Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 129



. . .

ep ocrpx xson

4 a nnnatn amn sm
nntn nnnattm
amn sm
FF 81.2 r-3
ueoe nocoe no ecoor rcoro xs: ueoe
nocoe x cryeron/ocr. . . ropon , 2013. -
ueoe nocoe oxnrner ncm nporpmmy ypc ecoor
rcoro xs. em pccmrpnmrcx nxeme npoem
ecoor n cnere neymx npnon conpemeo rncr.
pesueo x cryeron 4 ypc cnetocr ocrp xs c
onoreto cnetocrtm ocrp xs. ueoe nocoe
nmuer pse: conoopsone, cemroorx, pseoorx, comx,
romx +rmooruec cocrn conpemeoro rcoro xs.
eoperuec mrep reco ynxs c mrepom x nprueco
cmocroxreto por por cempx.
.. Mtnu, r coooruecx y, oer
ep coto-+oomuecx cn u
m. . . enueo
. . an, oer ep ocrpx xson u
m. . . enueo
rnepxeo m. . . enueo
ropon . ., cocrnee, 2013
1. The object oI Lexicology................
2. The connection oI Lexicology with other sciences
3. General problems oI the theory oI the word........
4. Methods oI Lexicological Research...........
5. Morphological structure oI English word.........
6. Morphological structure oI English words ..........
7. Compound words...................
8. Shortened words. Types oI lexical oppositions.......
9. Conversion........................
10. Meaning ........................................................................................
11. Semantic structure oI English words ...........
12. Semasiology. Semantic structure oI English words.......
13. Semantic Structure oI the Word. Polysemy.........
14. Homonyms in English...................
15. Synonymy in English.................
16. Antonyms in English..................
17. Set expressions....................
18. Set expressions....................
19. Proverbs, sayings, Iamiliar quotations and cliches.....
20. Local varieties oI English on the British Isles........
21. Borrowings......................
22. Lexicography......................

