1 THE OBJECT OF L AND ITS CONNECTIONS WITH OTHER BRANCHES OF LINGUISTICS 2 THE WORD AS THE BASIC UNIT OF L 3 AFFIXATION 4 COMPOUNDING 5 CONVERSION 6 SHORTENING AND OTHER MINOR TYPES OF WORD-FORMATION
7 THE ORIGIN OF ENGLISH WORDS: NATIVE VS BORROWED 8 PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS AND THEIR CLASSIFICATION 9 THE CONCEPT OF MEANING, M AND USE 10 THE SEMANTIC ANALYSIS OF WORD 11 POLYSEMY VS HOMONYMY 12 SYNONYMY AND ANTONYMY
8) Phraseological units. Classification of Phraseological Units. Most Russian scholars use the term ‘phraseological unit’ which was first introduced by Acad. V.V.Vinogradov. The term ‘idiom’ used by western scholars is applied mostly to a certain type of phraseological units. Set-expressions, set-phrases, phrases, fixed word-groups, collocations are other terms which can be also used to refer to phraseological units.
The degree of semantic change According to Prof. A.V. Koonin, “a phraseological unit is a stable word-group characterized by a completely or partially transferred meaning”. Thus the degree of semantic change in a phraseological unit may vary. It may affect either the whole word-group or only one of its components. To illustrate the first case the following examples may be given: to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve (to expose, so that everyone knows one’s most intimate feelings), to have one’s heart in one’s boots (to be deeply depressed, anxious about smth);
The degree of semantic change to have one’s heart in one’s mouth (to be greatly alarmed by what is expected to happen), to have one’s heart in the right place (to be a good, honest and generous fellow). In the following examples one of the components preserves its current meaning and the other is used in a transferred meaning: to lose one’s temper, to fall ill, bosom friend, shop talk, small talk, etc. The term idiom is usually applied to the first type of word-groups in which the meaning of the whole unit does not correspond to the meanings of the components.
structural invariability Besides their semantic unity phraseological units are also characterized by a certain degree of structural invariability. As a rule no substitution is possible for any of the components of an idiom: to give somebody the cold shoulder (to treat smb coldly, to ignore or cut smb); to take advantage of smb but to have an advantage over smb. Besides, no additional element can be introduced into the structure of phraseological unit. However, in fiction and mass media authors often violate these restrictions; this stylistic device is known as deformation of idioms.
V.V. Vinogradov’s classification There are different classifications of idioms proposed by reputed scholars. Thus V.V. Vinogradov’s classification is based on the semantic principle. Depending on the degree of semantic cohesion between the components of a phraseological unit, three types are distinguished: phraseological combinations, unities and fusions.
Phraseological combinations Phraseological combinations are word-groups with a partially changed meaning. They may be said to be clearly motivated, that is, the meaning of the unit can be easily deduced from the meanings of its components: to be a good hand at smth, to have a bite, to stick at nothing, etc. a bite (to eat) (informal) a small meal: We had a bite to eat and a couple of drinks before the flight. stick at nothing (informal) to be willing to do anything, even if it is illegal, in order to achieve something He will stick at nothing to make money. (LDOCE)
Phraseological unities Phraseological unities are word-groups with a completely changed meaning, that is, the meaning of the unit does not correspond to the meanings of its components. They are motivated as the metaphor on which the shift of meaning is based is clear and transparent: to catch/ clutch at a straw/ straws, to lose one’s head, to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Phraseological fusions Phraseological fusions are word-groups with a completely changed meaning but, in contrast to the unities, they are demotivated as the metaphor on which the shift of meaning was based is obscure: to come a cropper (to come to disaster); Br English informal a) to fail in something, especially unexpectedly: Swedish investors have come a cropper in London. b) to accidentally fall from a horse, bicycle etc: She came a cropper on the ski slopes. leave smb in the lurch to leave someone at a time when you should stay and help them;
Professor A.I. Smirnitsky’s classification Professor A.I. Smirnitsky’s classification for phraseological units is an attempt to combine the structural and semantic principles. Phraseological units are grouped according to the number and semantic significance of their constituent parts: 1 one-summit units have one meaningful constituent: give up, make out, be tired, etc; 2 two-summit and 3 multi-summit units have two or more meaningful constituents: black art, first night, common sense, to fish in troubled waters, etc.
subdivisions One-summit units are further subdivided into: a. verbal-adverbial: give up; b. units which are equivalent to verbs: be taken aback; c. prepositional-substantive: by heart. Two-summit and multi-summit units are classified into: a. attributive-substantive: black art; b. verbal-substantive: take the floor; c. phraseological repetitions: now or never; d. adverbial multi-summit units: every other day. Prof. Smirnitsky also distinguishes between phraseological units proper with non-figurative meanings and idioms with transferred meanings based on a metaphor.
