General problems of lexicology

Lexicology as a branch of linguistics. Factors determining the importance of modern English lexicography. Common problems of lexicology: connotation, stylistic synonymy, functional differentiation of vocabulary. Morphological structure of English words.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид творческая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 02.04.2014
Размер файла 88,5 K

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Finally all dictionaries may be classified into linguistic and non-linguistic ones. The non-linguistic dictionaries are those offering information on practically all branches of the human knowledge. They are called encyclopedic dictionaries or encyclopedias. The basic difference they make is that they do not deal with words but with facts and concepts. The best known English-language encyclopedias are Encyclopedia Britannica, the last edition containing more than 40 volumes, and Encyclopedia Americana, consisting of approximately 50 books.

English lexicography is know to be the richest and best-developed in the world due to the long time of its development and with respect to the variety and scope of the dictionaries published. In fact a dictionary is the most widely used reference book in English homes, schools, editorial houses and business offices.

Dictionary entries are usually arranged in an alphabetical order. Sometimes derivatives and compounds may be given under the same headword. Some general dictionaries may also contain recommendations on how to use the dictionary and the phonetic data and grammar references on the peculiarities of the language concerned. Sometimes separately may be given lists of abbreviations, personal names, toponyms, which are in other cases included in the dictionary bulk.

lexicology linguistic english word

Types of dictionaries





English-Russian, Russian-English, English-Russian-German-French, phrase books

Etymological, frequency, phonetic, rhyming, thesauruses*


Glossaries** of terminology, concordances***.

Dictionaries of abbreviations, synonyms, antonyms, borrowings, neologisms, proverbs, toponyms, etc.

Dictionaries of terminology.

Dictionaries of abbreviations, idioms, proverbs, synonyms, etc.

Dictionaries of American English, dialects, slang, etc.

Dictionaries of Old English, Middle English with explanations in Modern English or any other national language.

*Thesaurus (derived from Lat. thesaurus - "treasury") - a thematic dictionary supplying a reader with the words by which one definite idea may be completely expressed.

**Glossary - a dictionary or rather a list of words dealing only with difficult or rare units used in the text or the book.

***Concordance - a dictionary, recording the complete vocabulary of a definite author. The best known English example is The Dictionary of Shakespeare's language.

Some of the basic problems of modern lexicography

I. The first problem is that of selection of elements which would make the bulk of the dictionary. Here we have to decide whether and how far to admit the historic words, scientific terminology, neologisms, nonce words (окказионализмы), slang, dialectal lexicon, Americanisms, etc.

II. The problem of whether a selected unit has a right for separate entry or should be included under a common headword. E.g. whether the nouns produced by conversion should be included under the verb entries.

III. The problem of whether set expressions denoting one phenomenon should be mentioned in a single entry or their elements should be separated.

IV. Some words have developed such polysemy that it has become difficult to define whether it has separate though interrelated meanings or shades of one and the same meaning.

Mind you, I don't mind minding the children if the children mind me. = Understand, I don't object taking care of the children if the children obey me.

V. The difference in the number of entries may depend on a different approach to the regularly formed derivatives like those with suffixes -er, -ing, -less, -ty and prefixes re-, ron-, anti-, etc.

VI. The arrangement of a single entry which is its structure. Here we have to decide whether we should provide words with labels (like obs. for "obsolete"), whether to give examples of their usage in speech, whether to give their grammatical forms, whether to provide information on their etymology, etc.

VII. The problem of whether to mark the words with stylistic labels, like colloquial, technical, archaic, rhetorical, slang, vulgar, obscene, etc. And whether to give information on their expressive colouring, e.g. diminutive, ironical, emphatic, etc.

VIII. The last but not least is the problem of definition, which may be given either through explanation of the unit, or a group of synonyms. Sometimes definitions are difficult to understand as they deal with terminology and data which is only supposed for specialists, but is rather opaque in its meaning.

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