1. The object of Lexicology
1. The object of Lexicology. General and special lexicology. Branches of
Lexicology. The notion of lexical system
2. Two Approaches to Language Study
3. The theoretical and practical value of Lexicology. The connection of
Lexicology with Phonetics, Stylistics and Grammar
1. The object of Lexicology. General and special lexicology. Branches of
Lexicology. The notion of lexical system
Lexicology (Irom Greek lexis `word` and logos learning) is the part oI linguistics
dealing with the vocabulary oI a language and the properties oI words as the main
units oI language.
The term vocabulary means the system Iormed by the sum total oI all the words
that the language possesses.
The term word denotes the basic unit oI a given language characterized by
deIinite phonetic and grammatical Iorm. There is another term word equivalent. It
denotes set expressions similar to words semantically, and treated like single words
syntactically. The term word will be described at length later on.
We should diIIerentiate between general and special Lexicology.
General Lexicology deals with the general study oI words and vocabulary,
irrespective oI the speciIic Ieatures oI any particular language.
Special Lexicology devotes its attention to the description oI the characteristics
peculiarities in the vocabulary oI a given language. It goes without saying that every
special Lexicology is based on the principles oI general Lexicology and General Lexicology
is a part oI general Linguistics.
We`ll speak oI historical lexicology. This branch oI Lexicology discusses the
origin oI various words, their change and development and investigates the Iorces
modiIying their structure and meaning.
Descriptive Lexicology deals with the vocabulary oI a given language at a given
stage oI its development. It studies the Iunctions oI words, their speciIic structure.
There are two diIIerent ways in which language may be viewed historical or
diachronic (through time) and the descriptive or synchronic (together with). Both
approaches are interdependent and cannot be understood without one another.
Modern English Lexicology aims at giving a systematic description oI the
wordstock oI Modern English. Words, their component parts morphemes and
various types oI wordgroups, are subjected to structural and semantic analysis
primarily Irom the synchronic angle. Thus, Modern English Lexicology investigates
the problems oI wordstructure and wordIormation in Modern English, the
semantic structure oI English words, the main principles underlying the
classiIication oI vocabulary units into various groupings, the laws governing the
replenishment oI the vocabulary with new vocabulary units. Modern English
Lexicology studies the relations between various layers oI the English vocabulary
and the speciIic laws and regulations that govern its development at the present time.
The source and growth oI the English vocabulary, the changes it has undergone in its
history are also dwelt upon. A section dealing with Lexicography, the science and art
oI dictionarycompiling, is also traditionally included in a course oI Lexicology.
The course oI Modern English Lexicology is oI great practical importance as the
language learner will obtain much valuable inIormation concerning the English
wordstock and the laws and regulations governing the Iormation and usage oI
English words.
The notion of lexical system
The term system doesn`t denote the sum total oI English words. It`s the talk oI
The term system denotes a coherent homogeneous whole, constituted by
interdependent elements oI the same order related in certain speciIic ways.
Lexicology studies this whole by determining the properties oI its elements and the
diIIerent relationships existing between them within a language, as well as the ways
in which they are inIluenced by extra linguistic reality.
E.g. the word sea denotes not only a great expanse oI salt water as opposed to
dry land or Iresh water, as in the expression by sea and land but also the local
motion or state oI the sea, a wave as in the mountainous seas, a quantity oI
something a sea oI troubles. It may also be used as an attribute: sea air.
Linguistic relationships between words are classiIied into syntagmatic and
Syntagmatic relationships are based on the linear character oI speech, i.e. on the
inIluence oI context. The term context means the smallest stretch oI speech
necessary to determine which oI the possible meanings oI a polysemantic word is
E.g. From `Pickwick Club` Ch. Dickens: There were Blue shops and BuII shops,
Blue inns and BuII inns`. To understand it a reader must know Irom the context that
Blues and BuIIs were two rival leading parties oI the town.
Syntagmatic relationships are studied by means oI contextual, distributional,
transIormational and some other types oI analysis.
Paradigmatic relationships may be subdivided into 1) the independence oI
elements within words; 2) the interdependence oI words within the vocabulary; 3)
the interdependence oI other aspects oI the same language.
These points will be discussed later on when dealing with morphology,
semasiology and lexicography.
2. Two Approaches to Language Study
There are two principal approaches in linguistic science to the study oI language
material, namely the synchronic (or descriptive) and the diachronic (or historical)
approach. The distinction between a synchronic and a diachronic approach is due to
the Swiss philologist Ferdinand de Saussure (18571913) who separated the two
approaches stating that synchronic linguistics is concerned with systems and
diachronic linguistics with single units. Subsequent investigations, however, have
shown the possibility and the necessity oI introducing the historical point oI view
into systematic studies even in lexicology. The term synchronic` is composed oI
two Greek morphemes syn meaning together, with` and chronos which denotes
time`. Thus, with regard to special lexicology the synchronic approach is concerned
with the vocabulary oI a language as it exists at a given period oI time, e. g. at the
present time.
The term diachronic` is composed oI the Greek morphemes dia meaning
through` and chronos meaning time`. Thus, the diachronic approach in terms oI
special lexicology deals with the changes and the development oI vocabulary in the
course oI time.
The two approaches in lexicology (synchronic and diachronic) should not be
contrasted or set one against the other; in Iact, they are interconnected and
interdependent: every linguistic structure and system exists in a state oI constant
development so that the synchronic state oI a language system is a result oI a long
process oI linguistic evolution, the result oI the historical development oI the
A good example illustrating both the distinction between the two approaches and
their interconnection is Iurnished by the words to beg and beggar. Synchronically,
these words are related as a simple word (to beg) and a derived word1 (beggar). The
noun beggar is derived Irom the verb to beg by means oI the suIIix ar.
Diachronically, however, we learn that the noun beggar was borrowed Irom Old
French and the verb to beg appeared in the English language as a result oI back
derivation2, i. e. it was derived Irom the noun beggar.
Thus, the synchronic approach studies language at a theoretical point` in time. It
reIers to Descriptive Lexicology as this branch oI Linguistics deals with the
vocabulary and vocabulary units oI language at a certain time. The diachronic
approach reIers to Historical Lexicology that studies the development oI language or
languages over time.
1 Derived word a word Iormed or originated Irom another or Irom a root in the
same or another language.
2 Back derivation the Iormation oI a word Irom the stem (base) oI another word,
i.e. by means oI cutting oII suIIixes (preIixes) Irom the source word. See also the
Iormation oI the words: to burgle Irom the word burglar; to enthuse Irom
enthusiasm, to legislate Irom legislator.
3. The theoretical and practical value of Lexicology. The connection of
Lexicology with Phonetics, Stylistics and Grammar
The theoretical value oI Lexicology becomes obvious iI we realize that it Iorms
the study oI one oI the three main aspects oI language: its vocabulary, grammar and
sound system.
1) Lexicology not only gives a systematic description oI the present make-up oI
the vocabulary, but also helps to master the literary standards oI word usage. The
correct use oI words is an important counterpart oI expressive and eIIective speech.
2) An exact knowledge oI the vocabulary system is also necessary in connection
with technical teaching means (beIore to teach a teacher must have a program).
3) Lexicology plays a prominent part in the general linguistic training oI every
philologist by summing the knowledge acquired at the English lessons during all his
years oI study.
4) It also imparts the necessary skills oI using diIIerent kinds oI dictionaries and
reIerent books and also improving one`s vocabulary.
From the theoretical point oI view, it came into being to meet the needs oI many
diIIerent branches oI applied linguistics, namely oI Lexicography, Literary criticism,
Terminology, and oI Ioreign language training.
The study oI words in lexicology can not be separated Irom the study oI all the
other elements in the language system to which words belong. All these elements are
independent and stand in deIinite relations to one another. We only separate them Ior
convenience oI study.
The word is studied in other branches oI Linguistics and not in Lexicology only.
And Lexicology in its turn is closely connected with General linguistics, the History
oI the language, Phonetics, Stylistics, and especially, Grammar.
The connection oI Lexicology with Phonetics is also important. This importance
is easily understood iI we think oI the Iact that on the acoustic level words consist oI
phonemes, and thereIore phonemes participate in signiIication. They have no
meaning oI their own: the Iorm-meaning unity is introduced only on a higher level,
on the level oI morphemes. Phonemes are used to build up morphemes and they
serve to distinguish between meanings.
E.g. Our queer old dean our dear old queen (compare).
All these examples are not exhaustive, they give only a general idea oI the
possible connection between the two branches oI linguistics.
Stylistics, although Irom a diIIerent angle, studies many problems treated in
lexicology. These are the problems oI meaning, synonymy, diIIerentiation oI
vocabulary according to the sphere oI communication and some other issues.
The diIIerence and interconnection between Grammar and Lexicology is one oI
the important controversial issues in Linguistics. Some authors have been extremely
vague on this point, others, like H.Sweet and O.esperson aIIirmed that `Grammar
deals with the general Iacts oI language, and Lexicology with special Iacts`.
The point is illustrated by the Iormation oI the plural in nouns by adding s. This
is considered a general Iact because the opposition cat-cats is not isolated, it is
repeated in many other words pan-pans.
But there are diIIiculties presented by such irregularities as ox- oxen, child-
children. He (O.esperson) overcomes it by claiming that these irregularities are not
excluded Irom Grammar because they indicate the limits within which general rules
hold good, and as dictionaries mention such irregularities under the word concerned,
it may be said that Grammar and Lexicology deal with the same Iacts in some
respects. In Iact no doubt that grammatical Iorm usually changes the lexical meaning
oI the word.
1. What Greek morphemes is the term lexicology` composed oI
2. What does lexicology study
3. What does the term word` denote
4. What is the term vocabulary` used to denote
5. What is the object oI study oI General Lexicology
6. What does Special Lexicology study
7. What Iorms the object oI study oI Historical Lexicology
8. What does Descriptive Lexicology deal with
9. What branches oI linguistics does lexicology have close ties with
10. What are the principal approaches in linguistic science to
the study oI language material
11. What scientist made the distinction between a synchronic and
a diachronic approach
12.What is the literal meaning oI the term synchronic` which is
Greek by origin
13. What is the synchronic approach concerned with
14.What is the literal meaning oI the term diachronic` which is
Greek by origin
15.What does the diachronic approach deal with
16.Why are the synchronic and the diachronic approaches inter
connected and interdependent Give an example.
17. What does Modern English Lexicology aim at
18. What problems does Modern English Lexicology investigate
19.What section is also traditionally included in a course oI
Lexicology Why
20.Why is the course oI Modern English Lexicology oI great practical
importance Ior the language learner
2. General problems of the theory of the word
1. The definition of the word
2. Motivation
1. The definition of the word
The deIinition oI the word was given already. The importance oI remembering
about deIinitions is that they should indicate the most essential characteristic
Ieatures oI the notion expressed by the term under discussion, the Ieatures by which
this notion is distinguished Irom other similar notions.
E.g. In deIining the word one must distinguish it Irom other linguistic units, such
as phonemes, the morphemes, or the word groups.
Another term, a description enumerates all the essential Ieatures oI a notion.
The deIinition oI every basic notion is a very hard task; the deIinition oI the
word is the most diIIicult in Linguistics because the simplest word has many
diIIerent aspects. The aspects are:
1) It has a sound Iorm because it is a certain arrangement oI phonemes;
2) It has its morphological structure, being also a certain arrangement oI
morphemes, when used in actual speech, it may occur in diIIerent word Iorms, and
signal various meanings.
Being the central element oI any language system the word is a sort oI Iocus Ior
problems oI Phonology, Lexicology, Syntax, Morphology and also Ior some other
sciences that have to deal with language and speech, such as Philosophy and
Psychology etc.
The characteristic Ieatures oI a word are diIIerent depending in the science Iield
where it is studied. That`s why the variants oI deIinitions were so numerous and
diIIerent in character.
E.g. This example will show that any deIinition is conditioned by the aims and
interests oI its authors. Thomas Hobbes, one oI the great English philosophers,
revealed a materialistic approach to the problem oI nomination when he wrote that
words are not mere sounds but names oI matter. Three centuries later Russian
physiologist Pavlov examined the word in connection with signal that can substitute
any other signal Irom the environment in evoking a response in a human organism.
We know such a phenomenon as a machine-translation. It also deals with words
(but by words is meant a sequence oI graphemes which can occur between
Within the scope oI Linguistics the word has been deIined syntactically,
semantically, phonologically and by combining various approaches.
Words seldom occur in isolation. They are arranged in certain patterns conveying
the relations between the thongs Ior which they stand, thereIore alongside with the
lexical they possess some grammatical meaning.
There is one more, very important characteristics oI the word, it is its
indivisibility: Sapir says It cannot cut into without a disturbance oI meaning.
E.g. Compare a lion- alive (a as an article and a as a preIix).
A purely semantic treatment can be Iound in Stephen llman`s explanation:
From the semantic point oI view, will Iall into a number oI meaningIul segments
which are ultimately composed oI meaningIul units. These units are called words.
The semantic phonological approach may be illustrated by Gardiner`s deIinition:
A word is an articulate sound symbol in its aspect oI denoting something which is
spoken about.
The French linguist Millet combines the semantic, phonological and grammatic
criteria and advances a Iormula which underlines many deIinitions: A word is
deIined by the association oI a given meaning with a given group oI sounds
susceptible oI a given grammatical employment. We can take this Iormula together
with the statement that the word is the smallest signiIicant unit oI a given language,
capable oI Iunctioning alone. This addition is very important to diIIerentiate
between a phoneme, morpheme and a word.
2. Motivation
The term motivation is used to denote the relationship existing between the
morphemic or phonemic composition and structural pattern oI the word on the one
hand, and its meaning on the other. There are three main types oI motivation:
phonetical motivation, morphological and semantic motivation.
E.g. The word hiss is motivated by a certain similarity between the sounds which
make it up, and those reIerred to by the sense: its motivation is phonetical. Examples
are also: bang, buzz, giggle, whistle etc.
The derived word rethink is motivated in as much as its morphological structure
suggests the idea oI thinking again. Its motivation is morphological.
Semantic motivation is based on the co-existence oI direct and Iigurative
meanings, i.e. oI the old sense and new within the same synchronous system.
E.g. Mouth continues to denote a part oI the human Iace, and at the same time it
can mean metaphorically any opening or outlet: the mouth oI a river, Ior instance. In
its direct meaning the word mouth is not motivated, so that semantic motivation is
also only relative.
II there is no inIluence oI other words on the word under discussion, the word
under discussion is said to be non-motivated (there is no connections between the
phonetical structure oI the word and its meaning).
The diIIerence between motivated and non-motivated words is that between a
symbol and a sign. The sign simply points to a meaning. The meaning oI a symbol is
not arbitrary but depends upon its structure.
From the historical point oI view, motivation changes in the course oI time.
Words that are non-motivated at present may have lost their motivation due to
changes in the vocabulary, their motivation is said to be Iaded.
E.g. The verb earn doesn`t suggest any necessary connection with agriculture at
present. It is purely conventional; historical analysis shows that it is derived Irom
OE earnian to harvest. In ME this connection no longer exists, the motivation is
lost and earn is now a non-motivated word.
Some linguists consider one more type oI motivation sound symbolism. Some
words are supposed to illustrate the meaning more immediately than do ordinary
words. Their sound Iorm is very closely connected with the meaning. Examples are:
Ilap, Ilip, Ilop, Ilash, glare, glitter; sleet, slime, slush, where Il is associated with
quick movement, gl with light and Iire, sl mud.
It`s practically enough about Iundamentals oI Lexicology. ow we come to the
methods used to deal with these problems.
3. Methods of Lexicological Research
1. The diachronic approach;
2. The synchronic approach;
3. Statistical methods;
1. Diachronic approach.
The research methods used in Lexicology have always been closely connected
with the general trends in Linguistics. The principles oI comparative linguistics have
played an important role in the development oI a scientiIic approach to historical
word study.
They have brought everything in order and classiIied inIormation about the
English vocabulary in their proper perspective.
The methods applied consisted in observation oI speech, mostly written,
collection and classiIication oI data, hypotheses and systematic statements.
Particular stress was put on the reIinement oI methods Ior collecting and classiIying
Iacts. The study oI vocabulary became scientiIic.
The 19
century language study has recognized variety and change in language.
Comparative philology insisted on reconstruction oI the Iundamental Iorms and
meanings which have not come down to us. It was realized that the only basis Ior
correctness is the usage oI the native speakers oI each language. They destroyed the
myth oI a Golden Age when all the words had their primary correct meaning and
when the language was in a state oI perIection Irom which it has deteriorated. It
became clear Irom intensive work on the great historical dictionaries that multiple
meaning Ior words is normal, not an exception. Comparative studies show that,
save Ior speciIic technical terms, there are no two words in two languages that cover
precisely the same area.
The greatest contribution, as Iar as English is concerned, were the OxIord
English Dictionary and Data on the English vocabulary in works by H.Sweet,
O.esperson, H.Poutsma, and others. Most oI them were published in the 20
century but the main principles on which they were based were worked out in the
In the beginning oI the 20
century vocabulary study was still mainly
concentrated on historical problems. In connection with the so-called word-and-
thing method the study oI words became a tool Ior the study oI civilization.
A wide historical context was, in its turn, Iound indispensable in explaining
vocabulary changes. In the process oI studying some words or work, the linguists
collected accurately chosen examples oI usage, and arranged them according to the
periods oI language history (and Ior OE and ME according to dialects). These data
were compared. As to conclusions about the meaning, they were drawn Irom the
context and Irom what was known about the realia oI the period.
Comparing words and morphemes with those Irom which they were derived it
was possible to describe the processes at work in vocabulary development.
2. The synchronic approach.
The centre oI interest has shiIted to the synchronic level, the spoken utterance
and structure. Lexicologists are now describing what the vocabulary oI the language
is like, rather than how it came to be that way.
The new trend has received the name structural (descriptive) linguistics. Its
methodological principles can be summarized as Iollows: Language is to be
analyzed by speciIically linguistic methods, according to the speciIically linguistic
criteria, not as a combination oI psychological, physiological and physical
phenomenon. This analysis arrives at a deIinite number oI discrete units,
interdependent parts oI relational structure, and each language is characterized by an
internal structure oI its own.
Descriptive linguistics can not be simply a list oI elements, it must show how
these elements are combined.
Structural linguistic has many varieties and schools. The main schools are those
oI Prague, the nited States, Copenhagen, and more presently, London and Moscow.
A major achievements oI the Prague school is represented in .S.Trubetzkoy`s
classical work, and means in the Iirst place a particular approach to phonology (the
theory oI oppositions).
The typically American developments oI linguistic theory resulted Irom practical
tasks: the study oI the America Indian languages, teaching oI Ioreign languages, and
recently, machine translation. Books by L.BloomIield, E.ida, B.Bloch, .Harris
and others mark stages in the development oI structuralist theory in the nited
The main achievements oI the American schools are the analysis into immediate
constituents, substitution, distributional and transIormational analysis.
Immediate constituents (IC) are the two meaningIul parts Iorming a larger
linguistic unity. The IC oI bluish are blue- and ish.
Substitution is testing oI similarity by placing into identical environment:
It is reddish it is some what red.
Substitution is also necessary Ior determining classes Ior words.
E.g. the words Iamily, boy, and house all belong to diIIerent classes oI nouns, as
they are diIIerently substituted:
I like this Iamily I like them
I like this boy I like him
I like this house I like it.
This linguistic Ieature and not the diIIerence between the objects the words serve
to denote, is the basis Ior their subdivision into collective, personal and object
The term distribution is used to denote the possible variants oI the immediate
lexical, grammatical and phonetical environment oI a linguistic unit.
According to .Harris, the distribution oI an element is the total oI all
environments in which it occurs, i.e. the sum oI all the positions oI an element
relative to the occurrence oI other elements.
E.g. she made him a good wiIe she made a good wiIe Ior him.
3. Statistical methods
Modern structural ways oI analysis are oIten combined with statistical
procedures. Statistics describes how things are on the average. For a modern linguist
it is not enough to know that it is allowable Ior a given structure to appear, he is
interested in its Irequency, in how oIten it appears.
Every lexicological research is based on collecting linguistic evidence, i.e.
Having determined the object oI research, the problem to be investigated and the
set oI units or phenomena to be described, the linguist proceeds to choose his
method and collect and classiIy his data. He must have at hand a suIIiciently wide
choice oI contexts so that his results might be statistically reliable. To know how
many examples are necessary to make the conclusion, one must determine the
relative Irequency oI the phenomenon or unit studied.
Mathematical statistics supplies the research workers with Iormulas showing the
necessary scope oI material depending on the amount oI error they are prepared to
When using a statistical method, it is true that some details are lost because
statistical study is necessarily simpliIying and abstract. G.Miller gives a clear picture
oI the situation when he says At one time we look at the talker as generator oI
sound waves, and at another time he seems a Iountain oI prepositional phrases. The
choice depends upon the interest.
4. Morphological structure of English words
1. Segmentation of Words into Morphemes
2. Morphemes. Free and bound forms. Affixes and their function
3. Aims and principles of structural analysis. Derivational and structural
4. Semi-affixes. Allomorphs
1. Segmentation of Words into Morphemes
Close observation and comparison oI words clearly shows that a great many
words have a composite nature and are made up oI smaller units, each possessing
sound-Iorm and meaning. These are generally reIerred to as m o r p h e m e s
deIined as the smallest indivisible two-Iacet language units. For instance, words like
boiler, driller Iall into the morphemes boil-, drill- and -er by virtue oI the recurrence
oI the morpheme - er in these and other similar words and oI the morphemes boil-
and drillin to boil, a boil, boiling and to drill, a drill, drilling, a drill-press, etc.
Likewise, words like Ilower-pot and shoe-lace are segmented into the morphemes
Ilower-, pot-, shoe- and lace- (cI. Ilower-show, IlowerIul, etc., shoe-brush, shoeless,
etc., on the one hand; and pot-lid, pottery, etc., lace-boots, lacing, etc., on the other).
Like a word a morpheme is a two-Iacet language unit, an association oI a certain
meaning with a certain sound-pattern. nlike a word a morpheme is not an
autonomous unit and can occur in speech only as a constituent part oI the word.
Morphemes cannot be segmented into smaller units without losing their constitutive
essence, i.e. two-Iacetedness, association oI a certain meaning with a given sound-
pattern, cI. the morpheme lace- denoting a string or cord put through small holes in
shoes, etc.; to draw edges together and the constituent phonemes l, ei, s
entirely without meaning.
IdentiIication oI morphemes in various texts shows that morphemes may have
diIIerent phonemic shapes. In the word-cluster please, pleasing, pleasure, pleasant
the rootmorpheme is represented by phonemic shapes: pli:z in please, pleasing,
plez in pleasure and plez in pleasant. In such cases we say that the phonemic
shapes oI the word stand in complementary distribution or in alternation with each
other. All the representations oI the given morpheme that maniIest alteration are
called allomorphs oI that morpheme or m o r p h e m e v a r i a n t s . Thus pli:z,
plez and ples are allomorphs oI oe and the same morpheme. The root-
morphemes in the wordcluster duke, ducal, duchess, duchy or poor, poverty may
also serve as examples oI the allomorphs oI one morpheme.
2. Morphemes. Free and bound forms. Affixes and their function
II we describe a word as an autonomous unit oI language in which a given
meaning is associated with a given grammatical employment and able to Iorm a
sentence by itselI, we have a possibility to distinguish it Irom Iundamental language
unit, namely the morpheme.
A morpheme is also an association oI a given meaning with a given sound
pattern. But it is not autonomous. Morphemes occur in speech only as constituent
parts oI words, not independently, although a word may consist oI a single
morpheme. They are also indivisible into smaller meaningIul units. That`s why the
morpheme may be deIined as the minimum meaningIul language unit.
The term morpheme is derived Irom Gr. - `morphe` `Iorm` eme. The Greek
suIIix eme has been adopted by linguists to denote the smallest unit or the
minimum distinctive Ieature (phoneme).
The morpheme is the smallest meaningIul unit oI Iorm. A Iorm in these cases is a
recurring discrete unit oI speech.
Morphemes may be classiIied:
a) Irom the semantic point oI view,
b) Irom the structural point oI view.
a) Semantically morphemes Iall into two classes: r o o t - m o r p h e m e s and n o
n - r o o t or a I I i x a t i o n a l m o r - p h e m e s . Roots and aIIixes make two
distinct classes oI morphemes due to the diIIerent roles they play in word-structure.
Roots and aIIixational morphemes are generally easily distinguished and the
diIIerence between them is clearly Ielt as, e.g., in the words helpless, handy,
blackness, Londoner, reIill, etc.: the root-morphemes help-, hand-, black-, London-,
-Iill are understood as the lexical centres oI the words, as the basic constituent part
oI a word without which the word is inconceivable.
T h e r o o t - m o r p h e m e is the lexical nucleus oI a ward, it has an individual
lexical meaning shared by no other morpheme oI the language. Besides it may also
possess all other types oI meaning proper to morphemes1 except the part-oI-speech
meaning which is not Iound in roots. The root-morpheme is isolated as the
morpheme common to a set oI words making up a word-cluster, Ior example the
morpheme teach-in to teach, teacher, teaching, theor- in theory, theorist, theoretical,
o n - r o o t m o r p h e m e s include inIlectional morphemes or inIlections and
aIIixational morphemes or aIIixes. InIlections carry only grammatical meaning and
are thus relevant only Ior the Iormation oI wordIorms, whereas aIIixes are relevant
Ior building various types oI stems the part oI a word that remains unchanged
throughout it s paradigm. Lexicology is concerned only with aIIixational
A I I i x e s are classiIied into p r e I i x e s and s u I I i x e s : a preIix precedes the
root-morpheme, a suIIix Iollows it . AIIixes besides the meaning proper to root-
morphemes possess the part-oI-speech meaning and a generalised lexical meaning.
b) Structurally morphemes Iall into three types: I r e e morph e m e s , b o u n d m o
r p h e m e s , s e m i - I r e e ( s e m i - b o u n d ) m o r p h e m e s .
A I r e e m o r p h e m e is deIined as one that coincides with the stem 2 or a
word-Iorm. A great many root-morphemes are Iree morphemes, Ior example, the
root-morpheme Iriend oI the noun Iriendship is naturally qualiIied as a Iree
morpheme because it coincides with one oI the Iorms oI the noun Iriend.
A b o u n d m o r p h e m e occurs only as a constituent part oI a word. AIIixes
are, naturally, bound morphemes, Ior they always make part oI a word, e.g. the
suIIixes -ness, -ship, -ise (-ize), etc., the preIixes un-, dis-, de-, etc. (e.g. readiness,
comradeship, to activise; unnatural, to displease, to decipher).
Many root-morphemes also belong to the class oI bound morphemes which always
occur in morphemic sequences, i.e. in combinations with roots or aIIixes. All
unique roots and pseudo-roots are-bound morphemes. Such are the root-morphemes
theor- in theory, theoretical, etc., barbar-in barbarism, barbarian, etc., -ceive in
conceive, perceive, etc.
Semi-bound ( s e m i - I r e e ) m o r p h e m e s 1 are morphemes that can
Iunction in a morphemic sequence both as an aIIix and as a Iree morpheme. For
example, the morpheme well and halI on the one hand occur as Iree morphemes that
coincide with the stem and the word-Iorm in utterances like sleep well, halI an
hour, on the other hand they occur as bound morphemes in words like well-known,
halI-eaten, halI-done.
Speaking oI word-structure on the morphemic level two groups oI morphemes
should be specially mentioned.
To t h e I i r s t g r o u p belong morphemes oI Greek and Latin origin oIten
called c o m b i n i n g I o r m s , e.g. telephone, telegraph, phonoscope, microscope,
etc. The morphemes tele-, graph-, scope-, micro-, phone- are characterised by a
deIinite lexical meaning and peculiar stylistic reIerence: tele- means Iar`, graph-
means writing`, scope `seeing`, micro- implies smallness, phone- means `sound.`
Comparing words with tele- as their Iirst constituent, such as telegraph, telephone,
telegram one may conclude that tele- is a preIix and graph-, phone-, gram-are root-
morphemes. On the other hand, words like phonograph, seismograph, autograph
may create the impression that the second morpheme graph is a suIIix and the Iirst
a root-morpheme. This undoubtedly would lead to the absurd conclusion that
words oI this group contain no root-morpheme and are composed oI a suIIix and a
preIix which runs counter to the Iundamental principle oI word-structure. ThereIore,
there is only one solution to this problem; these morphemes are all bound
rootmorphemes oI a special kind and such words belong to words made up oI bound
roots. The Iact that these morphemes do not possess the part-oIspeech meaning
typical oI aIIixational morphemes evidences their status as roots.
T h e s e c o n d g r o u p embraces morphemes occupying a kind oI intermediate
position, morphemes that are changing their class membership.The root-morpheme
man- Iound in numerous words like postman poustm+n, Iisherman Ii+m+n,
gentleman d3entlm+n in comparison with the same root used in the words man-
made mnmeid and manservant mn,s+:v+nt is, as is well-known, pronounced,
diIIerently, the oI the root-morpheme becomes + and sometimes disappears
The phonetic reduction oI the root vowel is obviously due to the decreasing
semantic value oI the morpheme and some linguists argue that in words like
cabman, gentleman, chairman it is now Ielt as denoting an agent rather than a male
adult, becoming synonymous with the agent suIIix -er. However, we still recognise
the identity oI man in postman, cabman and mn in man-made, man-servant.
Abrasion has not yet completely disassociated the two, and we can hardly regard
man as having completely lost the status oI a root-morpheme. Besides it is
impossible to say she is an Englishman (or a gentleman) and the lexical opposition
oI man and woman is still Ielt in most oI these compounds (cI. though Madam
Chairman in cases when a woman chairs a sitting and even all women are
tradesmen). It Iollows Irom all this that the morpheme man as the last component
may be qualiIied as semi-Iree.
A Iorm is said to be Iree iI it may stand alone without changing its meaning; iI
not, it is bound Iorm, so called because it is always bound to something else. A word
is by BloomIield`s deIinition a minimum Iree Iorm.
A morpheme is said to be bound or Iree. It means that some morphemes are
capable oI Iorming words without adding other morphemes, that is they are
homonymous to Iree Iorms.
According to the role they play in Iorming words morphemes are subdivided into
roots and aIIixes. AIIixes are subdivided into (according to their position) preIixes,
suIIixes and inIixes, (according to their Iunction and meaning) derivational and
Iunctional aIIixes (endings or other Iormatives).
When we strip derivational or Iunctional suIIixes Irom the word, what remains is
a stem or a stem base.
E.g. Ior the word hearty, and Ior paradigm heart`s hearts (pl) the stem is heart.
This stem is a single morpheme, it contains nothing but the root, so it is a simple
stem. It is also a Iree stem, because it is homonymous to the word heart.
A stem may be deIined as the part oI the word which remains unchanged
throughout its paradigm.
E.g. the stem oI the paradigm Hearty heartier, the heartiest is hearty.
It is a Iree stem but not simple but derived as it consists oI root morpheme an
II aIter reducing the aIIix the remaining Iorm is not homonymous to a separate
word oI the same root, we call it a bound stem.
Thus in the word cordial (proceeding as iI Irom the heart) the adjective-Iorming
suIIix can be separated on the analogy with such word as bronchial, radial, social.
The remaining stem can not Iorm a separate word by itselI: it is bound. In cordially,
cordiality, on the other hand the stems are Iree.
Bound stems are especially characteristic oI loan words. The point may be
illustrated by the Iollowing French borrowings: arrogance, charity, courage, coward,
distort, involve, notion, legible and tolerable, to give but a Iew. AIter the suIIixes oI
these words are taken away the remaining elements are: -char-, -cour-, -cow-, -tort-
etc., which do not coincide with any semantically related independent words.
It should be noted that the root in English is oIten homonymous with the word.
This Iact is oI Iundamental importance as it is one oI the most speciIic Ieatures oI
the English language arising Irom its general grammatical system on the one hand,
and Irom its phonemic system on the other. The inIluence oI the analytical structure
oI the language is obvious. The second point calls Ior explanation. The usual
phonemic shape most Iavoured in English is one single stressed syllable: bear, Iind,
land, man, single. This doesn`t give much space Ior the second morpheme to add
classiIying lexico-grammatical meaning to the lexical meaning already present in the
root-stem, so the lexico-grammatical meaning must be signaled by distribution.
E.g. In the phrases a morning`s drive, a morning`s ride, a morning`s walk, the
words drive, ride and walk receive the lex-grm. meaning oI a noun because they are
preceded by a `s and not due to the structure oI their stems.
An English word doesn`t necessarily contain Iormatives indicating to what part
oI speech it belongs. This holds true, even with respect to inIlectable parts oI speech:
nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. ot all roots are Iree Iorms, but productive roots, roots
capable oI producing new words, usually are. The semantic realization oI an English
word is very speciIic. Its dependence on distribution is Iurther enhanced by the
widespread occurrence oI homonymy both among root morphemes and aIIixes. ote
how many words in the Iollowing statement might be ambiguous iI taken in
isolation: a change oI work is as good as a rest.
nlike roots, aIIixes are always bound Iorms. The diIIerence between suIIixes
and preIixes is not in their position only, but also it concerns their Iunction and
A suIIix is a derivational morpheme Iollowing the root and Iorming a new
derivative in a diIIerent part oI speech or a diIIerent word class. When both Iorms
belong to the same part oI speech, the suIIix serve to diIIerentiate between lex-
grammatical classes by rendering some very general lex-grammatical meaning.
E.g. both iIy and er are verb suIIixes, but the Iirst characterizes causative
verbs, such as horriIy, puriIy, when the second is mostly typical oI Irequentative
verbs: Ilicker, shimmer, twitter and the like.
A preIix is a derivational morpheme standing beIore the root and modiIying
meaning, to hearten to dishearten. It is only with verbs and statives that a preIix
may serve to distinguish one part oI speech Irom another, like in earth (n) unearth
(v), sleep (n, v) asleep (stative).
Preceding a verb stem, some preIixes express the diIIerence between a transitive
and an intransitive verb: stay (v.i) and outstay (smb. v.t.). With a Iew exceptions
some preIixes modiIy the stem Ior time (pre-, post), place (in, ad-), negation (un-,
E.g. postpone, advent, unwrap, preced, inhume, inhabit, dislike.
An inIix is an aIIix placed within a combining Iorm word, like n in stand. The
type is not productive.
An aIIix shouldn`t be conIused with a combining Iorm. A combining Iorm is also
a bound Iorm but it can be distinguished Irom an aIIix historically by the Iact that it
is always borrowed Irom another language, namely Irom Latin or Greek, in which
existed as a Iree Iorm, a separated word, or also a combining Iorm.
E.g. From Greek word kuklos the combining Iorm cyclo -, or cycl the
English word cyclic.
They diIIer Irom all other borrowings in that they occur in compounds and
derivatives that do not exist in their original language but were Iormed only in mode
3. Aims and principles of structural analysis. Derivational and structural
A structural word Iormation analysis studies the structural correlation with
other words, the structural patterns or rules on which words are built.
A binary opposition comprises two elements. A correlation is a set oI binary
oppositions. It is composed oI two subsets Iormed by the Iirst and the second
elements oI each couple; i.e. opposition. Each element oI the Iirst set is coupled with
exactly one element oI the second set and vice versa. Each second element may be
derived Irom the corresponding Iirst element by a general rule valid Ior all members
oI the correlation. Observing the proportional opposition:
Child woman monkey book spinster
Childish womanish monkeyish bookish spinsterish
it is possible to conclude, that there is in English a type oI direct adjectives
consisting oI a noun stem and a suIIix ish. Observation also shows that the stems
are mostly those oI animate nouns, and permites us to deIine the relationship
between the structural pattern oI the word and its meaning. Any word built
according to this pattern contains a semantic component common to the whole
group, namely: typical oI, or having the bad qualities oI.
In this example the results oI morphemic and the structural word-Iormational
analysis practically coincide. But there are cases when they are oI necessity
The morphemic analysis, Ior instance, insuIIicient in showing the diIIerence
between the structure oI inconvenience and impatience classiIies both as
derivatives. From the point oI view oI word-Iormation pattern, they are
Iundamentally diIIerent. It is only the second that is Iormed by derivation. Compare:
Impatience n patience n corpulence n
Impatient a patient a corpulent a
The correlation that can be established Ior the verb inconvenience is diIIerent:
Inconvenience v pain v disgust v etc.
Inconvenience n pain n disgust n
Here nouns denoting some Ieeling or state are correlated with verbs causing this
Ieeling or state, there being no diIIerence in stems between the members oI each
separate opposition.
There is another type oI analysis which permits us to obtain the morphemic
structure and provides the basis Ior Iurther word-Iormation analysis (immediate
E.g. 1. un-gentlemanly 3. un-gentle-man-ly
2. un-gentleman-ly 4. un-gent-le-man-ly
Lexicology Is primary concerned with derivational aIIixes, the other group being
the domain oI grammarians. The derivational aIIixes in Iact, as well as the whole
problem oI word Iormation, Iorm a boundary area between Lexicology and
Grammar and are thereIore studied in both.
It is impossible to have a complete study oI aIIixes without some discussion oI
the similarity and diIIerence between derivational and Iunctional morphemes. They
are similar very oIten as they are oIten homonymous. On the other hand they are
quite diIIerent as they render diIIerent types oI meaning.
Functional aIIixes serve to convey grammatical meaning. They build diIIerent
Iorms oI one and the same word a paradigm thereIore is deIined as the system oI
grammatical Iorms characteristic oI a word.
Derivational aIIixes serve to supply the stem with components oI lexical and
lexico-grammatical meaning and Iorm diIIerent words. One and the same lex-gram.
meanining oI the aIIix is sometimes accompanied by diIIerent combinations oI
various lexical meanings.
E.g. the lexico-grammatical meaning supplied by the suIIix y consists in the
ability to express the qualitative idea peculiar to adjectives and creates adjectives
Irom noun stems. The lexical meanings oI the same suIIix are somewhat variegated
Iull oI, as in bushy or cloudy, composed oI stony. The same suIIix may convey
emotional components oI meaning. Bosssy (in Ch. Dickens) not like boss but it is
also an unkind derogatory word.
arious kinds oI morphemes are also diIIerent positionally. A Iunctional aIIix
marks the word boundary, it can only Iollow the aIIix oI derivation and come last, so
that no Iurther derivation is possible Ior a stem to which a Iunctional aIIix is added.
That is why the Iunctional aIIixes are called by ida the outer Iormatives as
contrasted to the inner Iormatives which is equivalent to our term derivational
It might be argued that the outer position oI the Iunctional aIIixes is disapproved
by such examples as the disableds, the unwanteds. It must be noted, that in these
words ed is not a Iunctional aIIix, it receives derivational Iorce so that the disableds
is not a Iorm oI the verb to disable, but a new word a collective noun.
A word containing no outer Iormatives is considered open, because it is
homonymous to a stem and Iurther derivational aIIixes may be added to it: boy
boyish, boyish boyishness. But once we add an outer Iormative, no Iurther
derivation is possible. The Iorm boys is not homonymous to a stem and cannot
constitute the underlying Iorm Ior a new derivative. The Iorm may be regarded as
To sum up: derivational and Iunctional morphemes may happen to be identical in
sound Iorm, but they are substantially diIIerent in meaning, Iunction, valency,
statistical characteristics and structural properties.
4. Semi-affixes. Allomorphs
There are cases, where it is very diIIicult to draw a hard and Iast line between
roots and aIIixes on the one hand and derivational suIIixes and inIlexional
Iormatives on the other. There are a Iew roots in English which are usually in the
position oI the second element oI a word and have a very general meaning similar to
that oI an aIIix. These are semi-aIIixes (because semantically, Iunctionally,
structurally they are more like aIIixes than like roots). Their meaning is as general.
They determine to what lex-grammatical class the word belongs.
E.g. sailor seaman, where man is a semi-aIIix.
The combining Iorm allo Irom Greek allos other is used in linguistic
terminology to denote elements oI a group whose members together constitute a
structural unit oI the language (allophones, allomorphs).
Thus, Ior example, -ion/ -tion/ -sion/ -ation are the positional variants oI the
same suIIix. They do not diIIer in meaning or Iunction but show a slight diIIerence
in sound Iorm depending on the Iinal phoneme oI the preceding stem. They are
considered as variants oI one and the same morpheme and called its allomorphs.
An allomorph is deIined as positional variant oI a morpheme occurring in a
speciIic environment and so characterized by complementary distribution.
Complementary distribution is said to take place when two linguistic variants
cannot appear in the same environment. Thus, stems ending in consonants take as a
rule ation (liberation); stems ending in pt, however, take tion (corruption) and the
Iinal t becomes Iused with the suIIix.
DiIIerent morphemes are characterized by contrastive distribution, iI they occur
in the same environment they signal diIIerent meanings.
For instance, the suIIix able and ed are diIIerent morphemes, not allomorphs,
because adjectives in able mean capable oI being: measurable capable oI being
measured, whereas ed as a suIIix has a resultant Iorce; measured marked by due
proportion, as the pressured beauty oI classical Greek art.
In some cases the diIIerence is not very clear-cut. ic and ical, Ior example are
two diIIerent aIIixes, the Iirst is a simple one, the second a group aIIix; They are
characterized by contrastive distribution. COD points out that the suIIix ical shows
a vaguer connection with what is indicated by the stem: comic paper but comical
story. Here the distinction between them is not very sharp.
Allomorph will also occur among preIixes.
E.g. impossible, irregular, indirect.
In American descriptive linguistics allomorphs are treated on a purely semantic
basis, so not only iz in dishes, z in dreams, s in books, which are allomorphs in
the given sense, but also Iormally unrelated en oxen, the vowel modiIication in
tooth-teeth; and zero suIIix in many sheep are considered to be allomorphs oI the
same morpheme on the strength oI the sameness oI their grammatical meaning.
5. Morphological structure of English words
1. Classification of suffixes
2. Prefixes and their function
3. The etymology of suffixes. Hybrids
1. Classification of suffixes
Depending on the purpose oI the research, various classi8Iications oI suIIixes
have been used and suggested. They have been classiIied according to their origin,
parts oI speech they served to Iorm, their Irequency, productivity and other
Within the parts oI speech suIIixes have been classiIied according to lexico-
grammatical groups, semantically, according to the types oI stems they are added to.
oun-Iorming suIIixes:
-age (bondage, breakage); -ance/-ence (assistance, experience); -ancy/-ency
(vacancy, tendency); -ant/ent; -ee (employee); -er (writer, teacher); -ese (journalese);
-ess (actress, lioness); -hood (childhood); -ing (building, washing); -ion/-sion/-tion/-
ation (creation, tension, explanation); -ism/-icism (communism, criticism); -ist
(novelist, communist); -ment (government, nourishment); -ness (tenderness); -ship
(Iriendship); -ty (honesty).
Adjective-Iorming suIIixes:
-able/-ible/-uble (unbreakable, audible, soluble); -al (Iormal); -ic (public); -ical
(ethical); -ant/-ent (repentant, dependent); -ary (revolutionary); -ate/-ete (accurate,
complete); -ed/-d (wooded); -Iul (delightIul); -ian (Australian); -ish (Irish, reddish);
-ive (active); -less (useless); -like (liIelike); -ly (mainly); -ous/-ious (tremendous,
curious); -some (tiresome); -y (cloudy).
umeral suIIixes:
-Iold (twoIold); -teen (Iourteen); -th (seventh); -ty (sixty).
erb-Iorming suIIixes:
-ate (Iacilitate); -er (glimmer); -en (shorten); -Iy/-iIy (terriIy, speechiIy, solidiIy);
-ize (equalize); -ish (establish).
Adverb-Iorming suIIixes:
-ly (coldly); -ward/-wards (upward, northwards); -wise (likewise).
II we change our approach and become interested in the lexico-grammatical
meaning the suIIixes serve to signalize, we obtain within each part oI speech more
detailed lexico-grammatical classes or subclasses.
A lexico-grammatical class may be deIined as a class oI lexical elements
possessing the same lexico-grammatical meaning and a common system oI Iorms in
which the grammatical categories inherent in these units are expressed. The
elements oI one class are characterized by a certain morphological structure and are
substituted by the same prop-words.
E.g. II we take nouns, they can be divided into proper and common. Among
common nouns we shall distinguish personal names, names oI other animate beings,
collective nouns, Ialling into several minor groups, material nouns, abstract nouns
and names oI things.
E.g. Abstract nouns are signaled by the Iollowing suIIixes: -age, -ance/-ence,
-ancy/-ency, -dom, -hood etc.
Personal nouns are emotionally neutral occur with the Iollowing suIIixes: -an,
-ian, -ant/-ent etc.
2. Prefixes and their function
Derivational morphemes aIIixed beIore the stem are called preIixes. They
modiIy the lexical meaning oI the stem, but in so doing they seldom aIIect its basic
lexico-grammatical component. Both the simple word and its preIixed derivative
mostly belong to the same part oI speech.
E.g. the preIix mis- when added to verb, conveys the meaning oI wrongly,
badly, unIavourably, but it does not suggest any other part oI speech but the
verb (behave misbehave; inIorm- misinIorm; lead mislead). These oppositions
are strictly proportional semantically.
The semantic eIIect oI a preIix may be termed adverbial because it modiIies the
idea suggested by the stem Ior manner, time, place, degree and so on.
A Iew examples will prove the point:
The preIix pre- and post- reIer to time, mis- shows the manner oI action;
The group oI negative preIixes is so numerous that some scholars even Iind it
convenient to classiIy preIixes into negative and non-negative ones. They are: de-,
dis-, in-/im-/il-/ir-/un-.
The majority oI preIixes aIIect only the lexical meaning oI words but there are
some important cases where preIixes serve to Iorm words belonging to diIIerent
parts oI speech as compared with the original word.
These are the verb-Iorming preIixes be- and en-. Be- Iorms transitive verbs with
adjective and noun stems and changes intransitive verbs into transitive ones.
Examples are: belittle (v) to make little, becloud (v) to cover with clouds,
beIriend (v) to treat like a Iriend.
Also such preIixes as en-/em-, a-, pre-, post- are used to Iorm verbs Irom noun
3. The etymology of suffixes
From the point oI view oI etymology aIIixes are subdivided into two main
classes: the native aIIixes and the borrowed aIIixes.
By the native aIIixes we mean those that existed in English in the OE period or
were Iormed Irom the OE words (a bound Iorm may be developed Irom a Iree one.
It may be illustrated by such suIIixes as dom, -hood, -lock, -Iul, -less,- like, -ship.
E.g. ME dom OE dom Iate
OE hod (hood ME) state
The most important native suIIixes are: -d, -dom, -ed, -en, -Iold, -Iul, -hood, -ing,
-ish, -less, -let, -like, -lock, -ly, -ness, -oc, -red, -ship, -some, -teen, -th, -ward, -wise,
The suIIixes oI Ioreign origin are classiIied according to their source into Latin (-
able/-ible, -ant/-ent, -ard, -ate, -sy), French (-age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency), Greek (-
ist, -ism, -ite).
The term borrowed aIIixes is not very exact as aIIixes are never borrowed as
such, but only as parts oI loan words. To enter the morphological system oI the
English language a borrowed aIIix has to satisIy certain conditions: iI the number oI
words containing it is considerable, iI its meaning and Iunction are deIinite and clear
enough, and iI its structural pattern corresponds to the structural patterns already
existing in the language.
II these conditions are IulIilled the Ioreign aIIix may even be productive.
6. Compound words
1. The criteria of compounds
2. Semi-affixes
3. Classification of compounds
4. Types of compounds
5. Distributional formulas of Subordinative Compounds
6. Compound words and free word groups
1. The criteria of compounds
Compound words are words consisting oI at least two stems which occur in the
language as Iree Iorms.
In describing the structure oI a compound one should examine three types oI
relations, namely the relations oI the members to each other; the relations oI the
whole to its members; and the correlation with equivalent Iree phrases.
Some compounds are made up oI a determining and a determined part, which
may be called the determinant and the determinatum.
E.g. A compound is indivisible. It`s impossible to insert words or word-groups
between its members.
A sunbeam, a bright sunbeam, a bright and unexpected sunbeam. But no
insertion is possible between sun and beam, Ior they are not words they are
morphemes. The second stem beam is the basic part the determinatum. The
determinant serves to diIIerentiate it Irom other beams.
The determinatum is the grammatically most important part which undergoes
inIlection: sunbeams, brothers- in law, passers-by etc.
As Ior the semantics oI the compounds, their meanings are not a mere sum oI the
meanings oI their components. A compound is oIten very diIIerent in meaning Irom
a corresponding syntactic group.
E.g. blackboard and black board not every black board is a teaching aid and
On the other hand there are non-idiomatic compounds with a perIectly clear
motivation. Here we add the meanings oI constituents to create the meaning oI a
E.g. seaman when was Iirst used there was no doubt (a proIession connected
with sea).
As English compounds consist oI Iree Iorms, it is diIIicult to distinguish them
Irom phrases.
E.g. phrase the top dog a person occupying the Ioremost place;
a compound underdog a person who has the worst oI an encounter.
Thus separating compounds Irom phrases and also Irom derivatives is no easy
task, and scholars are not agreed upon the question oI relevant criteria.
E.ida writes, that the criteria Ior determining the word units in a language are
oI three types: 1) phonological; 2) morphological; 3) syntactic. o one type oI
criteria is normally suIIicient Ior establishing the word unit. Rather the combination
oI two or three types is essential.
He doesn`t mention the graphic criterion (namely spelling). It is a mistake, in
ME the written Iorm is as important as the oral.
We can see in the dictionaries oI diIIerent authors and even oI the same author
that some words are spelled diIIerently: headmaster head-master, airline air line
air line.
The lack oI inIirmity in spelling is the chieI reason why many authors consider
this criterion insuIIicient. Some combine it with the phonic criterion or stress.
There is a marked tendency in English to give compounds a heavy stress on the
Iirst element. Some scholars consider this unity oI stress to be oI primary
Thus, BloomIield writes: Wherever we hear lesser or least stress upon a word
which would always show a high stress in a phrase, we describe it as a compound
member: `ice-cream is a compound but `ice `cream is a phrase although there is no
denotative diIIerence in meaning.
E.g. `blackboard, `black `board; `blackbird, `black `bird etc.
This rule doesn`t hold good with adjectives. Compound adjectives are double
stressed: `gray-`green, `easy-`going, `new-`born.
Adjectives expressing emphatic comparison are heavily stressed on the Iirst
element: `snow-white, `dog-cheap.
Moreover, stress can be no help in solving the problem oI compounds because
word stress may depend on phrasal stress or upon syntactic Iunction oI the
E.g. light-headed has a single stress when it`s used attributively, in other cases
the stress is even.
Besides, the stress may be phonological and help to diIIerentiate the meaning oI
`overwork extra work
`over `work hard work injuring ones health
`bookcase a piece oI Iurniture
`book `case a paper cover Ior books
As Ior morphological criteria they are maniIold.
Smirnitsky compares the compound shipwreck and the phrase (the) wreck oI (a)
ship. They comprise the same morphemes. Although they don`t diIIer in meaning,
they stand in diIIerent relation to the grammatical system oI the language. From this
example it Iollows that a word is characterized by structural integrity non-existent in
a phrase.
We should remember E.ida that no one type oI criteria is normally suIIicient
Ior establishing whether the unit is a compound or a phrase. We have to depend on
the combination oI diIIerent types oI criteria. But even then the ground is not very
saIe and we meet here a stone-wall problem that has received so much attention in
linguistic literature.
2. Semi-affixes
The problem oI distinguishing a compound Irom a derivative is actually
equivalent to distinguishing a stem Irom an aIIix.
In most cases the task is simple enough. The immediate constituents oI a
compound are Iree Iorms and a combination containing bound Iorms as its
immediate constituents, is a derivative.
But there are cases which present diIIiculties.
There is a speciIic group oI morphemes whose derivational Iunction does not allow
one to reIer them unhesitatingly either to the derivational aIIixes or bases.
In words like halI-done, halI-broken, halI-eaten and ill-Ied, ill-housed, ill-dressed
the ICs halI- and i l l - are given in linguistic literature diIIerent interpretations: they
are described both as bases and as derivational preIixes.
The comparison oI these ICs with the phonetically identical stems in independent
words i l l and halI as used in such phrases as to speak i l l oI smb, halI an hour ago
makes it obvious that in words like ill-Ied, illmannered, halI-done the ICs il l- and
halI- are losing both their semantic and structural identity with the stems oI the
independent words. They are all marked by a diIIerent distributional meaning which
is clearly revealed through the diIIerence oI their collocability as compared with the
collocability oI the stems oI the independently Iunctioning words. As to their lexical
meaning they have become more indicative oI a generalising meaning oI
incompleteness and poor quality than the individual meaning proper to the stems oI
independent words and thus they Iunction more as aIIixational morphemes similar to
the preIixes out-, over-, under-, semi-, misregularly Iorming whole classes oI words.
Besides, the high Irequency oI these morphemes in the above-mentioned generalised
meaning in combination with the numerous bases built on past participles indicates
their closer ties with derivational aIIixes than bases. et these morphemes retain
certain lexical ties with the root-morphemes in the stems oI independent words and
that is why are Ielt as occupying an intermediate position,1 as morphemes that are
changing their class membership regularly Iunctioning as derivational preIixes but
still retaining certain Ieatures oI root-morphemes. That is why they are sometimes
reIerred to as semi-aIIixes. To this group we should also reIer well and selI- (well-
Ied, well-done, selI-made), -man in words like postman, cabman, chairman, -looking
in words like Ioreign-looking, alivelooking, strange-looking, etc.
3. Classification of compounds
The great variety oI compound types brings about a great variety oI
classiIications. Compound words can be classiIied according to the type oI a
composition and the linking element; according to the number oI stems; according to
the number oI constituent parts; according to the part oI speech to which the
compound belongs; according to the structural pattern within a part oI speech.
The classiIication according to the type oI composition permits us to establish
the Iollowing groups:
1) The predominant type without any linking element: heartache, heart-brake.
2) Composition with a vowel or a consonant as a linking element: speedometer,
3) Compounds with linking elements presented by preposition or conjunction
stems: matter-oI-Iact; up-to-date; son-in-law; Iorget-me-not; what`s-her-name (n).
4) Compound-derivatives or derivational compounds: kind-hearted; old-timer;
The classiIication oI compounds according to the structure oI immediate
constituents distinguishes:
1.Compounds consisting oI simple stems: Iilm-star
2.Compounds where one oI the constituents is a derived stem: chaine-smoker.
3.Compounds where at least one oI members is a clipped stem: maths-mistress;
H-bag (handbag) or mas (Christmas).
4.Compounds in which at least one oI the constituents is a compound stem:
4. Types of compounds
According to the type oI correlation all productive types oI compound words may
be classiIied into Iour major classes:
1. Adjectival-nominal compounds comprise Iour subgroups oI compound
adjectives-three oI them are proper and one derivational, they are built aIter the
Iollowing Iormulas and patterns:
a, b) the n+a Iormula, e. g. snow-white, colour-blind, journey-tired correlative;
with word-groups oI the A as,. A +prp+ type, e. g. white as snow, blind to
colours, tired of journey. The structure is polysemantic;
c) the sved Iormula, e g. fear-stained, duty-bound, wind-driven correlated
with word-groups oI the type ed with/by, e. g. stained with tears, bound by
duty, etc. The distributional Iormula is monosemantic and is based on the
instrumental relations between the components;
d) num+n Iormula, e. g. (a) two-day (beard), (a) seven-year (plan), (a) forty-
hour (week) correlative with um type oI phrases, e. g. two days, seven years,
etc. Adjectives oI this subgroup are used only attributively;
e) the (a+n) + -ed pattern oI derivational compounds, e. g. long-legged, low-
ceilinged. This structure includes two more variants; the Iirst member oI the Iirst
component may be a numeral stem or a noun-stem (num+n) +-ed, (n+n) +-ed, e. g.
one-sided, three-cornered, doll-faced, bell-shaped. Compounds oI this subgroup
are correlative with phrases oI the type--with (having) A, with (having)
um, with (having) (or oI), e. g. with (or having) a low ceiling,
with (or having) one side, with (or having) three corners, with (or having) a doll
face for with (or having) the face of a doll, with (or having) the shape of a bell.
The system oI productive types oI compound adjectives may be presented as
Iollows (table 2).
2. Verbal-nominal compounds belong to compound nouns. They may all be
described through one general distributional structure n+nv, i. e. a combination oI a
simple noun-stem with a deverbal noun-stem. This Iormula includes Iour patterns
diIIering in the character oI the deverbal noun-stern. They are all based on verbal-
nominal word-groups, built aIter the Iormula or prp:
a) n+v+-er) pattern, e. g. bottle-opener, stage-manager, baby-sitter, peace-
fighter, is monosemantic and is based on agcntive relations that can be interpreted
as one who does smth;
b) n+ (v+-ing) pattern, e. g, rocket-flying, stage-managing, is monosemantic
and may be interpreted as the act oI doing smth;
c) n+ (v+tion/-ment) pattern, e. g. price-reduction, office-management, is
monosemantic and may be interpreted as the act oI doing smth;
d) compound nouns with the structure n(v conversion), i, e. a combination oI - a
simple noun-stem with a deverbal noun-stem resulting Irom conversion, e. g. wage-
art, dog-bite, chimney-sweep. The pattern is monosemantic.
3. V e r b a l v e r b compounds are a11 derivational compound nouns built aIter
one Iormal n (v+adv)+conversion and correlative with phrases oI the Adv type,
a. g. a break-down Irom (to) break down, a hold-up Irom (to): hold up, a lay-out
Irom (to) lay out. The pattern is polysemantic and is circumscribed by the maniIold
semantic relations typical oI conversion pairs.
See `Word - Formation, 17.
4. Nominal compounds are all nouns built aIter the most polysemantic
distributional Iormula (nn); both stems are in most cases simple, e. g. pencil-case,
windmill, horse-race. Compounds oI this class correlate with nominal word-groups
mostly characterized by the prp structure.
5. Distributional formulas of Subordinative Compounds
The internal structure oI subordinative compounds is marked by a speciIic pattern
oI order and arrangement in which the stems Iollow one another. The order in which
the stems are placed within a compound is rigidly Iixed in Modern English as the
structural centre oI the word is always its second component. Stems oI almost every
part oI speech are Iound in compounds but they are combined to make up compound
words according to a set oI rigid rules Ior every part oI speech. The choice oI stems
and the rules oI their arrangement and order are known as distributional or structural
Iormulas and patterns oI compound words.
As to the order oI components subordinative compound words may be classiIied
into two groups:
a) Syntactic compounds whose components are placed in the order that resembles
the order oI words in Iree phrases arranged according to the rules oI syntax oI
Modern English.
The order oI the stems in compounds, e.g. bluebell, slowcoach, mad - doctor
(an) reminds one oI the order and arrangement oI the corresponding words in
phrases like a blue bell, a slow coach, a mad doctor (A); compounds like, e.g.
know - nothing, kill-joy, tell-tale made up on the Iormula v+n resemble the
arrangement oI words in phrases like (to) kill joy, (to) know nothing, (to) tell tales
(); the order oI components in compounds consisting oI two noun - stems door-
handle, day-time (nn) resembles the order oI words in nominal phrases with the
attributive Iunction oI the Iirst noun as in stone wall, spring time, peace
movement, etc. ().
b) Asyntactic compounds whose stems are not placed in the order in which the
corresponding words can be brought together under the rules oI syntax oI the
language. For example it is universally known that in Iree phrases adjectives cannot
be modiIied by adjectives, noun modiIiers cannot be placed beIore adjectives or
participles, ye t this kind oI asyntactic arrangement oI stems is typical oI compounds
among which we Iind combinations oI two adjective stems, e.g. red-hot, bluish-
black, pale-blue; words made up oI noun - stems placed beIore adjective or
participle stems, e.g. oil-rich, tear-stained, etc.
Both syntactic and asyntactic compound words in each part oI speech should be
described in terms oI their distributional Iormulas. For example, compound
adjectives are mostly Iormed oI noun, adjective or participle stems according to the
Iormulas n+a, e.g. oil-rich, world-wide; n+ved
For conventional symbols see
`Word - Formation, 8. , e.g. snow-covered, home-grown; a+a, e.g. pale-green,
red-hot, etc.
Borderline between compound words and free word-groups
Compound words as inseparable vocabulary units taking shape in a deIinite system
oI grammatical Iorms and syntactic characteristics are generally clearly
distinguished Irom and oIten opposed to Iree word-groups. Their inseparability Iinds
expression in the unity oI their structural, phonetic and graphic integrity.
6. Compound words and free word groups
Compound words as inseparable vocabulary units are on the one hand clearly
distinguished Irom Iree word-groups by a combination oI their speciIic stress
pattern, spelling and their distributional Iormulas. On the other hand, compound
words in Modern English lie astride the border between words and word-groups and
display many Ieatures common to word-groups, thus revealing close lies and
parallelism with the system oI Iree phrases.
ProI. A. I. Smirnitsky as Iar back as the
late Iorties pointed out rigid parallelism existing between Iree word - groups and
derivational compound adjectives which he termed grammatical compounds. The
linguistic analysis oI extensive language data proves that there exists a rigid
correlation between the system oI Iree phrases and all types oI subordinative
compounds. The correlation embraces both the structure and the meaning oI
compound words and seems to be the pivot point oI the entire system oI productive
present-day English composition. The analysis oI the structural and semantic
correlation between compound words and Iree word-groups enables us to Iind the
Ieatures most relevant to composition and set e system o; ordered rules Ior
productive Iormulas aIter which an inIinite number oI new compounds constantly
appear in the language.
Structural Correlation.
There is a correlation and parallelism between the structure oI subordinative
compound words and corresponding phrases, which maniIests it in the
morphological character oI the components. Compound words are generally made
up oI the stems oI those parts oI speech that Iorm the corresponding Iree word-
groups. The stem oI the central member or she head
See `Word-Groups and
Morphological nits, 3. oI the word-group becomes the structural and semantic
centre oI the compound, i.e. its second component. e.g. heart-sick, is made up oI the
stems oI the noun heart and adjective sick which Iorm the corresponding phrase
sick at heart, with the adjective sick Ior its head; man-made consists oI the stems
oI the words that make the corresponding phrase made by man; door-handle
similarly corresponds to the handle of the door, clasp-knife to the knife that
clasps, etc. In all these cases the stem oI the head-member oI the word-group, in our
case sick-, made-, handle- becomes the structural centre oI the corresponding
compound, i.e. its second component.
The order oI the stems coincides with the word-order in word-groups only in the
case oI syntactic compounds, such as, e.g., blackboard, mad-doctor, pickpocket,
tell-tale, etc., in which the structural centre takes the same place as the head oI
corresponding word-groups.
In compounds each part oI speech correlates only with certain structural types oI
phrases. For example, productive compound adjectives reveal correlation mostly
with adjectival-nominal word-groups,
Adjectival-nominal word-groups is a
conventional term oI this type oI word-groups. i.e. word-groups whose heads are
adjectives (or umerals and Participles) oI the type Aprp, ed by/with,
withA, e.g, adjectives oil-rich, heart-sick correspond to word-groups rich in
oil, sick at heart (i.e., naAprp); duty-bound, smoke-filled to bound by
duty, filled with smoke (i.e., nvededby/with); low-ceilinged to with a low
ceiling (a+n) +ed withA. Productive compound nouns correlate mostly
with nominal word-groups (consisting oI two nouns), verbal-nominal and verb-
adverb word-groups, e.g.. Moonlight, diving-suit, correspond to the light of the
moon, a suit Ior diving (i.e. n+n+prp+): proof-reader, peace-fighting to (to)
read proofs, (to) fight for peace (i.e., nnv, prp), etc. So it Iollows that
the distributional Iormulas oI compound words in each part oI speech are
circumscribed by the structure oI correlated word-groups.
Semantic Correlation.
Semantically, the relations between the components oI a compound mirror the
semantic relations between the member-words in correlated word-groups. The
semantic relations established between the components, Ior example, in compound
adjectives built aIter n+ved Iormula, e.g. duty-bound, snow-covered are
circumscribed by the instrumental relations typical oI the members oI correlated
word-groups oI the type ed by /with regardless oI the actual lexical meanings
oI the stems; compound adjectives oI the (an)ed pattern like long-legged,
straight-backed mirror possessive relations Iound between words in correlated
word-groups oI the withA type, e.g. with long legs, with a straight back;
compound nouns built aIter the pattern n(v-er)--letter-writer, bottle-opener,
traffic-controller display agentive semantic relations typical oI word-groups one
who writes letters; the thing that opens bottles built aIter the general Iormula that
Structural and semantic correlation by no means implies a one-to-one
correspondence oI each individual pattern oI compound words to one word-group
Iormula or pattern. For example the n+nv Iormula oI compound nouns comprises
diIIerent patterns such as [n+(v+-er) rocket-flyer, bottle- opener, cover-shooter,
n+(v+-ing] street-fighting, rocket-flying, cover-shooting; both patterns correlate
in the Iinal analysis with verbal-nominal word-groups oI one Iormula-- or
prp,e.g. to flyrockets, to fight in the streets, to shoot from a cover.
However, the reverse relationship is not uncommon, e;g. one distributional Iormula
oI compound adjectives (n+a) in words like age-long, sky-high, colour
blind corresponds to a variety oI individual word-group patterns which diIIer in the
grammatical and semantic relations between member-words expressed by the
preposition, thus, compounds journey-tired, girl-shy, oil-rich, world-wide
correspond to tired of journey (AoI), shy before girls (AbeIore); rich in
oil (Ain);wide as the world (Aas). ominal compound made up oI two
simple noun-stems (n+n) may serve, as another example oI the semantic correlation
between Iormulas oI compound nouns with a variety oI individual patterns oI
nominal word-groups. Compound nouns like doorstep, hand-bag, handcuffs
incorporate maniIold semantic relations Iound between member-words oI various
patterns oI the general Iormula oI word-groups prp. ominal compounds
appear to express Ireely in a concise Iorm what can be expressed only in a more
elaborate and complicated periphrastic way by word-groups. It should be
remembered that the semantic relations in some cases may be interpreted diIIerently.
Even the Iew examples given as illustration lead us to the conclusion that the
structure oI compound words, as a rule, is more concise and oI much wider semantic
range than the structure oI correlated word-groups due to the Iact that compound
words do not require any elaborates way to express the relationship between their
components except their order. ThereIore compound words which establish regular
correlative relations with word-groups are on the one hand motivated and on the
other hand serve as patterns, or sets oI structural and semantic rules guiding the
spontaneous Iormation oI new compound words. Consequently motivation and
regular semantic and structural correlation between compound words and word-
groups may be regarded as Iactors which arc most conducive to high productivity oI
compound words. It is natural that Iormulas which do not establish such regular
correlative relations and which result in compound words characterized by lack or
very low degree oI motivation, must he regarded as unproductive, Ior example,
compound nouns built aIter a+n Iormula, e. g. blackbird, bluebell, mad-doctor,
etc., are marked by lack oI motivation or high degree oI idiomaticity, hence the
Iormula a+n Ior compound nouns is unproductive Ior Modern English.
7. Shortened words. Types of lexical oppositions.
1. Shortening of spoken words. Graphical abbreviations. Acronyms
2. Minor types of lexical oppositions:
a) sound interchange;
b) distinctive stress;
c) sound imitation;
d) back-formation.
1. Shortening of spoken words. Graphical abbreviations. Acronyms
Word-building process involve not only qualitative but also quantitative
changes. Thus derivation and compounding present addition, as aIIixes, and Iree
stems. Shortening on the other hand may be represented as signiIicant subtraction, in
which part oI the original word is taken away.
The spoken and the written Iorms oI the English language have each their own
patterns oI shortening. But as there is a constant exchange between the two spheres
it is very diIIicult to say where a given shortening really originated.
As a type oI word building shortening oI spoken words is also called clipping
or curtailment; ewly shortened words appear continuously; this is testiIied by
numerous neologisms, such as dub (v), a cinema term meaning to make another
recording oI the sound-track in a Iilm in a diIIerent language (Irom double); Irig or
Irige (n) Irom reIrigerator; mike (n) Irom microphone, or telly or T Irom
television, vac Irom vacuum cleaner, etc.
Some authors consider the main reason Ior the development oI shortening
the strain oI modern liIe, but it`s only one oI the reasons. There are purely
linguistic Iactors which shouldn`t be overlooked. Among the major Iorces are the
demands oI rhythm, which are more readily satisIied when the words are
When dealing with words oI long duration, one will also note that a high
percentage oI English shortenings is involved into the process oI loan words
Shortening oI spoken words consists in the reduction oI the word to one oI its
parts (whether or not this part has previously been a morpheme), as a result oI which
a new Iorm acquires some linguistic value oI its own.
The part retained doesn`t change phonetically, hence the necessity oI spelling
changes in some oI the examples above (dub double; mike mick). The change is
not only quantitative: a shortened word is not merely a word that has lost its initial,
middle or Iinal part. or it is possible to treat shortening as just using a part Ior the
whole as Hockett suggests, because a shortened word is always in some way
diIIerent Irom its prototype in meaning and usage. Moreover, every kind oI
shortening diIIers Irom derivation, composition and conversion in being not a new
arrangement oI existing morphemes, but oIten a source oI new ones.
So, shortening may be regarded as a type oI root creation because the resulting
new morphemes are capable oI being used as Iree Iorms and combine with bound
Iorms. They can also take Iunctional suIIixes; bike bikes, vac vacking (PI)
vacked (PII). They also serve as basis Ior Iurther word Iormation: Iancy (n) Irom
Iantasy Iancy (v), Iancier (n), IanciIul (adj.), IanciIully (adv.), IanciIulness (n),
Iancy-ball (n), Iancy-dress (n), Iancy-work (n) etc.
It is interesting in this connection to compare the morphemes tele in
television and telecast. They are homonymous but not identical. Tele in television
means Iar, vision at a distance, such as in telephone, telescope,
Tele in telecast doesn`t mean Iar. It is a new development the shortened
variant oI television rendering a special new notion. Let`s try to Iollow the
transIormation: television vision at a distance; telecast a broad cast at a distance
tele (broad) cast - a television broadcast. In this new capacity tele enters many
combinations: teleIilm, teleprompter, telestar, televiewer, etc.- something connected
with television.
The correlation between a clipped word and its prototype is oI great interest.
Two possible developments should be noted:
1) the clipped Iorm may be regarded as a variant or a synonym diIIering Irom the
Iull Iorm quantitatively, stylistically and emotionally, the prototype being
stylistically and emotionally neutral: doc-doctor, exam examination, etc.
The missing part is possible to be supplied, and the connection between the
prototype and shortening is not lost.
2) When the connection can be established only etymologically. The meaning
may have changed so much that the clipping becomes a separate word.
E.g. chap chapman (a pedlar); Ian Ianatic (Ior a Iootball Ian is not good
Ianatic); Iancy Iantasy, etc.
Typical characteristics oI curtailed words:
1) they can render only one oI the secondary meanings oI a polysemantic word:
E.g. double to multiply by two when used by musicians to add the same
note in a higher or lower octave; in military context to move in double time,
but dub has only one meaning.
2) they may be homonymous:
E.g. Gym Ior gymnastics and Ior gymnasium;
Tele Ior television and Ior telecast.
3) when shortening takes place, it produces new words in the same part oI
speech. The bulk oI curtailed words is constituted by nouns. erbs are hardly ever
shortened in present-day English. Rev Irom revolve and tab Irom tabulate may
be considered exceptions (iI we have verbs to phone, to vac, to vet are not
shortenings though may be considered as such).
Shortening adjectives are very Iew and mostly reveal a combined eIIect oI
shortening and suIIixation.
Mizzi miserable, comIy comIortable, dilly delightIul, which occur in
schoolgirl slang.
arious classiIications oI shortened words have been or may be oIIered. The
generally accepted one is that based on the position oI the clipped part. According to
whether it is the Iinal, initial or middle part oI the word that is cut oII we distinguish:
1) Iinal clipping; 2) initial clipping (aphesis); 3)medial clipping (syncope).
1.ad, advert; coke coca-cola; ed editor.
2.Cute acute; mend amend; story history.
3.Maths mathematics, specs spectacles, Iancy Iantasy.
2. Minor types of lexical oppositions
!ound interchange is the way oI word-building when some sounds are changed
to Iorm a new word. It is non-productive in Modern English, it was productive in
Old English and can be met in other Indo-European languages.
The causes oI sound interchange can be diIIerent. It can be the result oI Ancient
Ablaut which cannot be explained by the phonetic laws during the period oI the
language development known to scientists., e.g. to strike - stroke, to sing - song etc.
It can be also the result oI Ancient mlaut or vowel mutation which is the result oI
palatalizing the root vowel because oI the Iront vowel in the syllable coming aIter
the root ( regressive assimilation), e.g. hot - to heat (hotian), blood - to bleed
(blodian) etc.
In many cases we have vowel and consonant interchange. In nouns we have
voiceless consonants and in verbs we have corresponding voiced consonants
because in Old English these consonants in nouns were at the end oI the word and in
verbs in the intervocal position, e.g. bath - to bathe, liIe - to live, breath - to breathe
!tress interchange can be mostly met in verbs and nouns oI Romanic origin :
nouns have the stress on the Iirst syllable and verbs on the last syllable, e.g. `accent -
to ac`cent. This phenomenon is explained in the Iollowing way: French verbs and
nouns had diIIerent structure when they were borrowed into English, verbs had one
syllable more than the corresponding nouns. When these borrowings were
assimilated in English the stress in them was shiIted to the previous syllable (the
second Irom the end) . Later on the last unstressed syllable in verbs borrowed Irom
French was dropped (the same as in native verbs) and aIter that the stress in verbs
was on the last syllable while in nouns it was on the Iirst syllable. As a result oI it we
have such pairs in English as : to aI`Iix -`aIIix, to con`Ilict- `conIlict, to ex`port
-`export, to ex`tract - `extract etc. As a result oI stress interchange we have also
vowel interchange in such words because vowels are pronounced diIIerently in
stressed and unstressed positions.
!ound imitation
It is the way oI word-building when a word is Iormed by imitating diIIerent
sounds. There are some semantic groups oI words Iormed by means oI sound
a) sounds produced by human beings, such as : to whisper, to giggle, to mumble,
to sneeze, to whistle etc.
b) sounds produced by animals, birds, insects, such as : to hiss, to buzz, to bark,
to moo, to twitter etc.
c) sounds produced by nature and objects, such as : to splash, to rustle, to clatter,
to bubble, to ding-dong, to tinkle etc.
The corresponding nouns are Iormed by means oI conversion, e.g. clang (oI a
bell), chatter (oI children) etc.
Blends are words Iormed Irom a word-group or two synonyms. In blends two
ways oI word-building are combined : abbreviation and composition. To Iorm a
blend we clip the end oI the Iirst component (apocope) and the beginning oI the
second component (apheresis) . As a result we have a compound- shortened word.
One oI the Iirst blends in English was the word smog Irom two synonyms : smoke
and Iog which means smoke mixed with Iog. From the Iirst component the
beginning is taken, Irom the second one the end, o is common Ior both oI them.
Blends Iormed Irom two synonyms are: slanguange, to hustle, gasohol etc.
Mostly blends are Iormed Irom a word-group, such as : acromania (acronym mania),
cinemadict (cinema adict), chunnel (channel, canal), dramedy (drama comedy),
detectiIiction (detective Iiction), Iaction (Iact Iiction) (Iiction based on real Iacts),
inIormecial (inIormation commercial) , Medicare ( medical care) , magalog
( magazine catalogue) slimnastics (slimming gymnastics), sociolite (social elite),
slanguist ( slang linguist) etc.
"ac# formation
It is the way oI word-building when a word is Iormed by dropping the Iinal
morpheme to Iorm a new word. It is opposite to suIIixation, that is why it is called
back Iormation. At Iirst it appeared in the languauge as a result oI misunderstanding
the structure oI a borrowed word . ProI. artseva explains this mistake by the
inIluence oI the whole system oI the language on separate words. E.g. it is typical oI
English to Iorm nouns denoting the agent oI the action by adding the suIIix -er to a
verb stem (speak- speaker). So when the French word beggar was borrowed into
English the Iinal syllable ar was pronounced in the same way as the English -er
and Englishmen Iormed the verb to beg by dropping the end oI the noun. Other
examples oI back Iormation are : to accreditate (Irom accreditation), to bach (Irom
bachelor), to collocate (Irom collocation), to enthuse (Irom enthusiasm), to compute
(Irom computer), to emote (Irom emotion) to reminisce ( Irom reminiscence) , to
televise (Irom television) etc.
As we can notice in cases oI back Iormation the part-oI-speech meaning oI the
primary word is changed, verbs are Iormed Irom nouns.

