1. Language meaning: lexical
(LM) and grammatical meaning (GM)
The main two types of language meaning: grammatical (refers our mind to relations between words and structures /constructions bearing upon their structural functions in the language-as-a system/.) and lexical (refers our mind to some concrete object, phenomenon (real or imaginary) of objective reality, to some concept). Both the lexical and grammatical meaning comprise the word meaning.
2. The definition of LM
according to the referential approach
LM and its numerous aspects are studied by semaciology both synchronically and diachronically. In present-day linguistics there exist 2 approaches to the problem:
- the referential approach which formulates the essence of meaning by establishing the interdependence b/w LM, reality and thinking,
- the functional approach which studies the functions of a word in speech.
All major works on semantic theory are
based on referential concepts of meaning. This
approach distinguishes b/w the 3 components
closely connected with meaning: the sound-
form, the concept and the referent (that aspect
of reality to which this linguistic sign refers).
This referential model of meaning is
represented as the so- called "basic triangle".
3. Componental structure of LM
LM is a systematic whole made up of several structurally ordered elements. As man doesn't register the reality like an impersonal apparatus, but reveals his attitude to reality, LM is a combination of 2 components: denotative which reproduces reality by correlating with a concept, connotative expressing the speaker'a attitude to the object named.
a) a denotative component (DC)
The DC of LM is made up by semes of different types and several levels of abstraction:
- archiseme (a grammatical marker) conveys a part of speech meaning,
- classseme - a semantic marker, differential seme - a particular distinguisher,
- potential seme - reflects subsidiary and probable features of an object. We should also distinguish b/w basic and derived features of an object. Both may be constant or probable, reflecting such properties as form, function, purpose, etc. All these types of objective properties correlate with basic and derived potential semes.
Semes may also be: categorical (found in large groups of words) and individual (peculiar to single words).
b) a connotative component(CC) It is often termed a stylistic reference of a word, a social or a pragmatic meaning and may contain 1) emotiveness, expressiveness, evaluation or may 2) point to the social sphere of human activity, that comprises the stylistic colouring of a word.
Not all words have connotative power; articles, conjunctions, prepositions, many common adverbs lack connotative qualities because they are words used to connect ideas and to show relationship between them, or to modify their meanings; these parts of speech do not themselves stand for ideas.
According to modern approach to LM the CC includes connotations of different
types: degree or intensity, duration, emotive, evaluative, causative, manner, attendant circumstances/ features, stylistic.
4. Development of new meanings Causes:
1) Historical/ extra-linguistic - changes
in a nation's social life, culture, knowledge,
technology, arts. New objects, concepts,
phenomena must be named.
2) Linguistic - influence of other
words, mostly synonyms
Semantic Process (transference):
1) Transference based on
resemblance (similarity) - metaphor. A new
meaning is a result of associating 2 objects due
to their outward similarity.
2) Transference based on contiguity -
metonymy. It is based on psychological links
b/w different objects and phenomena: common
situations, a part and a whole, cause and effect,
common function, material and object made of
1) Broadening (generalization) -narrowing (specialization)
2) Degeneration (degradation) -elevation of a referent.
Polysemy as a Means of Secondary Nomination
The nature of polysemy
Both language and vocabulary reflect reality in the way peculiar to human language alone. The main task of the latter is to draw the notional picture of the world in lexical meanings. Within language there have developed the phenomena which reveal the intrinsic characteristics of language units and disclose the basic principles of their structure. Among such 1-ge categories we find polysemy (P), i.e. the ability of a word to have several related meanings at a time.
In terms of the theory of signs it means that 1 and the same plane of expression corresponds to a number of planes of content.
A peculiar relationship b/w separate meanings within word structures specifies P as a purely 1-ge category, another means of secondary nomination.
2. A lexico-semantic variant
(LSV), its notion
Members of a word structure related in their meanings are called LSVs (Pr. Smirnitsky's term): signs which are identical
in all features but their lexical meanings. The extent of their semantic difference is confined to variation only, the idea of variation suggests the presence of a certain common component of meaning (invariant part) in all LSVs of a word.
Linguistic analysis shows that the invariant part of meanings may be presented as:
1. The whole content of the basic
2. part of the basic meaning in either the
centre of the other or on their periphery;
3. a certain common part of meaning contained by all LSVs of the same polysemantic word;
4. The common semantic part may be latent or implied.
3. Types of relations b/w LSVs
The interconnection b/w the members of the polysemantic structure falls into 3 types: 1. Subordination reveals the hierarchical arrangement of a number of units which are dependent due to the semantic component on the basic direct nominative LSV as derived and figurative. It expresses itself in 2 types:
- Irradiation when all the units depend on the basic one, Concatenation which means the chain coexistence of meanings, the dependence of each on the preceeding one.
2. Coordination means the semantic equalityof the units, their relative autonomy and independence of each other.
3. Mixed type which is characterized by the presence of both S and С
Among the notional classes P is most typical of the verb. The adjective ranks the second, the noun is least of all polysemantic. 4. Typesof LSVs
1. the way of naming - direct/ figurative
2. the dependence of one on the other - basic/ derived
3. etymologically - primary/ secondary,
4. abstract/ concrete
8.neutral/ stylistically marked 9.common/ dialectal
Types of Modern English Homonymy 1. The definition of homonyms-Homonyms (homos '4he same" and onoma "name") are words which are identical in sound and spelling, or, at least, in one of these aspects, but different in their meaning.
As for their stylistic function they are accidental creations, and therefore purposeless. In the process of communication they lead sometimes to confusion and misunderstanding and are one of the most important sources of popular humour. From the point of view of their morphological structure they are mostly one-morpheme words.
2. The origin of homonyms:
phonetic changes, borrowings, word-building
(conversion, shortening, sound-imitation), split
3. Classification of homonyms
The most widely accepted
classification is that recognizing homonyms proper, homophones and homographs.
According to their part of speech belonging Professor A. I. Smirnitsky classified homonyms into two large classes: I. full homonyms, II. partial homonyms (simple
lexico-grammatical partial homonyms,
complex lexico-grammatical partial
homonyms, partial lexical homonyms).