the word blue+eye therefore it is a derivational compound word.

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

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

Thus , the fundamental aim of immediate constituents analysis is to segment a set of lexical units into two maximally independent sequences and these maximally independent sequences are called immediate constituents . The further segmentation of immediate constituents results in ultimate constituents.

7. Contrastive analysis

Contrastive analysis is used to reveal the features of sameness and differences in the lexical meaning and the semantic structure of correlated words in both related and non-related languages.

We must know that the objective reality exists outside human beings, every language classifies reality in its own way by means of its vocabulary units.

In English the word foot is usad to denote the extremity of the leg. But in Uzbek and Russian there is no exact equivalent for foot. The words , ? denote the whole leg including the foot.

Classification of the real world around us is learned with our first language because we are used to the way in which our own language structures experience but in the fact it is highly arbitrary.

For example. In Russian or in Uzbek one word is used for the thing that tells the time coa, ; coa but in English we use two words watch and clock.

In English, Uzbek some kinship terms do not reflect the difference between male and female: cousin (). But in Russian: , .

In English: nephew, niece; in Russian, , ; in Uzbek: in Uzbek: pacco, in Russian: xy, in English: artist, painter, drawer.

The word can have different equivalents in English; educate, to raise, to bring up.

Anything which can be said in one language can be translated more or less into another. The correlated polysemantic words of different languages are not coextensive.

Polysemantic words may denote very different types of objects but they are correlated in one basic meaning.

Englishman uses the word head to denote the following:

head of a person, head of a match, head of a bed, head of a table, head of a coin, head of an organization, head of a cane ()

But in Russian different words have to be used: , , , , in Uzbek , ?, , .

A Russian or Uzbek language learner having learnt first that the word head is the English word which denotes a part of the body he will think that it can be used in all the cases where the Russian word or in Uzbek is used. He will never think of using the word head in connection with a bed or a coin.

Here are some other examples of difference: In Russian: , , In English: mother in law, In Uzbek; ?.

In a number of cases the English word new stands for : (a new dress). (New year). But there are some cases where in Russian we can't use the word ; new potatoes -- , new bread -- .

One Russian word may correspond to a number of English

words: -- a thin book, -- subtle irony, -- slim waist.

One word in one language may correspond to two or more words in different languages: -- cartoon, caracature.

One and the same Russian preposition may correspond. to different prepositions in English.

5 -- till 5 o'clock

-- before the war

-- to the corner

The well-known Russian linguist Sherba said that it would be a mistake if we supposed that the notional systems of any two languages are identical.

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

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

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

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

For example. A typical Russian word-group used to describe the way somebody performs an action or to state how a person finds himself has the structure that may be represented by the formula "adjective + a finite form of a verb "(o no cnum 6cmpo ycauaem ). In English we can also use structurally similar word-groups

and say "he learns fast/slowly" . The structure of idiomatic word-group in English is different. The structure is "adjective + deverbal noun ". It is really in English to say "he is a heavy smoker, poor learner early riser ".

8. Statistical analysis

Statistical linguistics is nowadays generally recognized as the one of the major branches of linguistics . Statistical inquiries have considerable importance because of their relevance to certain problems of communication engineering and information theory . Statistical approach proved essential in the selection of vocabulary items of a foreign language for teaching purposes . Very few people know more than 10% of the words in their mother tongue . It follows that if we do not wish to waste time on committing to memorize vocabulary items which are never likely to be useful to the learner we have to select only lexical units that are commonly used by a native speaker .

Out of approximately 500 000 words listed in Oxford English dictionary the active vocabulary of an educated Englishman comprises no more than 30 000 words and of these 4 000 - 5 000 are presumed to be amplisufficient for the daily needs of an average member of the English speech community. Thus , it is evident that the problem of selection of teaching vocabulary is of vital importance . Statistical techniques have been successfully applied in the analysis of various linguistic phenomena . Different structural types of words , affixes , the vocabularies of great writers and poets and even in the study of some problems of Historical Lexicology.

Statistical regularities can be observed only if the phenomena under analysis are sufficiently numerous . Thus , the first requirement of any statistic investigation is the size of the sample . It is known that comparatively small group of words makes up the bulk of any text . It was found that approximately 1300 - 1500 most frequent words make up 85% of all words occurring in the text . If however we analyze a sample of 60 words it is hard to predict the number of occurrences of most frequent words .

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

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