8. Conversion
1.Conversion in present-day English
2.Criteria of semantic derivation
3.Substantivisation of adjectives. ~Stone wall combinations
1.Conversion in present-day English
Conversion, one oI the principal ways oI Iorming words in Modern English is
highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock with new words. The term
c o n v e r s i o n , which some linguists Iind inadequate, reIers to the numerous
cases oI phonetic identity oI word-Iorms, primarily the socalled initial Iorms, oI two
words belonging to diIIerent parts oI speech. This may be illustrated by the
Iollowing cases: work to work; love to love; paper to paper; brieI to brieI,
etc. As a rule we deal w i t h simple words, although there are a Iew exceptions, e.g.
wireless to wireless.
It is Iairly obvious that in the case oI a noun and a verb not only are the so-called
initial Iorms (i.e. the inIinitive and the common case singular) phonetically identical,
but all the other noun Iorms have their homonyms within the verb paradigm, cI.
(my) work w+:k) (I)work w+:k; (the) dog`s dogz (head) (many) dogs
dogz (he) dogs dogz, etc.
It will be recalled that, although inIlectional categories have been greatly
reduced in English in the last eight or nine centuries, there is a certain diIIerence on
the morphological level between various parts oI speech, primarily between nouns
and verbs. For instance, there is a clearcut diIIerence in Modern English between the
noun doctor and the verb to doctor each exists in the language as a unity oI its
word-Iorms and variants, not as one Iorm doctor. It is true that some oI the Iorms are
identical in sound, i.e. homonymous, but there is a great distinction between them,
as they are both grammatically and semantically diIIerent.
II we regard such word-pairs as doctor to doctor; water to water; brieI to
brieI Irom the angle oI their morphemic structure, we see that they are all root-
words. On the derivational level, however, one oI them should be reIerred to derived
words, as it belongs to a diIIerent part oI speech and is understood through semantic
and structural relations with the other, i.e. is motivated by it. Consequently, the
question arises: what serves as a word-building means in these cases It would
appear that the noun is Iormed Irom the verb (or vice versa) without any
morphological change, but iI we probe deeper into the matter, we inevitably come to
the conclusion that the two words diIIer in the paradigm. Thus it is the paradigm
that is used as a word-building means. Hence, we may deIine conversion as the
Iormation oI a new word through changes in its paradigm.1
It is necessary to call attention to the Iact that the paradigm plays a signiIicant role
in the process oI word-Iormation in general and not only in the case oI conversion.
Thus, the noun cooker (in gas-cooker) is Iormed Irom the word to cook not only by
the addition oI the suIIix -er, but also by the change in its paradigm. However, in this
case, the role played by the paradigm as a word-building means is less obvious, as
the word-building suIIix -er comes to the Iore. ThereIore, conversion is
characterised not simply by the use oI the paradigm as a word-building means, but
by the Iormation oI a new word s o l e l y by means oI changing its paradigm.
Hence, the change oI paradigm is the only word-building means oI conversion. As
a paradigm is a morphological category conversion can be described as a
morphological way oI Iorming words. The Iollowing indisputable cases oI
conversion have been discussed in linguistic literature:
1) Iormation oI verbs Irom nouns and more rarely Irom other parts oI speech, and
2) Iormation oI nouns Irom verbs and rarely Irom other parts oI speech.
Opinion diIIers on the possibility oI creating adjectives Irom nouns through
conversion. In the so-called stone wall complexes the Iirst members are regarded
by some linguists as adjectives Iormed Irom the corresponding noun-stems by
conversion, or as nouns in an attributive Iunction by others, or as substantival stems
by still others so that the whole combination is treated as a compound word. In our
treatment oI conversion on the pages that Iollow we shall be mainly concerned with
the indisputable cases, i.e. deverbal substantives and denominal verbs.
Conversion has been the subject oI a great many linguistic discussions since 1891
when H. Sweet Iirst used the term in his $e% &nglish 'rammar( arious opinions
have been expressed on the nature and character oI conversion in the English
language and diIIerent conceptions oI conversion have been put Iorward.
The treatment oI conversion as a morphological way oI Iorming words accepted in
the present book was suggested by the late ProI. A. I. Smirnitsky in his works on the
English language.
Other linguists sharing, on the whole, the conception oI conversion as a
morphological way oI Iorming words disagree, however, as to what serves here as a
word-building means. Some oI them deIine conversion as a non-aIIixal way oI
Iorming words pointing out that the characteristic Ieature is that a certain stem is
used Ior the Iormation oI a diIIerent word oI a diIIerent part oI speech without a
derivational aIIix being added. Others hold the view that conversion is the Iormation
oI new words with the help oI a zero-morpheme. The treatment oI conversion as a
non-aIIixal word-Iormation process calls Iorth some criticism, it can hardly be
accepted as adequate, Ior it Iails to bring out the speciIic means making it possible to
Iorm, Ior instance, a verb Irom a noun without adding a derivational aIIix to the
base. Besides, the term a non-aIIixal word-Iormation process does not help to
distinguish between cases oI conversion and those oI sound interchange, e.g. to sing
song; to Ieed Iood; Iull to Iill, etc. which lie outside the scope oI word-
Iormation in Modern English. The conception oI conversion as derivation with a
zero-morpheme, however, merits attention. The propounders oI this interpretation oI
conversion rightly reIer to some points oI analogy between aIIixation and
conversion. Among them is similarity oI semantic relations between a derived word
and its underlying base, on the one hand, and between words within a conversion
pair, e.g. 1. action doer oI the action: to walk a walker (affixation) to tramp
a tramp (conversion))
2. action result oI the action: to agree agreement (affixation), to Iind a Iind
(conversion), etc.
They also argue that as the derivational complexity oI a derived word involves a
more complex semantic structure as compared with that oI the base, it is but logical
to assume that the semantic complexity oI a converted word should maniIest itselI in
its derivational structure, even though in the Iorm oI a zero derivational aIIix.
There are also some other arguments in Iavour oI this interpretation oI conversion,
which Ior lack oI space cannot be considered here. II one accepts this conception oI
conversion, then one will have to distinguish between two types oI derivation in
Modern English: one eIIected by employing suIIixes and preIixes, the other by using
a zero derivational aIIix.
There is also a point oI view on conversion as a morphologicalsyntactic word-
building means,1 Ior it involves, as the linguists sharing this conception maintain,
both a change oI the paradigm and a change oI the syntactic Iunction oI the word,
e.g. I need some good paper Ior my rooms and He is papering his room. It may be
argued, however, that as the creation oI a word through conversion necessarily
involves the Iormation oI a new word-stem, a purely morphological unit, the
syntactic Iactor is irrelevant to the processes oI word-Iormation proper, including
Besides, there is also a purely syntactic approach commonly known as a
Iunctional approach to conversion. Certain linguists and lexicographers especially
those in Great Britain and the SA are inclined to regard conversion in Modern
English as a kind oI Iunctional change. They deIine conversion as a shiIt Irom one
part oI speech to another contending that in Modern English a word may Iunction as
two diIIerent parts oI speech at the same time. II we accept this point oI view, we
should logically arrive at the conclusion that in Modern English we no longer
distinguish between parts oI speech, i.e. between noun and verb, noun and adjective,
etc., Ior one and the same word cannot simultaneously belong to diIIerent parts oI
speech. It is common knowledge, however, that the English word-stock is
subdivided into big word classes each having its own semantic and Iormal Ieatures.
The distinct diIIerence between nouns and verbs, Ior instance, as in the case oI
doctor to doctor discussed above, consists in the number and character oI the
categories reIlected in their paradigms. Thus, the Iunctional approach to conversion
cannot be justiIied and should be rejected as inadequate
Conversion is the main way oI Iorming verbs in Modern English. erbs can be
Iormed Irom nouns oI diIIerent semantic groups and have diIIerent meanings
because oI that, e.g.
a) verbs have instrumental meaning iI they are Iormed Irom nouns denoting parts
oI a human body e.g. to eye, to Iinger, to elbow, to shoulder etc. They have
instrumental meaning iI they are Iormed Irom nouns denoting tools, machines,
instruments, weapons, e.g. to hammer, to machine-gun, to riIle, to nail,
b) verbs can denote an action characteristic oI the living being denoted by the
noun Irom which they have been converted, e.g. to crowd, to wolI, to ape,
c) verbs can denote acquisition, addition or deprivation iI they are Iormed Irom
nouns denoting an object, e.g. to Iish, to dust, to peel, to paper,
d) verbs can denote an action perIormed at the place denoted by the noun Irom
which they have been converted, e.g. to park, to garage, to bottle, to corner, to
e) verbs can denote an action perIormed at the time denoted by the noun Irom
which they have been converted e.g. to winter, to week-end .
erbs can be also converted Irom adjectives, in such cases they denote the
change oI the state, e.g. to tame (to become or make tame), to clean, to slim etc.
ouns can also be Iormed by means oI conversion Irom verbs. Converted nouns
can denote:
a) instant oI an action e.g. a jump, a move,
b) process or state e.g. sleep, walk,
c) agent oI the action expressed by the verb Irom which the noun has been
converted, e.g. a help, a Ilirt, a scold ,
d) object or result oI the action expressed by the verb Irom which the noun has
been converted, e.g. a burn, a Iind, a purchase,
e) place oI the action expressed by the verb Irom which the noun has been
converted, e.g. a drive, a stop, a walk.
Many nouns converted Irom verbs can be used only in the Singular Iorm and
denote momentary actions. In such cases we have partial conversion. Such deverbal
nouns are oIten used with such verbs as : to have, to get, to take etc., e.g. to have a
try, to give a push, to take a swim .
2.Criteria of semantic derivation
In cases oI conversion the problem oI criteria oI semantic derivation arises :
which oI the converted pair is primary and which is converted Irom it. The problem
was Iirst analyzed by proI. A.I. Smirnitsky. Later on P.A. Soboleva developed his
idea and worked out the Iollowing criteria:
1. II the lexical meaning oI the root morpheme and the lexico-grammatical
meaning oI the stem coincide the word is primary, e.g. in cases pen - to pen, Iather -
to Iather the nouns are names oI an object and a living being. ThereIore in the nouns
pen and Iather the lexical meaning oI the root and the lexico-grammatical
meaning oI the stem coincide. The verbs to pen and to Iather denote an action,
a process thereIore the lexico-grammatical meanings oI the stems do not coincide
with the lexical meanings oI the roots. The verbs have a complex semantic structure
and they were converted Irom nouns.
2. II we compare a converted pair with a synonymic word pair which was Iormed
by means oI suIIixation we can Iind out which oI the pair is primary. This criterion
can be applied only to nouns converted Irom verbs, e.g. chat n. and chat v. can
be compared with conversation - converse.
3. The criterion based on derivational relations is oI more universal character. In
this case we must take a word-cluster oI relative words to which the converted pair
belongs. II the root stem oI the word-cluster has suIIixes added to a noun stem the
noun is primary in the converted pair and vica versa, e.g. in the word-cluster : hand
n., hand v., handy, handIul the derived words have suIIixes added to a noun stem,
that is why the noun is primary and the verb is converted Irom it. In the word-
cluster: dance n., dance v., dancer, dancing we see that the primary word is a verb
and the noun is converted Irom it.
3.Substantivisation of adjectives. ~Stone wall combinations
Some scientists (espersen, ruisina ) reIer Substantivisation oI adjectives to
conversion. But most scientists disagree with them because in cases oI
Substantivisation oI adjectives we have quite diIIerent changes in the language.
Substantivisation is the result oI ellipsis (syntactical shortening ) when a word
combination with a semantically strong attribute loses its semantically weak noun
(man, person etc), e.g. a grown-up person is shortened to a grown-up. In cases
oI perIect Substantivisation the attribute takes the paradigm oI a countable noun ,
e.g. a criminal, criminals, a criminal`s (mistake) , criminals` (mistakes). Such words
are used in a sentence in the same Iunction as nouns, e.g. I am Iond oI musicals.
(musical comedies).
There are also two types oI partly substantivized adjectives:
those which have only the plural Iorm and have the meaning oI collective nouns,
such as: sweets, news, empties, Iinals, greens,
those which have only the singular Iorm and are used with the deIinite article.
They also have the meaning oI collective nouns and denote a class, a nationality, a
group oI people, e.g. the rich, the English, the dead .
The problem whether adjectives can be Iormed by means oI conversion Irom
nouns is the subject oI many discussions. In Modern English there are a lot oI word
combinations oI the type , e.g. price rise, wage Ireeze, steel helmet, sand castle etc.
II the Iirst component oI such units is an adjective converted Irom a noun,
combinations oI this type are Iree word-groups typical oI English (adjective noun).
This point oI view is proved by O. espersen by the Iollowing Iacts:
1. Stone denotes some quality oI the noun wall.
2. Stone stands beIore the word it modiIies, as adjectives in the Iunction oI an
attribute do in English.
3. Stone is used in the Singular though its meaning in most cases is plural, and
adjectives in English have no plural Iorm.
4. There are some cases when the Iirst component is used in the Comparative or
the Superlative degree, e.g. the bottomest end oI the scale.
5. The Iirst component can have an adverb which characterizes it, and adjectives
are characterized by adverbs, e.g. a purely Iamily gathering.
6. The Iirst component can be used in the same syntactical Iunction with a proper
adjective to characterize the same noun, e.g. lonely bare stone houses.
7. AIter the Iirst component the pronoun one can be used instead oI a noun,
e.g. I shall not put on a silk dress, I shall put on a cotton one.
However, Henry Sweet and some other scientists say that these criteria are not
characteristic oI the majority oI such units.
They consider the Iirst component oI such units to be a noun in the Iunction oI
an attribute because in Modern English almost all parts oI speech and even word-
groups and sentences can be used in the Iunction oI an attribute, e.g. the then
president (an adverb), out-oI-the-way villages (a word-group), a devil-may-care
speed (a sentence).
There are diIIerent semantic relations between the components oI stone wall
combinations. E.I. Chapnik classiIied them into the Iollowing groups:
1. time relations, e.g. evening paper,
2. space relations, e.g. top Iloor,
3. relations between the object and the material oI which it is made, e.g. steel
4. cause relations, e.g. war orphan,
5. relations between a part and the whole, e.g. a crew member,
6. relations between the object and an action, e.g. arms production,
7. relations between the agent and an action e.g. government threat, price rise,
8. relations between the object and its designation, e.g. reception hall,
9. the Iirst component denotes the head, organizer oI the characterized object,
e.g. Clinton government, Forsyte Iamily,
10. the Iirst component denotes the Iield oI activity oI the second component,
e.g. language teacher, psychiatry doctor,
11. comparative relations, e.g. moon Iace,
12. qualitative relations, e.g. winter apples.
1. Meaning
1. Meaning as a Linguistic otion
1.1. ReIerential or Analytical DeIinitions oI Meaning
1.2. Functional or Contextual DeIinitions oI Meaning
1.3. Operational or InIormationOriented DeIinitions oI Meaning
2. Two Approaches to the Content Facet oI Linguistic nits. aming
3. Types oI Meaning
4. Aspects oI Lexical Meaning
1.1. Referential or Analytical Definitions of Meaning
The essential characteristic oI the referential approach is that it distinguishes
between the three components closely connected with meaning:
1) the soundIorm oI the linguistic sign;
2) the concept underlying this soundIorm;
3) the reIerent, i. e. the part or aspect oI reality to which the linguistic sign reIers.
The reIerential model oI meaning is the socalled basic triangle` which is
graphically represented on Diagram 2.
D i a g r a m 2
The soundIorm oI the linguistic sign dav is connected with our concept oI the
bird which it denotes and through it with the reIerent, i. e. the actual bird. The
diagram implies that meaning is in a way a correlation between the soundIorm oI a
word, the underlying concept and the concrete object it denotes. Hence, the
questions arise: in what way does meaning correlate with each element oI the
triangle and in what relation does meaning stand to each oI them
1. It is easily observed that the soundIorm oI the word is not identical with its
meaning. There is no inherent connection between the soundcluster dav and the
meaning oI the word dove. The connection is conventional and arbitrary. This can be
easily proved by comparing the soundIorms oI diIIerent languages conveying one
and the same meaning: English dav and Russian golb. The words have
diIIerent soundIorms but express the ame meaning.
2. When we examine a word we see that its meaning though closely connected with
the underlying concept or concepts is not identical with it or with them. Concept is a
category oI human cognition (reropx mmex). Concept is the thought oI an
object that singles out its essential Ieatures. Concepts are the results oI abstraction
and generalization. Thus they are almost the same Ior the whole oI humanity in one
and the same period oI its historical development. The meanings oI words, however,
are diIIerent in diIIerent languages. Compare the linguistic expression oI one and the
same concept in diIIerent languages (Table 1).
This comparison proves the Iact that the concepts expressed by one and the same
word in one language (in Russian), can be expressed by two diIIerent words in the
other language (in English). 3. Distinguishing meaning Irom the reIerent, i.e. Irom
the thing denoted by the linguistic sign, is oI the utmost importance. To begin with,
meaning is linguistic whereas the denoted object or the reIerent is beyond the scope
oI language. One and the same object can be denoted by more than one word oI a
diIIerent meaning. For example, in speech the reIerent can be denoted by the word
cat, animal, pussy, Tom, this, pet, etc. All these words have the same reIerent, but
diIIerent meanings. Besides, there are words that have distinct meaning but do not
reIer to any existing thing, e.g. mermaid* an imaginary sea creature that has the
upper body oI a woman and a Iish`s tail`; angel * a spirit that in some religions is
believed to live in heaven with God; in pictures, angels are shown as people with
wings`; phoenix * in ancient stories, an imaginary bird which set Iire to itselI every
500 years and was born again, rising Irom its ashes ( the powder leIt aIter its body
has been burnt)`; etc.
The conclusion is that meaning is not to be identical with any oI the three points
oI the triangle the soundIorm, the concept and the reIerent, but is closely
connected with them. The reIerential deIinitions oI meaning are usually criticized on
the ground that: 1) they cannot be applied to sentences; 2) they cannot account Ior
certain semantic additions emerging in the process oI communication; 3) they Iail to
account Ior the Iact that one word may denote diIIerent objects and phenomena
(polysemy) while one and the same object may be denoted by diIIerent words
Table 1
Language concept a building Ior human
Iixed residence oI Iamily
or household
1.2. Functional or Contextual Definitions of Meaning

