Lexicology and its connections with other branches of linguistics.
A word as a lexical unit.
The word stock and the theory of oppositions.
Types of lexical units.
The theoretical and practical value of lexicology.
Lexicology is a branch of linguistics studying a word as a unit of the word stock, having
· the sound, form and
· dealing with the vocabulary and
· the properties of words as the main units of language. (Arnold,1986)
Lexicology is of Greek origin: le xikos (lexis) “of a word”, “logos” science, speech (learning).
The term lexeme was introduced byBenjamin Lee Whorf (1938).
Vocabulary – the system formed by the sum total of all the words and word equivalents the lg. possesses.
A word is the basic unit of a given lg. resulting from the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment.(I.V. Arnold)
Thus a word is a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit. Ex.: boy ‘a male child up to the age of 17-18’, boys, boy’s, boys’.
General (lg universals)
Special (of the particular lg)
3. Descriptive (vocabulary as a system): boy, boyhood, boyish, boyishly, old boy, my dear boy, boy-friend.
Comparative, Contrastive (English and Russian lexis)
Historical or diachronic (etymology): Extralinguistic forces influencing the development of words.
In historical lexicology: diachronic approach;
In descriptive lexicology: synchronic approach;
syn – simultaneous;
chronos – time;
Dia – through the time (Ferdinand de Saussure’s dichotomy).
Post = posta – posita (fr. Lat. Through Fr. and Italian) – place;
(16 century): ‘One of a number of men with horses along roads to deliver the King’s ‘packet’ from stage to stage’(obs.)
Mail (Am. from Old French) = mail of letters ‘a bag of letters’
Sack fr. ‘ To get the sack’(to dismiss from service)
Maiden (poet.) – girl
Lexicology and phonetics:
Hip – hop – hope- heap- - hoop;(substitution test)
Tip – top; tip – pit;
Import,n ::to import,v.;
Blackbird:: black bird
Our queer old dean – our dear old queen.
(Spoonerisms (W.A. Spooner) – jocular transposition of the initial sounds of two or more words)
Lexicology and grammar:
Head of the committee – to head a committee (interdependence oflexical and grammatical meaning)
Come true, Fall ill, Go wrong, Turn red,
Run dry ‘become smth’(only verbs of motion are used)
Syntactical context: “The house is gone.
You are not going to sit there saying nothing, are you?”
“…how a novel that has now had a fairly long life, as novels go, has come to be written” (Maugham).
Frighten, amuse, awaken; say, talk, think (only animate nouns) - W.Chafe.
Lexicology and etymology
Brothers (family relationship;
Brethren (arch.) (members of the club or society);
Genius – geniuses (of exceptional intellect) – genii (evil or good spirit).
Arm – arms :‘To take arms against the sea of troubles’ – lexicalization: authorities, colours, customs, looks, manners, pictures, works.
Futurity: shall – will come, going to, future, tomorrow, by and by, time to come, hereafter;
Plurality: Houses, boys, books; crowd, party, company, group.
Lexicology and Word Formation:
Wooden (adj), strengthen (v), oxen(n).
The main branches of lexicology:
1. The morphological structure of words, their phonetic, structural and semantic characteristics;
2. Etymology of words, the sources of borrowing. Whole – heal – hail (etymologicallyrelated) “unharmed, unwounded, made whole, heal’’ = hail! (Be healthy> call).
3. Semantic and thematic classification of the word stock. Say – talk – think (human being);
4. Word formation (post-impressionists) and phraseology (to take the bull by the horns, to see red, birds of a feather).
5. Stylistic differentiation of the vocabulary. brothers – brethren (arch.);
The theoretical problems of a word:
· the theory of meaning,
· semantic groups and fields,
· Functional differentiation of the vocabulary, etc.)
The paradigmatic relations (interdependence of words within a vocabulary) :
- functional styles):
head, chief, director;
refuse:: reject:: decline;
busy – idle;
man:: chap:: guy:: bloke.
Miss, v. n.(homonyms)
Syntagmatic relations: based on linear character of speech (contextual, valency, distributional, transformational, etc. analysis)
Diachronic interdependence of words within the lexical subsystem:
harvest, v.n.-“ the gathering of grain”, “the season for reaping, autumn”
Autumne (Romance word)>autumn
Referential (onomasiological) approach (theory of nomination):
Meaning is studied as interdependence btw words and their referents (things or concepts).
The theory of oppositions
A lexical opposition is a semantically relevant relationship of partial difference btw two partially similar words.
The basis of a lexical opposition: common features of two contrasted words.
Lexical distinctive features and the basis of opposition:
doubt :: doubtful (morphological distinctivefeatures);
unable:: unaccountable:: unaffected;
lad:: boy(semantic distinctive feature – stylistic colouring) .
Polydimensional opposition: comprises many elements of the system:
Immovable, deforestation, miscalculate – the new words