Professor A.V. Koonin’s classification Professor A.V. Koonin’s classification is based on the combined structural-semantic principle and also considers the degree of stability of phraseological units. According to their function in communication, they are divided into four classes: Nominative: wear and tear; Nominative-communicative: to break the ice Interjectional: my God Communicative: proverbs and sayings
9) THE CONCEPT AND DEFINITION OF MEANING. MEANING AND USE. Semantics is commonly defined as the study of meaning. However there is no general agreement either about what meaning is and about the way it should be described. Many scholars agree at least that lexical meaning is the specific kind of ‘content’ produced by the reverberation of objective reality in the human consciousness which constitutes the inner (semantic) structure of linguistic units with respect to which their material form is the outer (or phonetic) structure.
a hard core of meaning Meaning is an indispensable inherent property of the word as the basic unit of language. According to St. Ullmann, “…there is usually in each word a hard core of meaning which is relatively stable and can only be modified by the context within certain limits.” It is important to distinguish between the meaning of the word as its inherent property and different uses of words. The meaning of a word cannot be entirely separated from the linguistic circumstances of its actual use in speech. From this point of view the notions of ‘meaning’ and ‘use’ appear to be closely interrelated since ‘the lexical meaning proper’ depends on ‘use’.
meaning in the domain of pragmatics Within the Russian tradition the word’s meaning is viewed as the integral part of its semantic content. While in the British tradition no distinction is made between ‘meaning’ and ‘use’. When lexical meaning is regarded as an important factor in communication, we are entering the domain of pragmatics. And meaning is regarded as something which is performed rather than something that exists in a static way. It involves action (the speaker producing an effect on the hearer) and interaction (the meaning being ‘negotiated’ between speaker and hearer on the basis of their mutual knowledge).
Thus in the British tradition we come across the following terms used in the analysis of meaning: Static Found in dictionaries Denotative Isolated meaning Conventionalized Regulated by authority Base-meaning Predictable Dynamic found in actual use Connotative meaning deriving from context Creative negotiated between users extended meaning Unpredictable
10. THE SEMANTIC ANALYSIS OF WORDS. The number of meanings a given word is used to express are commonly discussed under the name of lexical-semantic variants. The majority of words in any language have more than one meaning. The overall meaning of the word is approached, according to V.V.Vinogradov, in terms of nominative, nominative-derivative, colligationally and collocationally conditioned, phraseologically bound, and expressive-synonymic meanings.
The nominative meaning The nominative meaning is the basic meaning of the word which refers to objects of extralinguistic reality in a direct way, reflecting their actual relations. It can be correlated with referential/ denotative/ factual, objective meaning according to D. Crystal. The nominative meaning can be also described by the following equivalents: essential, central, primary.
core vs peripheral meaning The core or prototypical meaning is believed to be readily translatable into other languages while the word’s peripheral meanings are least translatable. The nominative meaning is free while the collocational and colligational meanings are bound.
The nominative-derivative meaning The nominative-derivative meaning comes into being when the semantics of the word is used to name new facts and phenomena of extralinguistic reality. By association the speaker uses the word metaphorically, thus extending its content. For example sweet in its nominative-derivative meaning of ‘pleasant, attractive’: sweet face/ voice/ singer/ little boy, etc.
nominative-derivative meanings Most often nominative-derivative meanings are registered in dictionaries as part of the word’s semantic structure. The verb to ask, e.g., is polysemantic; besides its direct meaning: he asked her a question it is used in nominative-derivative meanings: the job asks a great deal of me; I have asked some friends for dinner. The closest to nominative-derivative is connotative meaning in the classification by D. Crystal. At the same time transferred meaning as oppose to literal or direct meaning is also used by British semanticists.
colligation vs collocation Colligationally and collocationally conditioned meanings are not free. They are bound as they depend on the morpho-syntactic and lexical-phraseological combinability of words respectively. Some meanings are realized, for example, only within a given morpho-syntactic pattern (colligation): to tell in passive constructions means ‘to order’ – you must do what you are told. There are meanings which depend on the word’s association with other lexical units (collocation): milk is never rancid but sour; raise wheat/ pigs/ cattle vs The conference is intended to raise people’s awareness of Aids.
Collocation Collocation is defined as the habitual co-occurrence range of separate words as a realization of their polysemy. The idiom principle implies that certain meanings belong only to a given collocation – when a word is habitually brought together with another word to form a phrasal lexical item. This is how the phraseologically-bound meaning is realized: to raise becomes part of the phrase meaning ‘to show surprise’ in: to raise one’s eyebrows (at smb). The adjective burning has the meaning of ‘strong’, ‘urgent’ in the following phrases: burning thirst, desire, question/ issue, disgrace/ambition/ need.
expressive-synonymic meaning Last but not least comes the expressive-synonymic meaning – the sixth type of meaning in V.V.Vinogradov’s classification. One word is opposed to another within the total structure of the lexicon only by its degree of expressivity: Love vs like: I love (like) to tease you; I love (like) dancing; Pray vs ask: I ask you to think again; I pray that you show mercy.
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