The functional approach to meaning maintains that the meaning oI a linguistic
unit can be studied only through its relation to other linguistic units. According to
the given approach the meanings oI the words to move and movement are diIIerent
because these words Iunction in speech diIIerently, i. e. occupy diIIerent positions in
relation to other words. To move can be Iollowed by a noun (to move a chair) and
preceded by a pronoun (%e move). +ovement may be Iollowed by a preposition
(movement of a car) and preceded by an adjective (slo% movement). The position oI
a word in relation to other words is called distribution of the word. As the
distribution oI the words to move and movement is diIIerent they belong to diIIerent
classes oI words and their meanings are diIIerent.
The same is true oI diIIerent meanings oI one and the same word. Analyzing the
Iunction oI a word in linguistic contexts and comparing these contexts, we conclude
that meanings are diIIerent. For example,
we can observe the diIIerence oI meanings oI the verb to ta#e iI we examine its
Iunctions in diIIerent linguistic contexts, to ta#e a seat (to sit down`) as opposed to
to ta#e to smb( (to begin to like someone`).
The term context` is deIined as the minimum stretch oI speech necessary and
suIIicient to determine which oI the possible meanings oI a polysemantic word is
used.The Iunctional approach is sometimes described as contextual as it is based on
the analysis oI various contexts. In the Iunctional approach which is typical oI
structural linguistics semantic investigation is conIined to the analysis oI the
diIIerence or sameness oI meaning: meaning is understood as the Iunction oI a
linguistic unit.
1.3. Operational or InformationOriented Definitions of Meaning
The operational or information_oriented deIinitions oI meaning are centered
on deIining meaning through its role in the process oI communication. Thus, this
approach studies words in action and is more interested in how meaning works than
in what it is. The inIormation-oriented approach began to take shape with the
growing interest oI linguistics in the communicative aspect oI the language when
the object oI study was shiIted to relations between the language we use and the
situations whithin which it is used, thus exploring the capacity oI human beings to
use the language appropriately.
Within the Iramework oI the trend described meaning is deIined as inIormation
conveyed Irom the speaker to the listener in the process oI communication. This
deIinition is applicable both to words and sentences and thus overcomes one oI the
alleged drawbacks oI the reIerential approach. The problem is that it is more
applicable to sentences than to words and even as such Iails to draw a clear
distinguishing line between the direct meaning and implication (additional
Thus, the sentence ,ohn came at - o`cloc# besides the direct meaning may imply
that ohn %as t%o hours late; failed to #eep his promise; came though he did not
%ant to; %as punctual as usual, etc`. In each case the implication would depend on
the concrete situation oI communication and discussing meaning as inIormation
conveyed would amount to the discussion oI an almost inIinite set oI possible
communication situations. The distinction between the two layers in the inIormation
conveyed is so important that two diIIerent terms may be used to denote them. The
direct information conveyed by the units constituting the sentence may be reIerred
to as meaning while the information added to the extralinguistic situation may be
called sense.
2. Two approaches to the content facet of linguistic units. Naming
Since words denote objects, processes, phenomena oI concrete reality, the Iirst
thing to be discussed is correlation between meaning and the thing denoted by the
word. In studying such correlation two diIIerent approaches are possible. The study
oI the semantic side oI the word may start with the name or with the object denoted.
In the Iirst case the study will consist in considering diIIerent meanings oI the word,
determining interrelations between them, as well as discovering semantic relations
between diIIerent words. Such approach is called semasiological. The second
approach is the reverse oI the Iirst: it starts Irom an object and consists in analyzing
diIIerent words correlated with it. This approach is called onomasiological (Irom the
Greek onoma name`). The onomasiological approach helps to discover how
meaning is Iormed, considering its basic properties and peculiarities. The diIIerence
between the two approaches may be illustrated by Diagram 3.
D i a g r a m 3
the semasiological approach
the onomasiological approach
There are two main participants in the process oI nomination: the one who gives a
name to an object (the nominator) and the object which is given a name (the
referent). The process oI giving a name to an object consists oI several stages.
1. The process oI nomination starts with Iorming a concept oI the object. The
concept is a generalized idea oI a class oI objects, summing up the most essential
Ieatures oI the given class thus distinguishing it Irom other classes. There are several
Iactors which inIluence the Iormation oI concepts: 1) the objective reality itselI. This
Iactor accounts Ior diIIerences in concepts in diIIerent language communities. This
can be illustrated by the collocability oI words in diIIerent languages: in Russian
./01 /23 in English drin# soup; 2) the level oI knowledge about the nature and
structure oI the given object. For example, the concept oI star diIIers Ior the 15th
century and 21st century European;
3) the general system oI notions typical oI the given language community, e. g.
philosophic, moral, religious and other principles existing at the given period oI
2. The next stage in the process oI naming is the designation oI class oI objects
under nomination with the help oI linguistic means. To Iorm meaning certain
Ieatures (not necessarily the most important in shaping the concept) are singled out
to underlie word semantics. The Ieatures chosen as the basic characteristics oI the
object Iorm the denotatum. It is really what the word denotes, while the concept
and the reIerent are what the word is correlated with. The interrelations oI concept
and denotatum may be diIIerent, in some cases the denotatum is close to the
concept, in other cases it is much narrower than the underlying concept as can be
seen Irom Diagram 4.

D i a g r am 4
The reIerent (e.g. a concrete animal)
the denotatum oI the word cat`
(a small Iury domestic animal,
oIten kept as a pet, to catch mice.)`
the denotatum oI the word mouser`
(i.e. not any cat, but the cat that catches
The denotational part oI meaning is relatively stable and it stands to represent all
the characteristics oI the object general, individual, and those to be discovered.
3. DeIining a set oI denotational Ieatures constituting the most important part oI
meaning (i. e. the semantic core) in the process oI nomination is not the Iinal stage.
The next step is the Iormation oI Iunctional signiIicance oI a linguistic unit. The
attitude oI the speaker towards the object, the place it is ascribed among other things
also Iinds its reIlection in shaping lexical meaning. Information suggested in
addition to the denotatum may reIer to the positive or negative attitude oI the
nominator, or it may indicate a certain situation oI communication and point out at
the participants and their roles. This additional inIormation shapes the
communicative value oI lexical meaning.
4. Coming to the Iinal stage it should be noted that to become a word, the semantic
side Iormed in the process oI nomination is to be correlated with certain material
structure, i. e. the sound form and the graphic form. The acquisition oI the sound
and graphic Iorms makes it possible Ior the word to be conveyed Irom one person to
another to serve the purposes oI communication.
3. Types of meaning

Wordmeaning is not homogeneous. It is made up oI various components. These
components are described as types oI meaning. The two main types oI meaning are
the grammatical meaning and the lexical meaning. Still one more type oI meaning is
singled out. It is based on the interaction oI the major types and is called the
partoI speech (or lexicogrammatical) meaning.
The grammatical meaning is deIined as an expression in speech oI relationship
between words. Grammatical meaning is the component oI meaning recurrent in
identical sets oI individual Iorms oI diIIerent words, as, Ior example, the tense
meaning in the wordIorms oI the verbs: as#ed, thought, %al#ed; the case meaning
in the wordIorms oI various nouns: girl`s, boy`s, night`s; the meaning oI plurality
which is Iound in the wordIorms oI nouns: 4oys, tables, places(
The lexical meaning oI the word is the meaning proper to the given linguistic
unit in all its Iorms and distributions. The wordIorms go, goes, %ent, going, gone
possess diIIerent grammatical meanings oI tense, person, number, but in each Iorm
they have one and the same semantic component denoting the process oI
Both the lexical and grammatical meanings make up the word meaning as neither
can exist without the other. That can be observed in the semantic analysis oI
correlated words in diIIerent languages. The Russian word /5.6.789 is not
semantically identical with the English equivalent information because unlike the
Russian /5.6.789 the English word does not possess the grammatical meaning oI
plurality which is part oI the semantic structure oI the Russian word. In some parts
oI speech the prevailing component is the grammatical type oI meaning. For
example, in the verb to be the grammatical meaning oI a linking element prevails:
:e is a teacher(
The essence oI the part_of_speech meaning oI a word is revealed in the
classiIication oI lexical items into major wordclasses (nouns, verbs, adjectives and
adverbs) and minor wordclasses (articles, prepositions, conjunctions, etc). All
members oI a major wordclass share a distinguishing semantic component which,
though very abstract, may be viewed as the lexical component oI partoIspeech
meaning. For example, the meaning oI thingness or substantiality may be Iound in
all the nouns, e. g. table, love, sugar, though they possess diIIerent grammatical
meaning oI number and case.
The grammatical aspect oI partoIspeech meaning is conveyed as a rule by a set
oI Iorms. II we describe the word as a noun we mean to say that it is bound to
possess a set oI Iorms expressing the grammatical meaning oI number (table;tables)
and case (boy;boy`s). The partoIspeech meaning oI the words that possess only
one Iorm, e. g. prepositions, some adverbs, etc. is observed only in their distribution,
e. g. to come in (here, there); in (on, under) the table. The interconnection between
the three types oI meaning is shown in Diagram 5.
D i a g r a m 5
Lexical----- Part_of_Speech------Grammatical
4. Aspects of lexical meaning
In the general Iramework oI lexical meaning several aspects can be singled out.
They are:
a) the denotational aspect;
b) the connotational aspect;
c) the pragmatic aspect.
The denotational aspect oI lexical meaning is the part oI lexical meaning which
establishes correlation between the name and the object, phenomenon, process or
characteristic Ieature oI concrete reality (or thought as such), which is denoted by
the given word. The term denotational` is derived Irom the English word to denote
which means be a sign oI, indicate, stand as a name or symbol Ior`. For example,
the denotational meaning oI boo#let is a small thin book that gives inIormation
about something`. It is through the denotational aspect oI meaning that the bulk oI
inIormation is conveyed in the process oI communication. The denotational aspect
oI lexical meaning expresses the notional content oI a word.
The connotational aspect oI lexical meaning is the part oI meaning which reIlects
the attitude oI the speaker towards what he speaks about. Connotation conveys
additional inIormation in the process oI communication. Connotation includes:
1) the emotive charge, e. g. daddy as compared to father;
2) evaluation, which may be positive or negative, e. g. cli<ue (a small group oI
people who seem unIriendly to other people) as compared to group (a set oI people);
3) intensity (or expressiveness), e. g. adore as compared to love;
4) imagery, e. g. to %ade to walk with an eIIort (through mud, water or anything
that makes progress diIIicult). The Iigurative use oI the word gives rise to another
meaning which is based on the same image as the Iirst to %ade through a boo#(
The pragmatic aspect oI lexical meaning is the part oI meaning, that conveys
inIormation on the situation oI communication. Like the connotational aspect, the
pragmatic aspect Ialls into Iour closely linked together subsections:
1) information on the ~time and space relationship of the participants. Some
inIormation which speciIies diIIerent parameters oI communication may be
conveyed not only with the help oI grammatical means (tense Iorms, personal
pronouns, etc.), but through the meaning oI the word. For instance, the words come
and go can indicate the location oI the Speaker who is usually taken as the zero point
in the description oI the situation oI communication.
The time element when related through the pragmatic aspect oI meaning is Iixed
indirectly. Indirect reIerence to time implies that the Irequency oI occurrence oI
words may change with time and in extreme cases words may be out oI use or
become obsolete. Thus, the word behold take notice, see (esp. something
unusual or striking)` as well as the noun beholder * spectator` are out oI use now
but were widely used in the 17th century;
2) information on the participants and the given language community. To
illustrate this type oI pragmatic inIormation in the word meaning one can cite an
example analysed by G.Leech in Semantics.
Discussing two sentences (1) They chuc#ed a stone at the cops, and then did a bun#
%ith the loot. (2) =fter casting a stone at the police, they absconded %ith the money,
G.Leech points out that sentence (1) could be said by two criminals, talking casually
about the crime aIterwards; sentence (2) might be said by the chieI inspector in
making his oIIicial report. Thus, the language used may be indicative oI the social
status oI a person, his education, proIession or occupation, etc. The pragmatic aspect
oI the word may also convey inIormation about the social system oI the given
language community, its ideology, religion, system oI norms and customs;
3) information on the tenor of discourse. The tenors oI discourse reIlect how the
addresser (the speaker or the writer) interacts with the addressee (the listener or the
reader). Tenors are based on social or Iamily roles oI the participants oI
communication. A mother will talk in a diIIerent way (a) with her small child and (b)
about her children. There may be a situation oI a stranger talking to a stranger, or
two Iriends discussing matters oI interest, or a teacher talking to a student, or a
student interviewed by the dean, etc.;
4) information on the register of communication. The conditions oI
communication Iorm another important group oI Iactors. The register deIines the
general type oI the situation oI communication grading the situations in Iormality
(variations ranging Irom extreme degrees oI Iormality through norm to extreme
nonIormality). Three main types oI the situations oI communication are usually
singled out: Iormal, neutral and inIormal. Practically every word in the language is
register oriented. Thus, the pragmatic aspect oI meaning reIers words like cordial,
fraternal, anticipate, aid, sanguinary, celestial to the Iormal register while units like
cut it out, to be #idding, hi, stuff are to be used in the inIormal register. The aspects
oI lexical meaning are presented graphically on Diagram 6.
D i a g r a m 6
Denotational aspec-------- Connotational aspect----------Pragmatic aspect
Emotive charge Evaluation Expressiveness Imagery
InIormation on the time and space
relationship oI the participants
InIormation on the participants and
the given language community
InIormation on the tenor oI discourse
InIormation on the register oI communication
9. Semantic structure of English words
1. Semasiology and Semantics compared. Historical development of
2. Classifications of semantic changes.
1. Semasiology and Semantics compared. Historical development of
The branch oI the study oI language concerned with the meaning oI words and
word equivalents is called semasiology, (semasia- Irom Greek signiIication).As
semasiology deals only with lexical meaning oI a word it may be regarded as a
branch oI Lexicology.
It doesn`t mean that semasiology has nothing to do with grammatical meaning.
It must also be taken into consideration as it bears a speciIic inIluence upon lexical
sing diachronic approach, we may say that semasiology studies the change in
meaning that words undergo.
Descriptive synchronistic approach demands the study not oI individual words
but oI semantic structures typical oI the language studied and oI its general semantic
The main objects oI semasiological study we shall speak about are: Semantic
development oI words, its causes and classiIication, relevant distinctive Ieatures and
types oI lexical meaning, polysemy and semantic structure oI words, semantic
grouping and connections in the vocabulary system, i.e. synonyms, antonyms,
terminological systems, etc.
As Ior the two terms semasiology and semantics, on the one hand they are
synonymous. But in Iact they are synonyms but not equally appropriate Ior our
purpose. The term semasiology is preIerable because it is less ambiguous. The
only meaning it has is that given below. The term semantics is used to cover several
diIIerent meanings. To avoid conIusion the term semasiology will be used.
Semasiology is one oI the youngest branches oI linguistics although the
objects oI its study have attracted the attention oI philosophers and grammarians
since the times oI antiquity. We Iind the problems oI word and notion relationship
discussed in the works oI Plato and Aristotle and the Iamous Indian Grammarian
Semasiology came into its own only in the 1830`s when it was suggested by the
representatives oI German linguistic school, that the studies oI meaning should be
regarded as an independent branch oI knowledge.
At that Iirst stage semasiology had as its source philological studies. It grew out
oI commentaries upon the meaning oI this or that word with an old author and
comparisons with earlier and present-day usage.
The treatment oI meaning throughout the 19
century and in the Iirst decade oI
the 20
was purely diachronistic. Attention was concentrated upon the process oI
semantic change. Semasiology was even deIined at that time as a linguistic science
dealing with the changes in word meaning, their causes and classiIication.
egative sides: semantic changes were traced and described Ior isolated word-
units without taking into account the interrelation oI structures existing within each
Thus, it was impossible to Iormulate any general tendencies peculiar to the
English language.
As Ior the English vocabulary, the accent in its semantic study was in the 19
century shiIted to lexicographical problems. The Golden Age oI English
lexicography began in the middle oI the 19
century when the great work, the
OxIord Dictionary oI the English language on Historical Principles was carried out.
2. Classifications of semantic changes.

Semantic changes have been variously classiIied into such categories as:
enlargement (or extension), narrowing, generalization, specialization, transIer
(metaphor and metonymy), irradiation, amelioration, pejoration and many others.
These numerous classiIications might be subdivided into logical, psychological,
sociological and genetic. o satisIactory or universally accepted scheme oI
classiIication has ever been Iound and this line oI search seems to be abandoned.
The authors oI the earliest classiIications treated semantic change as a logical
process conditioned psychologically and classed its types under the headings oI the
Iigures oI speech: synecdoche, metonymy, metaphor.
The synecdoche covers not only all cases in which a part is put Ior the whole, or
the whole Ior a part, but also - the general Ior the special and the special Ior the
general, i.e. what was later termed as specialization or narrowing and generalization
or widening.
The metonymy applies the name oI one thing to another with which it has some
permanent connection. The relations may be those oI cause and result, symbol and
thing symbolized, container and content, etc.
The metaphor applies the name oI one thing to another to which it has some
They considered the last type oI semantic change to be the most important oI
the three.
The classiIication has its drawback, as it mixes Iacts oI language with those oI
the literary style.
Later on to the classiIication were added: hyperbole, vulgarism, litotes, and
euphemism (they will be discussed later).
In the 20
century the progress oI semasiology was uneven. The theory oI
semantic Iield, treating semantic phenomena historically and within a deIinite
language system at a deIinite period oI its development was oIIered.
The study oI semantic change is very important as the development and change
oI the semantic structure oI a word is always a source oI qualitative and quantitative
development oI the vocabulary.
When studying it we are to compare:
We may compare the earlier and the new meaning oI the given word. This
comparison may be based on the diIIerence between notions expressed or reIerents
in the real world that are pointed out, or on some other Ieatures. This diIIerence is
revealed in the diIIerence oI contexts, in which these words occur, in their diIIerent
E.g. the word play suggests diIIerent notions to a child, a playwright, a
Iootballer, a musician or a chess-player and has in their speech diIIerent semantic
paradigms. A word which Iormally represented a notion oI a narrower scope has
come to render a notion oI a broader scope. When the meaning is specialized, the
word can name Iewer objects, i.e. have Iewer reIerents.
The reduction oI scope accounts Ior the term narrowing oI meaning which is
even more oIten used than the term specialization.
There is also a third term Ior the same phenomenon, namely diIIerentiation,
but it is not so widely used as the Iirst two terms.
The process reverse to specialization is termed generalization and widening oI
meaning. In this case the scope oI the new notion is wider than that oI the original
one, whereas the content oI the notion is poorer. In most cases generalization is
combined with a higher order oI abstraction than in the notion expressed by the
earlier meaning. The transition Irom a concrete meaning to an abstract one is a most
Irequent Ieature in the semantic history oI words.

10. Semantic structure of English words.
1. Metaphor.
2. Metonymy.
3. Other types of semantic change.
4. Causes of semantic change.
1. Metaphor.

The most Irequent transIers oI meaning are based on associations oI similarity or
oI contiguity. These types oI transIer are known as Iigures oI speech called metaphor
and metonymy.
A metaphor is a transIer oI name based on the association oI similarity and thus
is actually a hidden comparison. It compares one thing to another (presents a method
oI description which likens one thing to another by reIerring to it as iI it were some
other one).
E.g. a cunning person is reIerred to as a Iox.
A woman may be called a peach, a lemon, a cat a goose, etc.
In a metonymy, this reIerring to one thing as iI it were some other one is based
on association oI contiguity.
E.g. in a literary work an author can name his personages according to the
things they are wearing: Red MuIIler, Grey Shawl, etc.
Speaking about linguistic metaphor and metonymy, one should remember that
they are diIIerent Irom metaphor and metonymy as literary devices. When we speak
about them as such, both the author and the reader are aware that this reIerence is
Iigurative, that the object has another name. The relationship oI the direct denotative
meaning oI the word and the meaning it has in the literary context is based on
similarity oI some Ieatures in the objects compared.
II it is a linguistic metaphor, especially iI it is dead as a result oI long usage, the
thing named oIten has no other name. In a dead metaphor the comparison is
completely Iorgotten.
E.g. a sun beam, a beam oI light are not compared to a tree, although the word
is actually derived Irom O.E. beam, treethe metaphor is dead.
Metaphors may be based upon very diIIerent types oI similarity, Ior instance,
similarity oI shape: head oI a cabbage, the teeth oI a saw.
This similarity oI shape may be supported by a similarity oI Iunction, the
transIerred meaning is easily recognized Irom the context.
E.g. .the Head said a lot, mainly about the College, and what it was like being
head oI it.
The similarity may be supported also by position: Ioot oI a page, a mountain.
E.g. the leg oI the tablethe metaphor is motivated by the similarity oI the
lower part oI the table and the human limbs in position and partly in shape and
umerous cases oI metaphoric transIer are based upon the analogy between
duration oI time and space.
E.g. long distance :: long speech, a short path :: a short time.
There is a subgroup oI metaphors which comprises transitions oI proper names
into common ones: an Adonis, a Don uan, etc.

2. Metonymy.
II the transIer is based upon the association oI contiguity it is called metonymy.
It is a shiIt oI names between things that are known to be in some way or other
connected in reality. The transIer may be conditioned by spatial, temporal, causal,
symbolic, instrumental, Iunctional and other connections.
Thus, the word book is derived Irom the name oI a tree on which inscriptions
were scratched: ME book comes Irom OE boc beeck.
Spatial relationswhen the name oI the place is used Ior the people occupying
E.g. the chair may mean the chairman, the barthe lawyers, etc.
A causal relationshipME IearOE Ier (danger, unexpected attack).
States and properties serve as names Ior objects and people possessing them:
youth, age, authorities, Iorces.
The name oI the action can serve to name the result oI the action: ME killME
killen, i.e. to hit on the head.etc.
Common names may be derived Irom proper names also metonymically, as in
diesel, sony, Iord, etc., so named aIter their inventors.
Many physical and technical units are named aIter great scientists: volt, ohm,
ampere, walt, etc.
There are also many instances in political vocabulary, when the place oI some
establishment is used not only Ior the establishment itselI but also Ior its policy: the
White House, the Pentagon, Wall Street, Downing Street, etc.
Geographical names turned into common nouns to name the goods exported:
astrakhan, bikini, boston, cardigan, china etc. Or garments came to be known by the
names oI those who brought them into Iashion: mackintosh, raglan.
3. Other types of semantic change.
Besides metaphor and metonymy there exist other types oI semantic change.
These are: hyperbole, litotes, irony, euphemism. There is a diIIerence between these
terms as understood in literary criticism and in lexicology.
Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement not meant to be understood literally but
expressing an intensely emotional attitude oI the speaker to what he is speaking
about. The emotional tone is due to the illogical character in which the direct
denotative and the contextual emotional meanings are combined.
E.g. I have told you IiIty times, a thousand thanks, haven`t seen you Ior ages
The diIIerence between a poetic hyperbole and a linguistic one is in the Iact,
that the Iormer creates an image, whereas in the latter the denotative meaning
quickly Iades out and the corresponding exaggerating words serve only as general
signs oI emotion without speciIying the emotion itselI. Emphatic words are:
absolutely, awIully, terribly, lovely, splendid.
The reverse Iigure is called litotes or understatement. It might be deIined as
expressing the aIIirmative by the negative oI its contrary: not bad or not halI bad Ior
good, not small Ior great, not coward Ior brave.
They may not contain negations: rather decent, I could do with a cup oI tee.
Irony, i.e. expression oI one`s meaning by words oI opposite meaning,
especially a simulated adoption oI the opposite point oI view Ior the purpose oI
E.g. nice Ior bad, unsatisIactory
ou have got us into a nice mess
A pretty mess you`ve made oI it.
Amelioration and pejoration oI meaning changes depending on the social
attitude to the object named.
E.g. OE cwen a woman ME queen
OE cniht a young servant ME knight (amelioration oI meaning)
A knave Irom OE cnaIaboy, servant and Iinally became a term oI abuse and
scorn. (pejoration oI meaning)
Euphemism is the substitution oI words oI mild or vague connotations Ior
expressions rough, unpleasant or Ior some other reasons unmentionable. This
phenomenon has been classed by many linguists as taboo.
With people oI developed culture euphemism is dictated by social usage, moral
tact, etc.
E.g. queer Ior mad, deceased Ior dead, etc.
From the semantic point oI view euphemism is important because meanings
with unpleasant connotations appear in words Iormerly neutral, as a result oI their
repeated use instead oI other words that are Ior some reason unmentionable.
4. Causes of semantic change.
The meaning oI a word can change in the course oI time. Changes oI lexical
meanings can be proved by comparing contexts oI diIIerent times. TransIer oI the
meaning is called lexico-semantic word-building. In such cases the outer aspect oI a
word does not change.
The causes oI semantic changes can be extra-linguistic and linguistic, e.g. the
change oI the lexical meaning oI the noun pen was due to extra-linguistic causes.
Primarily pen comes back to the Latin word penna (a Ieather oI a bird). As
people wrote with goose pens the name was transIerred to steel pens which were
later on used Ior writing. Still later any instrument Ior writing was called a pen.
On the other hand causes can be linguistic, e.g. the conIlict oI synonyms when a
perIect synonym oI a native word is borrowed Irom some other language one oI
them may specialize in its meaning, e.g. the noun tide in Old English was
polysemantic and denoted time, season, hour. When the French words
time, season, hour were borrowed into English they ousted the word tide
in these meanings. It was specialized and now means regular rise and Iall oI the sea
caused by attraction oI the moon. The meaning oI a word can also change due to
ellipsis, e.g. the word-group a train oI carriages had the meaning oI a row oI
carriages, later on oI carriages was dropped and the noun train changed its
meaning, it is used now in the Iunction and with the meaning oI the whole word-
Semantic changes have been classiIied by diIIerent scientists. The most complete
classiIication was suggested by a German scientist Herman Paul in his work
Prinzipien des Sprachgeschichte. It is based on the logical principle. He
distiguishes two main ways where the semantic change is gradual ( specialization
and generalization), two momentary conscious semantic changes (metaphor and
metonymy) and also secondary ways: gradual (elevation and degradation),
momentary (hyperbole and litotes).
It is a gradual process when a word passes Irom a general sphere to some special
sphere oI communication, e.g. case has a general meaning circumstances in
which a person or a thing is. It is specialized in its meaning when used in law (a
law suit), in grammar (a Iorm in the paradigm oI a noun), in medicine (a patient, an
illness). The diIIerence between these meanings is revealed in the context.
The meaning oI a word can specialize when it remains in the general usage. It
happens in the case oI the conIlict between two absolute synonyms when one oI
them must specialize in its meaning to remain in the language, e.g. the native word
meat had the meaning Iood, this meaning is preserved in the compound
sweetmeats. The meaning edible Ilesh was Iormed when the word Iood, its
absolute synonym, won in the conIlict oI absolute synonyms (both words are
native). The English verb starve was specialized in its meaning aIter the
Scandinavian verb die was borrowed into English. Die became the general verb
with this meaning because in English there were the noun death and the adjective
dead. Starve got the meaning to die oI hunger .
The third way oI specialization is the Iormation oI Proper names Irom common
nouns, it is oIten used in toponimics, e.g. the City - the business part oI London,
OxIord - university town in England, the Tower -originally a Iortress and palace,
later -a prison, now - a museum.
The Iourth way oI specialization is ellipsis. In such cases primaraly we have a
word-group oI the type attribute noun, which is used constantly in a deIinite
situation. Due to it the attribute can be dropped and the noun can get the meaning oI
the whole word-group, e.g. room originally meant space, this meaning is
retained in the adjective roomy and word combinations: no room Ior, to take
room, to take no room. The meaning oI the word room was specialized
because it was oIten used in the combinations: dining room, sleeping room
which meant space Ior dining , space Ior sleeping.
It is a process contrary to specializaton, in such cases the meaning oI a word
becomes more general in the course oI time.
The transIer Irom a concrete meaning to an abstract one is most Irequent, e.g.
ready (a derivative Irom the verb ridan - ride) meant prepared Ior a ride,
now its meaning is prepared Ior anything. ourney was borrowed Irom French
with the meaning one day trip, now it means a trip oI any duration.
All auxiliary verbs are cases oI generalization oI their lexical meaning because
they developed a grammatical meaning : have, be, do, shall , will when
used as auxiliary verbs are devoid oI their lexical meaning which they have when
used as notional verbs or modal verbs, e.g. cI. I have several books by this writer
and I have read some books by this author. In the Iirst sentence the verb have
has the meaning possess, in the second sentence it has no lexical meaning, its
grammatical meaning is to Iorm Present PerIect.
11. Semantic Structure of the Word. Polysemy.
1. Polysemy
2. Types of Semantic Components
3. Meaning and Context
1. Polysemy
It is generally known that most words convey several concepts and thus
possess the corresponding number oI meanings. A word having several
meanings is called polysemantic, and the ability oI words to have more than one
meaning is described by the term polysemy.
Polysemy is certainly not an anomaly. Most English words are polysemantic.
It should be noted that the wealth oI expressive resources oI a language largely
depends on the degree to which polysemy has developed in the language.
Sometimes people who are not very well inIormed in linguistic matters claim that
a language is lacking in words iI the need arises Ior the same word to be applied
to several diIIerent phenomena. In actual Iact, it is exactly the opposite: iI each
word is Iound to be capable oI conveying at least two concepts instead oI one,
the expressive potential oI the whole vocabulary increases twoIold. Hence, a well-
developed polysemy is a great advantage in a language.
On the other hand, it should be pointed out that the number oI sound
combinations that human speech organs can produce is limited. ThereIore at a
certain stage oI language development the production oI new words by
morphological means is limited as well, and polysemy becomes increasingly
important Ior enriching the vocabulary. From this, it should be clear that the
process oI enriching the vocabulary does not consist merely in adding new words
to it, but, also, in the constant development oI polysemy.
The system oI meanings oI any polysemantic word develops gradually, mostly
over the centuries, as more and more new meanings are added to old ones, or oust
some oI them. So the complicated processes oI polysemy development involve
both the appearance oI new meanings and the loss oI old ones. et, the general
tendency with English vocabulary at the modern stage oI its history is to increase
the total number oI its meanings and in this way to provide Ior a quantitative and
qualitative growth oI the languages expressive resources.
When analysing the semantic structure oI a polysemantic word, it is
necessary to distinguish between two levels oI analysis.
On the Iirst level, the semantic structure oI a word is treated as a system oI
meanings. For example, the semantic structure oI the noun Iire could be roughly
presented by this scheme (only the most Irequent meanings are given): Fire, n.
An instance oI
destructive burning;
e. g. a Iorest Iire.
Burning material
in a stove, Iireplace,
etc.; e. g. There is a
Iire in the next
The shooting oI
guns, etc.; e. g. to
open (cease) Iire.
Ieeling, passion,
e. g. a speech
lacking Iire
The above scheme suggests that meaning I holds a kind oI dominance over the
other meanings conveying the concept in the most general way whereas meanings II
are associated with special circumstances, aspects and instances oI the same
Meaning (I) (generally reIerred to as the main meaning) presents the center oI
the semantic structure oI the word holding it together. It is mainly through
meaning (I) that meanings (II)() (they are called secondary meanings) can
be associated with one another, some oI them exclusively through meaning (I) -
the main meaning, as, Ior instance, meanings (I) and ().
It would hardly be possible to establish any logical associations between some
oI the meanings oI the noun bar except through the main meaning1:
Bar, n II Bar, $ III
proIession oI
barrister, law e.
g. go to the "ar
read for the >ar
(In a public
house or hotel)
a counter or
room where
drinks are
served; e. g(
They %ent to
the bar for a
Any kind oI
barrier to
prevent people
Irom passing.
Meanings (II) and (III) have no logical links with one another whereas each
separately is easily associated with meaning (I): meaning (II) through the traditional
barrier dividing a court-room into two parts; meaning (III) through the counter
serving as a kind oI barrier between the customers oI a pub and the barman.
et, it is not in every polysemantic word that such a centre can be Iound. Some
semantic structures are arranged on a diIIerent principle. In the Iollowing list oI
meanings oI the adjective dull one can hardly hope to Iind a generalized
meaning covering and holding together the rest oI the semantic structure.
Dull, adj.
1. A dull book, a dull Iilm - uninteresting, monotonous, boring.
2. A dull student - slow in understanding, stupid.
3. Dull weather, a dull day, a dull colour - not clear or bright.
4. A dull sound - not loud or distinct.
5. A dull kniIe - not sharp.
6. Trade is dull - not active.
7. Dull eyes (arch.) - seeing badly.
8. Dull ears (arch.) - hearing badly.
There is something that all these seemingly miscellaneous meanings have in
common, and that is the implication oI deIiciency, be it oI colour (m. III), wits
(m. II), interest (m. I), sharpness (m. ), etc. The implication oI insuIIicient quality,
oI something lacking, can be clearly distinguished in each separate meaning.
Dull, adj.
1. ninteresting - deIicient in interest or excitement.
2. ... Stupid - deIicient in intellect.
3. ot bright- deIicient in light or colour.
4. ot loud - deIicient in sound.
5. ot sharp - deIicient in sharpness.
6. ot active - deIicient in activity.
7. Seeing badly - deIicient in eyesight.
8. Hearing badly - deIicient in hearing.
The transIormed scheme oI the semantic structure oI dull clearly shows that
the centre holding together the complex semantic structure oI this word is not one
oI the meanings but a certain component that can be easily singled out within each
separate meaning.
On the second level oI analysis oI the semantic structure oI a word: each
separate meaning is a subject to structural analysis in which it may be represented
as sets oI semantic components.
The scheme oI the semantic structure oI dull shows that the semantic
structure oI a word is not a mere system oI meanings, Ior each separate meaning
is subject to Iurther subdivision and possesses an inner structure oI its own.
ThereIore, the semantic structure oI a word should be investigated at both these
levels: 1) oI diIIerent meanings, 2) oI semantic components within each separate
meaning. For a monosemantic word (i. e. a word with one meaning) the Iirst
level is naturally excluded.
2.Types of Semantic Components
The leading semantic component in the semantic structure oI a word is
usually termed denotative component (also, the term reIerential component may be
used). The denotative component expresses the conceptual content oI a word.
The Iollowing list presents denotative components oI some English
adjectives and verbs:
Denotative components
lonely, adj. - alone, without company .
notorious, adj. - widely known
celebrated, adj. - widely known
to glare, v. - to look
to glance, v. - to look
to shiver, v. - to tremble
to shudder, v. - to tremble
It is quite obvious that the deIinitions given in the right column only partially
and incompletely describe the meanings oI their corresponding words. They do
not give a more or less Iull picture oI the meaning oI a word. To do it, it is
necessary to include in the scheme oI analysis additional semantic components
which are termed connotations or connotative components.
Denotative Connotative
components components
The above examples show how by singling out denotative and connotative
components one can get a suIIiciently clear picture oI what the word really means.
The schemes presenting the semantic structures oI glare, shiver, shudder also
show that a meaning can have two or more connotative components.
The given examples do not exhaust all the types oI connotations but present
only a Iew: emotive, evaluative connotations, and also connotations oI duration
and oI cause.
3. Meaning and Context
It`s important that there is sometimes a chance oI misunderstanding when a
polysemantic word is used in a certain meaning but accepted by a listener or
reader in another.
It is common knowledge that context prevents Irom any misunderstanding oI
meanings. For instance, the adjective dull, iI used out oI context, would mean
diIIerent things to diIIerent people or nothing at all. It is only in combination with
other words that it reveals its actual meaning: a dull pupil, a dull play, dull
weather, etc. Sometimes, however, such a minimum context Iails to reveal the
meaning oI the word, and it may be correctly interpreted only through a
second-degree context as in the Iollowing example: The man was large, but his
wiIe was even Iatter. The word Iatter here serves as a kind oI indicator
pointing that large describes a stout man and not a big one.
Current research in semantics is largely based on the assumption that one oI the
more promising methods oI investigating the semantic structure oI a word is by
studying the words linear relationships with other words in typical contexts, i. e.
its combinability or collocability.
Scholars have established that the semantics oI words which regularly
appear in common contexts are correlated and, thereIore, one oI the words within
such a pair can be studied through the other.
They are so intimately correlated that each oI them casts, as it were, a kind oI
permanent reIlection on the meaning oI its neighbour. II the verb to compose is
Irequently used with the object music, so it is natural to expect that certain
musical associations linger in the meaning oI the verb to composed.
ote, also, how closely the negative evaluative connotation oI the
adjective notorious is linked with the negative connotation oI the nouns with
which it is regularly associated: a notorious criminal, thieI, gangster,
gambler, gossip, liar, miser, etc.
All this leads us to the conclusion that context is a good and reliable key to the
meaning oI the word.
It`s a common error to see a diIIerent meaning in every new set oI
combinations. For instance: an angry man, an angry letter. Is the adjective
angry used in the same meaning in both these contexts or in two diIIerent
meanings Some people will say two and argue that, on the one hand, the
combinability is diIIerent (man --name oI person; letter - name oI object) and,
on the other hand, a letter cannot experience anger. True, it cannot; but it can very
well convey the anger oI the person who
wrote it. As to the combinability, the main point is that a word can realize
the same meaning in diIIerent sets oI combinability. For instance, in the pairs
merry children, merry laughter, merry Iaces, merry songs the adjective
merry conveys the same concept oI high spirits.
The task oI distinguishing between the diIIerent meanings oI a word and the
diIIerent variations oI combinability is actually a question oI singling out the
diIIerent denotations within the semantic structure oI the word.
1) a sad woman,
2) a sad voice,
3) a sad story,
4) a sad scoundrel ( an incorrigible scoundrel)
5) a sad night ( a dark, black night, arch. poet.)
Obviously the Iirst three contexts have the common denotation oI sorrow
whereas in the Iourth and IiIth contexts the denotations are diIIerent. So, in these
Iive coniexts we can identiIy three meanings oI sad.
The following conclusions can be made:
1. The problem oI polysemy is mainly the - problem oI interrelation and
interdependence oI the various meanings oI the same word. Polysemy viewed
diachronically is a historical change in the semantic structure oI the word resulting
in disappearance oI some meanings (or) and in new meanings being added to the
ones already existing and also in the rearrangement oI these meanings in its
semantic structure. Polysemy viewed synchronically is understood as co-existence
oI the various meanings oI the same word at a certain historical period and the
arrangement oI these meanings in the semantic structure oI the word.
2. The concepts oI central (basic) and marginal (minor) meanings may be
interpreted in terms oI their relative Irequency in speech. The meaning having the
highest Irequency is usually the one representative oI the semantic structure oI the
word, i.e. synchronically its central (basic) meaning.
3. As the semantic structure is never static the relationship between the
diachronic and synchronic evaluation oI the individual meanings oI the same word
may be diIIerent in diIIerent periods oI the historical development oI language.
4. The semantic structure oI polysemantic words is not homogeneous as Iar as
the status oI individual meanings is concerned. Some meaning (or meanings) is
representative oI the word in isolation, others are perceived only in certain contexts.
5. The whole oI the semantic structure oI correlated polysemantic words oI
diIIerent languages can never be identical. Words are Ielt as correlated iI their basic
(central) meanings coincide.
Semantic Structure of Polysemantic Words
The word table, e.g., has at least nine meanings in Modern English:
1. a piece oI Iurniture;
2. the persons seated at a table;
3. sing( the Iood put on a table, meals;
4. a thin Ilat piece oI stone, metal, wood, etc.;
5. pi( slabs oI stone;
6. words cut into them or written on them (the ten tables);
7. an orderly arrangement oI Iacts, Iigures, etc.;
8. part oI a machine-tool on which the work is put to be operated on;
9. a level area, a plateau.
Each oI the individual meanings can be described in terms oI the types oI
meanings discussed above. We may, e.g., analyse the eighth meaning oI the word
table into the part-oI-speech meaning that oI the noun (which presupposes the
grammatical meanings oI number and case) combined with the lexical meaning
made up oI two components. The denotational semantic component which can be
interpreted as the dictionary deIinition (part oI a machine-tool on which the work is
put) and the connotational component which can be identiIied as a speciIic stylistic
reIerence oI this particular meaning oI the word table (technical terminology). CI.
the Russian 3?@7A@BC@, /0D? /0@7E@(
In polysemantic words, however, we are Iaced not with the problem oI analysis
oI individual meanings, but primarily with the problem oI the interrelation and
interdependence oI the various meanings in the semantic structure oI one and the
same word.
Diachronic Approach
II polysemy is viewed diachronically, it is understood as the growth and
development oI or, in general, as a change in the semantic structure oI the word.
Polysemy in diachronic terms implies that a word may retain its previous
meaning or meanings and at the same time acquire one or several new ones. Then
the problem oI the interrelation and interdependence oI individual meanings oI a
polysemantic word may be roughly Iormulated as Iollows: did the word always
possess all its meanings or did some oI them appear earlier than the others are the
new meanings dependent on the meanings already existing and iI so what is the
nature oI this dependence can we observe any changes in the arrangement oI the
meanings and so on.
In the course oI a diachronic semantic analysis oI the polysemantic word table
we Iind that oI all the meanings it has in Modern English, the primary meaning is a
Ilat slab oI stone or wood which is proper to the word in the Old English period
FG&( tabule Irom H( tabula); all other meanings are secondary as they are derived
Irom the primary meaning oI the word and appeared later than the primary meaning.
The terms secondary and derived meaning are to a certain extent synonymous.
When we describe the meaning oI the word as secondary we imply that it could
not have appeared beIore the primary meaning was in existence. When we reIer to
the meaning as derived we imply not only that, but also that it is dependent on the
primary meaning and somehow subordinate to it. In the case oI the word table, e.g.,
we may say that the meaning the Iood put on the table is a secondary meaning as it
is derived Irom the meaning a piece oI Iurniture (on which meals are laid out).
It Iollows that the main source oI polysemy is a change in the semantic structure
oI the word.
Polysemy may also arise Irom homonymy. When two words become identical in
sound-Iorm, the meanings oI the two words are Ielt as making up one semantic
structure. Thus, the human ear and the ear oI corn are Irom the diachronic point oI
view two homonyms. One is etymologically related to.. aim's, the other to H( acus,
aceris. Synchronically, however, they are perceived as two meanings oI one and the
same word. The ear of corn is Ielt to be a metaphor oI the usual type (cI. the eye of
the needle, the foot of the mountain) and consequently as one oI the derived or,
synchronically, minor meanings oI the polysemantic word ear. Cases oI this type are
comparatively rare and, as a rule, illustrative oI the vagueness oI the border-line
between polysemy and homonymy.
Semantic changes result as a rule in new meanings being added to the ones
already existing in the semantic structure oI the word. Some oI the old meanings
may become obsolete or even disappear, but the bulk oI English words tend to an
increase in number oI meanings.

Historical Changeability of Semantic Structure
From the discussion oI the diachronic and synchronic approach to polysemy it
Iollows that the interrelation and the interdependence oI individual meanings oI the
word may be described Irom two diIIerent angles. These two approaches are not
mutually exclusive but are viewed here as supplementing each other in the linguistic
analysis oI a polysemantic word.
It should be noted, however, that as the semantic structure is never static, the
relationship between the diachronic and synchronic evaluation oI individual
meanings may be diIIerent in diIIerent periods oI the historical development oI
language. This is perhaps best illustrated by the semantic analysis oI the word
revolution. Originally, when this word Iirst appeared in +&( 13501450 it denoted
the revolving motion oI celestial bodies and also the return or recurrence oI a point
or a period oI time. Later on the word acquired other meanings and among them that
oI a complete overthrow oI the established government or regime and also a
complete change, a great reversal oI conditions. The meaning revolving motion in
+&( was both primary (diachronically) and central (synchronically). In Modern
English, however, while we can still diachronically describe this meaning as primary
it is no longer synchronically central as the arrangement oI meanings in the semantic
structure oI the word revolution has considerably changed and its central and the
most Irequent meaning is a complete overthrow oI the established government or
the regime. It Iollows that the primary meaning oI the word may become
synchronically one oI its minor meanings and diachronically a secondary meaning
may become the central meaning oI the word. The actual arrangement oI meanings
in the semantic structure oI any word in any historical period is the result oI the
semantic development oI this word within the system oI the given language.
12. Homonyms in English.
1. Phonetic coincidence and semantic differentiation.
2. Classification of homonyms. Causes of homonymy. Homonyms treated
synchronically and diachronically.
1. Phonetic coincidence and semantic differentiation.
ery oIten one symbol may serve to render several diIIerent meanings. The
phenomenon may be said to be the reverse oI synonymy where several symbols
correspond to one meaning.
Two or more words identical in sound and spelling but diIIerent in meaning,
distribution and origin are called homonyms. The term is derived Irom Greek
( homos-similar, onoma-name).
E.g., there is an obvious diIIerence between the meanings oI the symbol
Iast in such combinations as run fast (quickly) and stand fast (Iirmly).
The diIIerence is even more pronounced iI we observe cases where fast is a
noun or a verb, as in the Iollowing proverbs: A clean Iast is better than a dirty
breakIast; who Ieasts till he is sick, must Iast till he is well.
E.g., liver (a living person and organ oI body).Is liIe worth living It
depends on the liver.
ery seldom ambiguity oI this kind interIeres with understanding.
Homonyms exist in many languages, but in English they are particularly
Irequent, especially among monosyllabic words.
2. Classification of homonyms. Causes of homonymy. Homonyms treated
synchronically and diachronically.
The most widely accepted classiIication is that recognizing homonyms
proper, homophones and homographs.
Homonyms proper are words identical in pronunciation and spelling, like
fast, liver, or scale a basis Ior the system oI measuring, and scale one oI the
thin plates that Iorm the outer covering oI most Iishes and reptiles.
Homophones are words oI the same sound but oI diIIerent spelling and
meaning: air heir, arms alms, buy bye, knight night, not knot, reign
rain, etc.
E.g., The man on my right thinks it right that some conventional rite should
symbolize the right oI every man to write as he pleases.
The diIIerence may be conIined to the use oI a capital letter as in bill and Bill
in the Iollowing sent. -- Haw much is my milk bill Excuse me, Madam, but
my name is ohn.
Homographs are words diIIerent in sound and meaning but accidentally
identical in spelling: bow bou] bow bau], lead li!d] lead led], row rou]
row rau], etc.
It has been argued that homographs are such a phenomenon that should be
kept apart Irom homonymy as the object oI linguistics is sound language. It can
hardly be accepted because written English is a generalized national Iorm oI
expression. A speaker does not separate the written and oral Iorm. He is even
more likely to analyze words in terms oI letters than in terms oI phonemes with
which he is less Iamiliar. That is why a linguist must take into consideration both
the spelling and the pronunciation oI words when analyzing cases oI identity oI
Iorm and diversity oI content.
The intense development oI homonymy in the English language is due not to
only one single Iactor, but to several interrelated causes, such as monosyllabic
character oI English and its analytical structure. InIlections have almost
disappeared in present-day English and have been superseded by separate words
oI abstract character (prepositions, auxiliaries) stating the relations that were
once expressed by terminations.
The abundance oI homonyms is also closely connected with such a Ieature oI
English as the predominance oI Iree Iorms among the most Irequent roots.
DiIIerent causes by which homonymy may be brought about are
subdivided into two main groups:
1. homonymy through convergent sound development, when two or three
words oI diIIerent origin accidentally coincide in sound Iorm.
2. homonymy developed Irom Polysemy through divergent sense
Both may be combined with loss oI endings and other morphological
E.g., O.E. gesund M.E. sound (healthy).
3. Homonymy of Words and Homonymy of Word-Forms
Words identical in sound-Iorm but diIIerent in meaning are traditionally termed
Modern English is exceptionally rich in homonymous words and word- Iorms. It
is held that languages where short words abound have more homonyms than those
where longer words are prevalent. ThereIore it is sometimes suggested that
abundance oI homonyms in Modern English is to be accounted Ior by the
monosyllabic structure oI the commonly used English words.1
When analyzing diIIerent cases oI homonymy we Iind that some words are
homonymous in all their Iorms, i.e. we observe Iull homonymy oI the paradigms oI
two or more diIIerent words, e.g., in seal,a sea animal and seala design printed
on paper by means oI a stamp. The paradigm seal, seals, seals, seals is identical
Ior both oI them and gives no indication oI whether it is seal, or seal. that we are
analyzing. In other cases, e.g. seal;a sea animal and (to) sealto close tightly,
we see that although some individual word- Iorms are homonymous, the whole oI
the paradigm is not identical. Com pare, Ior instance, the paradigms:
seal (to) seal
seal seal seals seals seals sealed seals sealing, etc.
It is easily observed that only some oI the word-Iorms (e.g. seal, seals, etc.) are
homonymous, whereas others (e.g. sealed, sealing) are not. In such cases we cannot
speak oI homonymous words but only oI homonymy oI individual word-Iorms or oI
partial homonymy. This is true oI a number oI other cases, e.g. compare find Iamd,
found Iaund, found Iaund, and found Iaund, founded tIaundid, founded
tIaundidl; know nou, knows nouz, knew nju:, and no nouj; nose nouz,
noses tnouzis; new nju: in which partial homonymy is observed.
13. Synonymy in English
1. Synonymy. General notion.
2. Criteria of Synonymy
3. Classification of Synonyms
4. Synonymic Patterns. Differences Between Synonyms
1. Synonymy. General notion.
A characteristic Ieature oI a vocabulary oI any language is the existence oI
synonyms, which is closely connected with the problem oI meaning oI the word.
The most complicated problem is the deIinition oI the term synonyms. There
are a great many deIinitions oI the term, but there is no universally accepted one.
Traditionally the synonyms are deIined as words diIIerent in sound-Iorm, but
identical or similar in meaning. But this deIinition has been severely criticized on
many points.
The problem oI synonymy is treated diIIerently by Russian and Ioreign
scientists. Among numerous deIinitions oI the term in our linguistics the most
comprehensive and Iull one is suggested by I.. Arnold: Synonyms - are two or
more words oI the same meaning, belonging to the same part oI speech, possessing
one or more identical meaning, interchangeable at least in some contexts without
any considerable alteration in denotational meaning, but diIIering in morphemic
composition, phonemic shape, shades oI meaning, connotation, aIIective value,
style, emotional coloring and valence peculiar to one oI the elements in a synonymic
This deIinition describes the notion synonymy, gives some criteria oI
synonymy (identity oI meaning, interchangeability), shows some diIIerence in
connotation, emotive coloring, style, etc. But this descriptive deIinition as well as
many others has the main drawbacks - there are no objective criteria oI identity or
similarity or sameness oI meaning. They all are based on the linguistic intuitions
oI the scholars.
From the deIinition Iollows, that the members oI the synonymic group in a
dictionary should have their common denotational meaning and consequently it
should be explained in the same words; they may have some diIIerences in
implication connotation, shades oI meaning, idiomatic usage, etc.
:ope, expectation, anticipation are considered to be synonymous because they
all mean having smth in mind which is likely to happen... But expectation may be
either oI good or oI evil. =nticipation is as a rule an expectation oI smth good. :ope
is not only a belieI but a desire that some event would happen. The stylistic
diIIerence is also quite marked. The Romance words anticipation and expectation
are Iormal literary words used only by educated speakers, whereas the native
monosyllabic hope is stylistically neutral. Moreover, they diIIer in idiomatic usage.
Only hope is possible in such set expressions as to hope against hope, to lose hope,
to pin oneIshopes on smth( either expectation nor anticipation could be substituted
into the Iollowing quotation Irom T.Eliot: ou dont know what hope is until you
have lost it.
ot a single deIinition oI the term synonym provides Ior any objective criterion
oI similarity or sameness oI meaning as Iar as it is based on the linguistic intuition oI
the scholars.
2. Criteria of Synonymy
Many scholars deIined synonyms as words conveying the same notion but
diIIering either in shades oI meaning or in stylistic characteristics. In Websters
Dictionary oI Synonyms its authors used the semantic criterion along with the
criterion oI interchangeability, which we may see Irom the deIinition.
A synonym is one oI two or more words which have the same or nearly the same
essential (denotational) meaning. It is not a matter oI mere likeness in meaning, but
a likeness in denotation which may be expressed in its deIinition. The deIinition
must indicate the part oI speech and the relations oI the ideas involved in a terms
Synonyms, thereIore, are only such words as may be deIined wholly or almost
wholly in the same terms. sually, they are distinguished Irom one another by an
added implication or connotation, or may diIIer in their idiomatic use or in their
They usually are interchangeable within limits, but interchangeability is not the
Iinal test, since idiomatic usage is oIten a preventive oI that. The only satisIactory
test oI synonyms is their agreement in connotation.
3. Classification of Synonyms
The outstanding Russian philologist A.I. Smirnitsky suggested the classiIication
oI synonyms
into 3 types:
1. Ideographic synonyms - words conveying the same notion but diIIering in
shades oI
meaning: to understand - to realize
to expect - to anticipate
to look - glance - stare - peep - gaze healthy - wholesome - sound - sane
2. Stylistic - words diIIering only in stylistic characteristics:
to begin - to commence - to high
to think - to deem
enemy - opponent - Ioe - adversary
to help - to aid - to assist
courage - valour - dauntlessness - grit - guts
3. Absolute (perIect, complete) - words coinciding in all their shades oI
meaning and in
all their stylistic characteristics. Absolute synonyms are rare in a language.
InRussian, I.e.: ru - nor nrop; xsose xsoneee; crepx
In English: pilot - airman Ilyer Ilyingman; screenwriter - scriptwriter -
scripter - cepcr semasiology semantics.
4. Synonymic Patterns. Differences Between Synonyms
The English word-stock is extremely rich in synonyms, which can be largely
accounted Ior by abundant borrowing. The synonymic resources oI a language tend
to Iorm certain characteristic and Iairly consistent patterns. Synonyms in English are
organized according to 2 basic principles. One oI them involves double, the other a
triple scale. In English there are countless pairs oI synonyms where a native term is
opposed to one borrowed Irom French, Latin, and Greek. In most cases the native
word is more spontaneous, more inIormal and unpretentious whereas the Ioreign one
oIten has a learned, abstract air. They may also have emotive diIIerences: the Saxon
word is apt to be wanner and homelier than its Ioreign counterpart. The native words
are usually colloquial. We quote a Iew examples oI synonymic patterns double scale.
Adjectives: bodily - corporal, brotherly - Iraternal, heavenly - celestial, inner -
internal, learned - erudite, sharp - acute.
ouns: Iiddle - violin, Iriendship - amity, help - aid, wire - telegram, world -
erbs: answer - reply, read - peruse, buy - purchase.
Side-by-side with this main pattern there exists in English a pattern based on a
triple scale oI synonyms:
to ask to question to interrogate
to gather to assemble collect
to rise to mount to ascent
teaching guidance instruction
The inIiltration oI British English by Americanisms also results in the Iormation
oI synonyms pairs, one being a traditional Briticism and the other - a new American
loan: Leader - editorial; autumn - Iall; government - administration; luggage -
baggage; wireless -radio; lorry - truck; tin - can; long distance (telephone) call -
trunk call; stone - rock; team -squad.
As a rule the Americanisms have a lower Irequency index than the British
counterparts. Thus, tin is more common than can, team - than squad. But luggage -
baggage, lorry - truck, leader -editorial are used sometimes interchangeably.
In a Iew cases the American synonym has a higher Irequency than its British
counterpart as in the pair: commuter - a season ticket holder (Br.). ery oIten 2
synonyms diIIer stylistically. Br. Synonym is stylistically neutral while the
Americanism is stylistically marked (usually as colloquial or slang): intellectual -
egghead excuse - alibi angry - mad averse - allergic.
English also used many pairs oI synonymous derivatives, the one Hellenic and
the other Romance: hypotheses - supposition periphery - circumIerence sympathy -
compassion synthesis - composition.
Another source oI synonymy is the so-called euphemism, when a harsh word
indelicate or unpleasant or least inoIIensive connotation. Thus the denotational
meaning oI drunk and merry may be the same. The euphemistic expression merry
coincides in denotation with the word it substituted but the connotation oI the latter
Iaded out and so the utterance on the whole is milder and less oIIensive.
ery oIten a learned word which sounds less Iamiliar and less oIIensive or
derogative: Ior example drunkenness intoxication, sweat perspiration
(cI. Russian terms +cnponpx, pcyune). The eIIect is achieved
because the periphrastic expression is not so harsh, sometimes jocular: poor -
underprivileged; pregnant - in the Iamily way; lodger - paying guest.
Set expressions consisting oI a verb with a postpositive are widely used in
present day English: to choose - pick out, abandon - give up, postpone - put oII,
return - come back, quarrel - Iall out.
Even more Irequent are, Ior instance, such set expressions which diIIer Irom
simple verbs in aspect or emphasis: to laugh - to give a laugh, to sign - to give a
sign, to smoke - to have a smoke, to love - to Iall in love.
Smell, scent, odor, aroma all denote a property oI a thing that makes it
perceptible to the olIactory sense. Smell not only is the most general oI these terms
but tends to be the most colorless. It is the appropriate word when merely a
sensation is indicated and no hint or its source, quality or character is necessary.
Scent tends to call attention to the physical basis oI the sense oI smell and is
particularly appropriate when the emphasis is on emanations or explanations Irom
an external object which reach the olIactory receptors rather than impression
produced in the olIactory center oI the brain. Odor is oItentimes indistinguishable
Irom scent Ior it too can be thought oI as smth. diIIused and as smth. by means oI
which external objects are identiIied by the sense oI smell. But the words are not
always interchangeable, Ior odor usually implies abundance oI eIIluvia and
thereIore does not suggest, as scent oIten does, the need oI a delicate or highly
sensitive sense oI smell.
Aroma usually adds to odor the implication oI a penetrating, pervasive or
sometimes a pungent quality; it need not imply delicacy or Iragrance, but it seldom
connotes unpleasantness, and it oIten suggests smth. to be savored.
Understand, comprehend, appreciate are synonyms when they mean to have a
clear and true idea or conception, or Iull and exact knowledge, oI smth. They
(especially the Iirst two) are oIten used interchangeably and seemingly without loss;
nevertheless, they are distinguishable by Iine sharp diIIerences in meaning in precise
use. In general, it may be said that understand reIers to the result oI a mental
process, comprehend to the mental process oI arriving at such a result; thus , one
may come to understand a person although one has had diIIiculty in comprehending
his motives and his peculiarities; one may be unable to comprehend a poem, no
matter how clearly one understands every sentence in it. ou begin to comprehend
me, do you cried he, turning towards her. Oh es - I understand you perIectly.
Sometimes the diIIerence is more subtle; comprehend implies the mental act oI
grasping or seizing clearly and Iully; understand, the power to receive and register
a clear and true impression. That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be
able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, length, depth, height; and to
know the love oI Christ, which passeth knowledge. Some men can think oI
thousands oI dollars, others have to think oI hundreds. Its all their minds are big
enough to comprehend(J And the piece oI God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ esus. Charters is so crowded that
one must be content to Iell what one can, and let the rest go. Knderstand, we
cannot. Appreciate, as here considered, implies a just judgment or the estimation
oI a things true or exact value; thereIore, the word is used in reIerence to persons or
things which may be undervaluing or overvaluing. ou are oI an age now to
appreciate his character. We do not reproach him Ior preIIering, apparently,
Euripides to Aeschylus. But he should at least appreciate Euripides. The public
opinion which thus magniIies patriotism into a religion is a Iorce oI which it is
diIIicult to appreciate the strength. To appreciate the gulI between the ideal and
the Iact, we have only to contrast such a scheme as that set Iorth in the Republic oI
Plato with the Iollowing description oI the state oI Greece during the Peloponnesian
ery oIten words are completely synonyms in the sense oI being interchangeable
in any content without the slightest alteration in objective meaning, Ieeling-tone or
evocative meaning. But majority oI them may have some distinctive Ieatures, which
are listed below. These diIIerences are the Iollowing:
1. Between general and speciIic;
1. Between shades oI meaning;
14. Antonyms in English
Antonyms are words belonging to the same part oI speech, identical in style,
expressing contrary or contradictory notions.
.. Comissarov in his dictionary oI antonyms classiIied them into two groups :
absolute or root antonyms /late - early/ and derivational antonyms / to please` -
to displease/ . Absolute antonyms have diIIerent roots and derivational antonyms
have the same roots but diIIerent aIIixes. In most cases negative preIixes Iorm
antonyms / un-, dis-, non-/. Sometimes they are Iormed by means oI suIIixes -Iul
and -less.
The number oI antonyms with the suIIixes Iul- and -less is not very large, and
sometimes even iI we have a word with one oI these suIIixes its antonym is Iormed
not by substituting -Iul by less-, e.g. successIul -unsuccessIul, selIless -
selIish. The same is true about antonyms with negative preIixes, e.g. to man is
not an antonym oI the word to unman, to disappoint is not an antonym oI the
word to appoint.
The diIIerence between derivational and root antonyms is not only in their
structure, but in semantics as well. Derivational antonyms express contradictory
notions, one oI them excludes the other, e.g. active- inactive. Absolute
antonyms express contrary notions. II some notions can be arranged in a group oI
more than two members, the most distant members oI the group will be absolute
antonyms, e.g. ugly , plain, good-looking, pretty, beautiIul, the
antonyms are ugly and beautiIul.
Leonard Lipka in the book Outline oI English Lexicology describes diIIerent
types oI oppositeness, and subdivides them into three types:
a) complementary, e.g. male - Iemale, married - single,
b) antonyms, e.g. good - bad,
c) converseness, e.g. to buy - to sell.
In his classiIication he describes complimentarity in the Iollowing way: the
denial oI the one implies the assertion oI the other, and vice versa. ohn is not
married implies that ohn is single. The type oI oppositeness is based on yes/no
decision. Incompatibility only concerns pairs oI lexical units.
Antonymy is the second class oI oppositeness. It is distinguished Irom
complimentarity by being based on diIIerent logical relationships. For pairs oI
antonyms like good/bad, big/small only the second one oI the above mentioned
relations oI implication holds. The assertion containing one member implies the
negation oI the other, but not vice versa. ohn is good implies that ohn is not
bad, but ohn is not good does not imply that ohn is bad. The negation oI one
term does not necessarily implies the assertion oI the other.
An important linguistic diIIerence Irom complementaries is that antonyms are
always Iully gradable, e.g. hot, warm, tepid, cold.
Converseness is mirror-image relations or Iunctions, e.g. husband/wiIe,
pupil/teacher, precede/Iollow, above/below, beIore/aIter etc.
ohn bought the car Irom Bill implies that Bill sold the car to ohn. Mirror-
image sentences are in many ways similar to the relations between active and
passive sentences. Also in the comparative Iorm: is smaller than , then is
larger than .
L. Lipka also gives the type which he calls directional opposition up/down,
consiquence opposition learn/know, antipodal opposition orth/South, East/West,
( it is based on contrary motion, in opposite directions.) The pairs come/go,
arrive/depart involve motion in diIIerent directions. In the case up/down we have
movement Irom a point P. In the case come/go we have movement Irom or to the
L. Lipka also points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets. Here
he points out serially ordered sets, such as scales / hot, warm, tepid, cool, cold/ ;
colour words / black, grey, white/ ; ranks /marshal, general, colonel, major, captain
etc./ There are gradable examination marks / excellent, good, average, Iair, poor/. In
such sets oI words we can have outer and inner pairs oI antonyms. He also points
out cycles, such as units oI time /spring, summer, autumn, winter/. In this case there
are no outermost members.
ot every word in a language can have antonyms. This type oI opposition can be
met in qualitative adjectives and their derivatives, e.g. beautiIul- ugly, to beautiIy -
to ugliIy, beauty - ugliness. It can be also met in words denoting Ieelings and states,
e.g. respect - scorn, to respect - to scorn, respectIul - scornIul, to live - to die, alive -
dead, liIe - death. It can be also met among words denoting direction in space and
time, e.g. here - there, up - down , now - never, beIore - aIter, day - night, early - late
II a word is polysemantic it can have several antonyms, e.g. the word bright
has the antonyms dim, dull, sad.
15. Set expressions.

1. Phraseology wide and narrow.
2. Set expressions, semi-fixed combinations and free phrases.
3. Similarity and difference between a set expression and a word.

1. Phraseology wide and narrow

Phraseology is pervasive in all language Iields and yet despite this Iact or
perhaps precisely because oI it it has only relatively recently become established
as a discipline in its own right. The phraseology literature represents it as a subIield
oI lexicology dealing with the study oI word combinations rather than single words.
These multi-word units (MWs) are classiIied into a range oI subtypes in
accordance with their degree oI semantic non-compositionality, syntactic Iixedness,
lexical restrictions and institutionalization. As phraseology has strong links but
Iuzzy borders with several other Iields oI linguistics however, notably morphology,
syntax, semantics and discourse, linguists vary in their opinions as to which subsets
oI these MWs should be included in the Iield oI phraseology. Compounds and
grammatical collocations are cases in point. This diIIiculty in establishing what
exactly Ialls under the umbrella oI phraseology is compounded by the Iact that
phraseology is a dynamic phenomenon, and displays both synchronic and diachronic
Although there is still some considerable discrepancy between linguists as regards
the terminology and typology oI word combinations and the limits oI phraseology
itselI, there is general agreement that phraseology constitutes a continuum along
which word combinations are situated, with the most opaque and Iixed ones at one
end and the most transparent and variable ones at the other (Cowie 1998: 4-7;
Howarth 1998: 168-171; Gross 1996: 78). One oI the main preoccupations oI
linguists working within this tradition has been to Iind linguistic criteria to
distinguish one type oI phraseological unit Irom another (e.g. collocations vs.
idioms or Iull idioms vs. semi-idioms) and especially to distinguish the most
variable and transparent multi-word units Irom Iree combinations, which only have
syntactic and semantic restrictions and are thereIore considered as Ialling outside the
realm oI phraseology (Cowie 1998: 6).
As Cowie (1998) points out, it is this approach, itselI greatly indebted to the
Russian tradition, which deserves much oI the credit Ior having established
phraseology as a discipline in its own right. It has provided linguists with a set oI
discrete criteria which can be used to categorize and analyze word combinations as
well as provide thorough descriptions oI phraseological units. At the same time
though, establishing non-compositionality and Iixedness as key indices oI
phraseology has placed Iocus Iirmly on units such as proverbs, idioms or phrasal
verbs to the detriment oI more variable combinations, which, because they are
considered less core`, tend to be dealt with less in reIerence and teaching tools, a
state oI aIIairs which is reIlected in the large number oI books devoted to idioms or
phrasal verbs currently on the market.
A more recent approach to phraseology, which originated with
Sinclair`s pioneering lexicographic work (Sinclair 1987) and is usually reIerred to as
the statistical or Irequency-based approach (esselhauI 2005), has turned
phraseology on its head. Instead oI resorting to a top-down approach which
identiIies phraseological units on the basis oI linguistic criteria, it uses a bottom-up
corpus-driven approach to identiIy lexical co-occurrences. This inductive approach
generates a wide range oI word combinations, which do not all Iit predeIined
linguistic categories (Moon 1998: 39). It has opened up a huge area oI syntagmatic
prospection (Sinclair 2004: 19) encompassing sequences like Irames and
colligations as well as institutionalized phrases, which are syntactically and
semantically compositional, but occur with markedly high Irequency (in a given
context) (Sag et al 2002). Such units, traditionally considered as peripheral or
Ialling outside the limits oI phraseology, have recently revealed themselves to be
pervasive in language, while many oI the most restricted units have proved to be
highly inIrequent.
nlike proponents oI the classical approach to phraseology, Sinclair and his
Iollowers are much less preoccupied with distinguishing between diIIerent
categories and subcategories oI word combinations or more generally, with setting
clear boundaries to phraseology. In Sinclair`s Iramework, phraseology is central:
phraseological items take precedence over lexical items. This radical view has been
criticized. Gaatone (1997: 168), Ior instance, welcomes the growing importance
attached to multi-word units but warns against considering everything as
phraseological. However, there is now some strong support Ior the ubiquity and
centrality oI phraseology, both Irom corpus-based linguistic studies and also Irom
recent psycholinguistic studies, such as Wray`s, which present holistic storage as the
deIault type oI processing.
Reconciling the two approaches
II phraseology is to be successIully integrated into both theoretical second
language acquisition (SLA) studies and pedagogical applications, the most
promising avenue would seem to be one that combines the beneIits oI the two
approaches: the Iine-grained linguistic analysis oI the traditional approach and the
heuristic value oI the statistical approach.
The traditional approach provides SLA researchers with a keener awareness oI the
diIIerent categories oI MWs. Current studies either make do with one overarching
notion oI Iormulaic sequence` or completely disregard the impact oI phraseology on
speakers` word knowledge scores. Fresh light would be shed on the results oI
Wolter`s (2002) study oI the syntagmatic vs. paradigmatic organization oI the L1
and L2 mental lexicon iI the phraseological proIile oI the prompt words was taken
into account.
The traditional approach also has much to contribute to pedagogical research as
diIIerent kinds oI MWs suggest diIIerent kinds oI learning (Grant Bauer
2004: 51). While it is neither realistic nor desirable to expect materials designers,
teachers and learners to master the Iull range oI Iine-grained categories and
subcategories oI MWs, all these groups would beneIit Irom a good understanding
oI the major categories and accessible terminology (Lewis 2000: 129-130).
This said, gaining a good grasp oI the contextual use oI words involves much more
than the traditional bona Iide categories oI multi-word units. In an applied
perspective, the Irequency-based approach has an undeniable advantage as it covers
the whole range oI co-occurrence patterns with no a priori exclusions. Even so-
called Iree combinations have a place. While they are oIten presented as predictable
and hence not worthy oI attention, they have been reinstated by recent studies oI
learner language which have shown that what is Ielt to be predictable by native
speakers oI the language may in Iact present problems Ior Ioreign learners (Lea
Runcie 2002: 823-824). esselhauI`s (2005) study oI combinations has
demonstrated that Iree combinations are not always used correctly by learners: she
identiIied an error rate that was lower than Ior collocations but by no means
negligible (17 vs. 25). The Irequency-based approach has also highlighted the
importance oI another category oI MW, what Biber (2004) calls lexical bundles`,
compositional recurrent sequences which he describes as the most important textual
building blocks used in spoken and written discourse. Similar studies based on
learner corpora oI academic writing (De Cock 2003 and this volume; Paquot 2005
and this volume; Flowerdew 1998 and 2003; Granger Paquot 2005) have shown
that it is precisely these building blocks which cause learners diIIiculty. It Iollows
that iI learners are to become more Iluent speakers and writers, these types oI unit
have to be included in any course or textbook alongside Iully-Iledged idioms and
other traditionally recognized units.
What we need then, is a combination oI the two approaches. While it is advisable
to start Irom a very wide notion oI phraseology, the Irequency-based inIormation
should be complemented with insights drawn Irom other disciplines as not all units
identiIied by quantitative methods are pedagogically valuable. Traditional
phraseological theory is essential here as it provides the necessary apparatus to break
down the statistical units into linguistically-deIined categories, an essential step
towards optimal pedagogical integration. In Iact, statistical multi-word units should
be viewed as raw material which needs to be reIined using a series oI Iilters:
linguistic (types oI MWs), cognitive (notions oI salience, animacy, etc.), cross-
linguistic (degree oI congruence with learner`s L1) and didactic (teaching objective).
The existence oI two widely diIIerent approaches to phraseology is an undeniable
asset Ior a Iield whose importance is now universally acknowledged. SLA
theoreticians and practitioners have all the necessary ingredients a solid theoretical
apparatus, large native and learner corpora and powerIul extraction tools - to
integrate phraseology more solidly into SLA theory and teaching practice. It is to be
hoped that they will avail themselves oI these resources so that phraseology can at
long last have the place it deserves in language education.
2. Set expressions, semi-fixed combinations and free phrases.
The term set expression is the most deIinite and the most suitable one in
comparison with phraseology and idiom and phrase, because the Iirst element
points out the most important characteristics oI these units, their stability and their
ready made nature.
Every utterance is a patterned, rhythmed, segmented sequence oI signals. On the
lexical level, these signals building up the utterance are not exclusively words.
Speakers may use larger blocks consisting oI more than one word but Iunctioning as
a whole. These set expressions are extremely variegated structurally, Iunctionally,
semantically and stylistically. To this type may be reIerred expressive
colloquialisms: a sight for sore eye, and also terms like: blank verse, direct object,
political cliches: round"table conference, summit meeting and emotionally and
stylistically neutral collocations: in front of, as well as, a great deal, give up, etc.
Even this list oI expressions illustrates that the number oI elements in set
expressions as well as their reIerence to diIIerent parts oI speech varies. Set
expressions are contrasted to Iree phrases and semi-Iixed combinations. All these are
but diIIerent stages oI restrictions imposed upon co-occurrence oI words. What is
oIten called idiom is nothing else but restrictions imposed upon the lexical Iilling oI
structural patterns which are speciIic Ior every language.
The restrictions may be independent on the ties existing in extra-linguistic
reality between the objects spoken oI and be conditioned by purely linguistic Iactors
or have extra-linguistic causes in the history oI the people. In Iree combinations the
linguistic Iactors are chieIly connected with grammatical properties oI words.
A Iree phrase permits substitution oI any oI its elements without semantic
change in the other element or elements. This substitution is never unlimited.
In semi-Iixed combinations we are not only able to say that such substitutes
exist, but Iix their boundaries by stating the semantic properties oI words that can be
used Ior substitution or even listing them. .g. the pattern consisting oI the verb go
Iollowed by a preposition and a noun with no article beIore it (go to school, go to
court) is used only with nouns oI place where deIinite actions or Iunctions are
II substitution is only pronominal or restricted to a Iew synonyms Ior one oI the
members only, or impossible, i.e. iI the elements oI the phrase are always the same
and make a Iixed context Ior each other the word-group is a set expression. o
substitution oI any elements is possible in the Iollowing unchangeable set
expressions, which diIIer in all other respects! red tape, first night, heads or tails, to
hope for the best, as busy as a bee, to and fro. o substitution is possible because
it would destroy the meaning oI the euphonic and expressive qualities oI the whole.
These set expressions are also interesting Irom the point oI view oI their
inIormational characteristics, i.e. the sum total oI inIormation contained in the word-
group is created by mutual interaction oI elements.
E.g. Heads or tails comes Irom the old custom oI deciding a dispute which oI
two possible alternatives shall be Iollowed by tossing a coin.
In a Iree phrase this correlation is diIIerent and each element has a much greater
semantic independence. Each component may be substituted without aIIecting the
meaning oI the other
E.g. to cut bread, to cut cheese, to eat bread.
II we take an expression to cut a poor figure practically no substitution is
possible here without ruining the meaning: E.g. I had an uneasy Iear that he might
cut a poor Iigure beside all these clever Russian oIIicers. He was not managing to
cut much oI a Iigure. the only substitution that is possible here concerns
adjectives: poor, much oI, bad. That is why it reIers to semi-Iixed combinations.
In the example cut no ice (to have no inIluence) no substitution is possible.
The give up type presents great interest Irom the phraseological viewpoint. An
almost unlimited number oI such units may be Iormed by the use oI the simpler verbs
combined with elements that have been treated as adverbs, preposition-li#e adverbs,
postposition of adverbial origin, postpositives, postpositive prefixes(
The verbs most Irequent in these units are: bear, blow, break, bring, call, take,
make turn, etc.
It is more common with the verbs denoting motion: go on, go by, go ahead, go
down etc.
Only combinations Iorming integral wholes, the meaning oI which is not readily
derived Irom the meaning oI the components, so that the lexical meaning oI one oI the
components is strongly inIluenced by the presence oI the other, are reIerred to set
3. Similarity and difference between a set expression and a word.
There is a necessity to distinguish between a set expression and a compound word.
One oI the criteria is the Iormal integrity oI words.
E.g. the word breakIast (it is a word because he breakIasts not breaks Iast)
It is impossible to distinguish all words on this basis. Some authors point out the
syntactic Iunction, but it is not speciIic Ior all set expressions.
Two types oI substitution tests can be useIul in showing the points oI similarity
and diIIerence between words and set expressions. In the Iirst procedure a whole set
expression is replaced within a context by a synonymous word in such a way that the
meaning oI the utterance remains unchanged, e.g. he was in a brown study he was
In the second type oI substitution test only an element oI the set expression is
replaced, e.g. as white as chalk as white as milk(snow). In this second type it is the
set expression that is retained, although its composition or reIerential meaning may
E.g. the set expression dead beat can be substituted by a single word e#hausted.
This possibility permits us to regard this set expression as a word equivalent. But
there are cases when substitution is not possible.
E.g. red tape can be substituted only by a Iree phrase rigid formality of official
The main point oI diIIerence between a word and a set expression is the divisibility
oI the latter into separately structured elements, which is contrasted to the structural
integrity oI words.
Although equivalent to words in being introduced into speech ready-made, a set
expression is diIIerent Irom them because it can be resolved into words whereas
words are resolved into morphemes. In compound words the process oI integration is
more advanced.
16. Set expressions.
1. Various approaches to the study of set expressions. The problem of
2. Structural classification of set expressions.
1. Various approaches to the study of set expressions. The problem of

Many various approaches have been used and yet the place oI set expressions
in the vocabulary and the boundaries oI this set is one oI the great controversial
issues oI present-day linguistics. English and American scholars treat set
expressions mostly as a problem oI applied linguistics, they have concentrated
their eIIorts on compiling dictionaries oI idiomatic phrases. Their object in so
doing is chieIly practical: they Iurnish anyone, native or Ioreigner, with a guide
to colloquial phrases, considering them an important characteristic Ieature oI
natural spoken English and stumbling block Ior Ioreigners. This approach is
partly didactical, partly stylistical.
Another important and so Iar unsolved problem is the question oI
classiIication. More o less detailed groupings are given by L.P.Smith and W.Ball.
et, even the authors themselves don`t claim that their groupings should be
regarded as classiIications. They just collect set expressions, explain them,
describe some oI their peculiarities, such as alliteration, rhyme, contrast and so
on, treating these as devices assuring expressiveness. They also show interest in
the origin and etymology oI English phrases and arrange them accordingly into
phrases Irom sea liIe, Irom agriculture, Irom hunting, Irom sports and so on.
The richness oI language material makes these practical manuals oI
everyday phrases very valuable Ior those interested in learning or teaching
English. Their theoretical aspirations are very modest.
Russian linguists FortunatovF.F., ShakhmatovA.A. and others paved the
way Ior serious syntactical analyses oI set expressions.
B.A.Larin`s approach is diachronistic. His classiIication reIlects three
consecutive stages a set expression passes through in its development: it
originates as a Iree combination, the second stage is a clearly motivated
stereotyped metaphorical phrase, the third stage is that oI an idiom with lost
motivation. The meaning oI the expression is not build up by the hearers Irom the
meaning oI its separate elements, but grasped as a whole.
The classiIication oI Academician .. inogradov is synchronistic.
According to him phraseological units were deIined as lexical complexes with
speciIic semantic Ieatures and accordingly classiIied. His classiIication is based
upon the motivation oI the unit, i.e. the relationship existing between the
meaning oI the whole and the meaning oI its component parts.
According to the type oI motivation and other Ieatures, three types oI
phraseological units are suggested: the phraseological fusions, phraseological
unities and phraseological combinations.
%he phraseological fusions represent the highest stage oI blending together.
The meaning oI the components is completely absorbed by the meaning oI the
whole. A typical example is: as mad as a hatter .
%he phraseological unities are much more numerous, they are clearly
motivated. The emotional quality is based upon the metaphorical image created
by the whole as in to stand (or stick&to one$s guns, i.e. to reIuse to change one`s
statements or opinions in the Iace oI opposition: implying courage and integrity.
(to know the way the wind blows)
'hraseological combinations are not only motivated but contain one
component used in its direct meaning, while the other is used metaphorically! to
meet the necessity, to meet the demand, to meet the re(uirements.
The weak points oI this classiIication are: 1. it is next to impossible to say
whether a set expression is demotivated Ior the speaker or not. 2. the group oI
phraseological unities is heterogeneous (he includes proverbs, two-member
technical terms showing no contextual change oI meaning). 3. the classiIication
lacks a general theoretical basis and being developed Ior the Russian phraseology
does not Iit the speciIically English Ieatures.
ProI. Smirnitsky considers a phraseological unit to be similar to the word
because oI the idiomatic relationship between its parts resulting in their semantic
unity and permitting its introduction into speech as something complete.
The diIIerence is structural. He suggests three classes oI stereotyped
phrases! traditional phrases the meaning does not correspond to one notion
and can be derived Irom the meaning oI the component parts! nice distinction, to
shrug one$s shoulders ) , phraseological combinations! to get up, to fall in
love, whose metaphorical motivation is Iaded, and which are emotionally and
stylistically neutral, very oIten constituting the only name Ior the respective
notion; and idiom imaginative, emotionally and stylistically coloured, always
having some neutral synonym: to wash one$s dirty linen in public, to fish in
troubled waters)
2. Structural classification of set expressions.
A set expression Iunctioning in speech is equivalent in distribution to deIinite
classes oI words or complete sentences. We can distinguish set expressions that
are nominal phrase: E.g. the root oI the trouble; verbal phrases: to take the bull
by the horns; adjectival phrases: as good as gold; adverbial phrases: Irom head
to heels; prepositional phrases: in the course oI* conjunctional phrases: as long
as .
Within every class, a Iurther subdivision is necessary.
1. Set expressions Iunctioning like nouns:
maiden name
`s Hobson`s choice
s` ladies` man ( one who makes special eIIort to charm women)
prep. the arm oI the low A knight errant (who protects
and lord and master (husband), all the world and his wiIe
A green room, high tea
subordinate clause ships that pass in the night (chance acquaintances)
2. Set expressions Iunctioning like verbs:
take advantage
postpositive give up
and pick and choose
(one`s)prep. snap one`s Iingers at
one give one the bird
sub. clause see how the land lies.
3. Set expressions Iunctioning like adjectives:
AandA high and mighty
(as)Aas -- as mad as a hatter
4. Set expressions Iunctioning like adverbs:
tooth and nail prep. oI course Advprep once in a blue
17. Proverbs, sayings, familiar quotations and clichs.
The place oI proverbs, sayings, Iamiliar quotations and cliches with respect
to set expressions is a controversial issue.
+ proverb is a short Iamiliar epigrammatic saying expressing popular
wisdom, a truth or moral lesson in a concise and imaginative way. Proverbs have
much in common with set expressions because their lexical components are also
constant, their meaning is traditional and mostly Iigurative, and they are
introduced into speech ready-made.
That is why some scholars Iollowing ..inogradov think proverbs must be
studied together with phraseological unities. Others, like ..Amosova, think
that unless they regularly Iorm parts oI other sentences it is erroneous to include
them into the system oI language because they are independent units oI
communication. . Amosova even thinks that there is no more reason to consider
them as part oI phraseology than, Ior instance, riddles and children`s counts. This
standpoint is hardly acceptable: riddles and counts are not as a rule included in
the utterances in the process oI communication whereas proverbs are.
Another reason why proverbs must be taken into consideration together
with set expressions is that they oIten Iorm the basis oI set expressions.
E.g. the last straw breaks the camel`s back: the last straw; the drowning man
will clutch at a straw: to clutch at a straw, etc.
Both set expressions and proverbs are sometimes split and changed Ior
humorous purposes, as in the Iollowing: All is not gold that glitters is
combined with an allusion to the set expression Golden Age It will be an
age not perhaps oI gold, but at least oI glitter.
Lexicology does not deal more Iully with the peculiarities oI proverbs, they
are studied by Iolklorists. But we con not avoid touching them upon.
,amiliar (uotations are diIIerent Irom proverbs in their origin. They come
Irom literature but by and by become part and parcel oI the language, so that
many people using them do not even know that they are quoting, and very Iew
can accurately name the play or passage on which they are drawing even iI they
are aware oI using a quotation Irom Shakespeare.
E.g. neasy lies the head that wears the crown(HenryI), Something
is rotten in the state oI Denmark(Hamlet) etc.
Pope: To err is human, At every word a reputation dies.
Some quotations are so oIten used that they come to be considered clich-s.
The term comes Irom the printing trade. The cliche ( the word is French) is a
metal block used Ior printing pictures and turning them out in great numbers. The
term is used to denote such phrases as have become hackneyed and stale. Being
constantly repeated they have lost their original expressiveness and so are better
avoided. The Iollowing are the most generally recognized: the acid test, ample
opportunities, astronomical Iigures, to break the ice, the irony oI Iate, tender
Thus, the subject is a highly complex one and it has been treated by
scholars in very diIIerent ways. Each approach and each classiIication have their
advantages and drawbacks. The choice one makes depends on the particular
problem one has in view, and even so there is much to be studied.
18. Local varieties of English on the British Isles
1. Groups of local dialects. British and American English.
2. Archaisms
3. Neologisms
1. Groups of local dialects. British and American English.
On the British Isles there are some local varieties oI English which developed
Irom Old English local dialects. There are six groups oI them: Lowland /Scottish/ ,
orthern, Western, Midland, Eastern, Southern. These varieties are used in oral
speech by the local population. Only the Scottish dialect has its own literature /R.
One oI the best known dialects oI British English is the dialect oI London -
Cockney. Some peculiarities oI this dialect can be seen in the Iirst act oI
Pigmalion by B. Shaw, such as : interchange oI /v/ and /w/ e.g. wery vell;
interchange oI /I/ and /0/ , /v/ and / /, e. g/ Iing /thing/ and Ia:ve / Iather/; interchange
oI /h/ and /-/ , e.g. `eart Ior heart and hart Ior art; substituting the
diphthong /ai/ by /ei/ e.g. day is pronounced /dai/; substituting /au/ by /a:/ , e.g.
house is pronounced /ha:s/,now /na:/ ; substituting /ou/ by /o:/ e.g. don`t is
pronounced /do:nt/ or substituting it by / / in unstressed positions, e.g. window is
pronounced /wind /.
Another Ieature oI Cockney is rhyming slang: hat is tit Ior tat, wiIe is
trouble and striIe, head is loaI oI bread etc. There are also such words as
tanner /sixpence/, peckish/hungry/. Peter Wain in the Education Guardian
writes about accents spoken by niversity teachers: It is a variety oI Southern
English RP which is diIIerent Irom Daniel ones`s description. The English, public
school leavers speak, is called marked RP, it has some characteristic Ieatures : the
vowels are more central than in English taught abroad, e.g. bleck het/Ior black
hat/, some diphthongs are also diIIerent, e.g. house is pronounced /hais/. There is
less aspiration in /p/, /b/, /t/ /d/.
The American English is practically uniIorm all over the country, because oI the
constant transIer oI people Irom one part oI the country to the other. However, some
peculiarities in ew ork dialect can be pointed out, such as: there is no distinction
between / / and /a: / in words: ask, dance sand bad, both phonemes are
possible. The combination ir in the words: bird, girl ear in the word
learn is pronoinced as /oi/ e.g. /boid/, /goil/, /loin/.In the words duty`, tune /j/
is not pronounced /du:ti/, /tu:n/.
British and American English are two main variants oI English. Besides them
there are : Canadian, Australian, Indian, ew ealand and other variants. They have
some peculiarities in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, but they are easily
used Ior communication between people living in these countries. As Iar as the
American English is concerned, some scientists /H.. Menken, Ior example/ tried to
prove that there is a separate American language. In 1919 H.. Menken published a
book called The American Language. But most scientists, American ones
including, criticized his point oI view because diIIerences between the two variants
are not systematic.
American English begins its history at the beginning oI the 17-th century when
Iirst English-speaking settlers began to settle on the Atlantic coast oI the American
continent. The language which they brought Irom England was the language spoken
in England during the reign oI Elizabeth the First.
In the earliest period the task oI Englishmen was to Iind names Ior places,
animals, plants, customs which they came across on the American continent. They
took some oI names Irom languages spoken by the local population - Indians, such
as :chipmuck/an American squirrel/, igloo /Escimo dome-shaped hut/,
skunk / a black and white striped animal with a bushy tail/, squaw / an Indian
woman/, wigwam /an American Indian tent made oI skins and bark/ etc.
Besides Englishmen, settlers Irom other countries came to America, and English-
speaking settlers mixed with them and borrowed some words Irom their languages,
e.g. Irom French the words bureau/a writing desk/, cache /a hiding place Ior
treasure, provision/, depot`/ a store-house/, pumpkin/a plant bearing large edible
Iruit/. From Spanish such words as: adobe / unburnt sun-dried brick/,
bananza /prosperity/, cockroach /a beetle-like insect/, lasso / a noosed rope
Ior catching cattle/ were borrowed.
Present-day ew ork stems Irom the Dutch colony ew Amsterdam, and Dutch
also inIluenced English. Such words as: boss, dope, sleigh were borrowed .
The second period oI American English history begins in the 19-th century.
Immigrants continued to come Irom Europe to America. When large groups oI
immigrants Irom the same country came to America some oI their words were
borrowed into English. Italians brought with them a style oI cooking which became
widely spread and such words as: pizza, spaghetti came into English. From the
great number oI German-speaking settlers the Iollowing words were borrowed into
English: delicatessen, lager, hamburger, noodle, schnitzel and many
During the second period oI American English history there appeared quite a
number oI words and word-groups which were Iormed in the language due to the
new poitical system, liberation oI America Irom the British colonialism, its
independence. The Iollowing lexical units appeared due to these events: the nited
States oI America , assembly, caucus, congress, Senate, congressman, President,
senator, precinct, ice-President and many others. Besides these political terms
many other words were coined in American English in the 19-th century: to
antagonize, to demoralize, inIluential, department store, telegram, telephone and
many others.
There are some diIIerences between British and American English in the usage
oI prepositions, such as prepositions with dates, days oI the week BE requres on /
I start my holiday on Friday/, in American English there is no preposition / I start my
vacation Friday/. In Be we use by day, by night/at night, in AE the
corresponding Iorms are days and nights. In BE we say at home , in AE -
home is used. In BE we say a quarter to Iive, in AE a quarter oI Iive. In BE
we say in the street, in AE - on the street. In BE we say to chat to somebody,
in AE to chat with somebody. In BE we say diIIerent to something, in AE -
diIIerent Irom someting.
There are also units oI vocabulary which are diIIerent while denoting the same
notions, e.g. BE - trousers, AE -pants; in BE pants are rpyc which in AE
is shorts. While in BE shorts are outwear. This can lead to misunderstanding.
There are some diIIerences in names oI places:
passage hall cross-roads intersection
pillar box mail-box the cinema the movies
studio, bed-sitter one-room appartment
Ilyover overpass zebra crossing Pxing
pavement sidewalk tube, uderground subway
tram streetcar Ilat apartment
surgery doctor`s oIIice liIt elevator
Some names oI useIul objects:
biro ballpoint rubber eraser
tap Iaucet torch Ilashlight
parcel package elastic rubber band
carrier bag shopping bag reel oI cotton spool oI thread
Some words connected with Iood:
tin can sweets candy
sweet biscuit cookie dry biscuit crackers
sweet dessert chips Irench Iries
minced meat ground beeI
Some words denoting personal items:
Iringe bangs/oI hair/ turn- ups cuIIs
tights pantyhose mackintosh raincoat
ladder run/in a stocking/ braces suspenders
poloneck turtleneck waistcoat vest
Some words denoting people:
barrister, lawyer, staII /university/ Iaculty
post-graduate graduate chap, Iellow guy
caretaker janitor constable patrolman
shopassistant shopperson bobby cop
II we speak about cars there are also some diIIerences:
boot trunk bumpers Ienders
a car, an auto, to hire a car to rent a car
DiIIerences in the organization oI education lead to diIIerent terms. BE public
school is in Iact a private school. It is a Iee-paying school not controlled by the
local education authorities. AE public school is a Iree local authority school. BE
elementary school is AE grade school BE secondary school is AE high
school. In BE a pupil leaves a secondary school, in AE a student graduates
Irom a high school In BE you can graduate Irom a university or college oI
education, graduating entails getting a degree.
A British university student takes three years known as the Iirst, the second and
the third years. An American student takes Iour years, known as Ireshman,
sophomore, junior and senior years. While studying a British student takes a main
and subsidiary subjects. An American student majors in a subject and also takes
electives. A British student specializes in one main subject, with one subsidiary to
get his honours degree. An American student earns credits Ior successIully
completing a number oI courses in studies, and has to reach the total oI 36 credits to
receive a degree.
DiIIerences oI spelling.
The reIorm in the English spelling Ior American English was introduced by the
Iamous American lexicographer oah Webster who published his Iirst dictionary in
1806. Those oI his proposals which were adopted in the English spelling are as
a) the delition oI the letter u in words ending in our, e.g. honor, Iavor;
b) the delition oI the second consonant in words with double consonants, e.g.
traveler, wagon,
c) the replacement oI re by er in words oI French origin, e.g. theater, center,
d) the delition oI unpronounced endings in words oI Romanic origin, e.g.
catalog, program,
e) the replacement oI ce by se in words oI Romanic origin, e.g. deIense,
c) delition oI unpronounced endings in native words, e.g. tho, thro.
DiIIerences in pronunciation
In American English we have r-coloured Iully articulated vowels, in the
combinations: ar, er, ir, or, ur, our etc. In BE the sound / / corresponds to the
AE //, e.g. not. In BE beIore Iricatives and combinations with Iricatives a
is pronounced as /a:/, in AE it is pronounced / / e.g. class, dance, answer, Iast etc.
There are some diIIerences in the position oI the stress:

add`ress adress la`boratory `laboratory
re`cess `recess re`search `research
in`quiry `inquiry ex`cess `excess
Some words in BE and AE have diIIerent pronunciation, e.g.
/`Iju:tail/ /`Iju:t l/ /`dousail / /dos l/
/kla:k/ /kl rk/ /`Iig / /Iigyer/
/ `le3 / / li:3 r/ /leI`ten nt/ /lu:tenant/
/ nai / /ni: r/ /shedju:l/ /skedyu:l/
But these diIIerences in pronunciation do not prevent Englishmen and American
Irom communicating with each other easily and cannot serve as a prooI that British
and American are diIIerent languages.
Words can be classiIied according to the period oI their liIe in the language. The
number oI new words in a language is always larger than the number oI words
which come out oI active usage. Accordingly we can have archaisms, that is words
which have come out oI active usage, and neologisms, that is words which have
recently appeared in the language.
2. Archaisms.
Archaisms are words which are no longer used in everyday speech, which have
been ousted by their synonyms. Archaisms remain in the language, but they are used
as stylistic devices to express solemnity.
Most oI these words are lexical archaisms and they are stylistic synonyms oI
words which ousted them Irom the neutral style. Some oI them are: steed /horse/,
slay /kill/, behold /see/, perchance /perhaps/, woe /sorrow/ etc.
Sometimes a lexical archaism begins a new liIe, getting a new meaning, then the
old meaning becomes a semantic archaism, e.g. Iair in the meaning beautiIul is
a semantic archaism, but in the meaning blond it belongs to the neutral style.
Sometimes the root oI the word remains and the aIIix is changed, then the old
aIIix is considered to be a morphemic archaism, e.g. beautious /ous was
substituted by Iul/, bepaint / be was dropped/, darksome /some was
dropped/, oIt / en was added/. etc.
3. Neologisms.
At the present moment English is developing very swiItly and there is so called
neology blowup. R. BerchIield who worked at compiling a Iour-volume
supplement to ED says that averagely 800 neologisms appear every year in
Modern English. It has also become a language-giver recently, especially with the
development oI computerization.
ew words, as a rule, appear in speech oI an individual person who wants to
express his idea in some original way. This person is called originater. ew
lexical units are primarily used by university teachers, newspaper reporters, by those
who are connected with mass media.
eologisms can develop in three main ways: a lexical unit existing in the
language can change its meaning to denote a new object or phenomenon. In such
cases we have semantic neologisms, e.g. the word umbrella developed the
meanings: nooe nppre, noruecoe nppre. A new lexical
unit can develop in the language to denote an object or phenomenon which already
has some lexical unit to denote it. In such cases we have transnomination, e.g. the
word slum was Iirst substituted by the word ghetto then by the word-group
inner town. A new lexical unit can be introduced to denote a new object or
phenomenon. In this case we have a proper neologism, many oI them are cases oI
new terminology.
Here we can point out several semantic groups when we analize the group oI
neologisms connected with computerization, and here we can mention words used:
a) to denote diIIerent types oI computers, e.g. PC, super-computer, multi-user,
neurocomputer / analogue oI a human brain/;
b) to denote parts oI computers, e.g. hardware, soItware, monitor, screen, data,
vapourware / experimental samples oI computers Ior exhibition, not Ior production/;
c) to denote computer languages, e.g. BASIC, Algol FORTRA etc;
d) to denote notions connected with work on computers, e.g. computerman,
computerization, computerize, to troubleshoot, to blitz out / to ruin data in a
computer`s memory/.
There are also diIIerent types oI activities perIormed with the help oI computers,
many oI them are Iormed with the help oI the morpheme tele, e.g. to telework, to
telecommute / to work at home having a computer which is connected with the
enterprise Ior which one works/. There are also such words as telebanking,
telemarketing, teleshopping / when you can perIorm diIIerent operations with the
help oI your computer without leaving your home, all operations are registered by
the computer at your bank/, videobank /computerized telephone which registers all
inIormation which is received in your absence/.
In the sphere oI lingusitics we have such neologisms as: machine translation,
interlingual / an artiIicial language Ior machine translation into several languages /
and many others.
In the sphere oI biometrics we have computerized machines which can recognize
characteristic Ieatures oI people seeking entrance : Iinger-print scanner / Iinger
prints/, biometric eye-scanner / blood-vessel arrangements in eyes/, voice
veriIication /voice patterns/. These are types oI biometric locks. Here we can also
mention computerized cards with the help oI which we can open the door without a
In the sphere oI medicine computors are also used and we have the Iollowing
neologisms: telemonitory unit / a telemonitory system Ior treating patience at a
With the development oI social activities neologisms appeared as well, e.g.
youthquake - noex cpe mooex, pussy-Iooter - nor, ym
omnpomc, Euromarket, Eurodollar, Europarliament, Europol etc.
In the modern English society there is a tendency to social stratiIication, as a
result there are neologisms in this sphere as well, e.g. belonger - npecrnret
cpeero cc, npnepxee ocepnrnx nsrxon. To this group we can
also reIer abbreviations oI the type yuppie /young urban proIessional people/, such
as: muppie, gruppie, rumpie, bluppie etc. People belonging to the lowest layer oI the
society are called survivers, a little bit more prosperous are called sustainers, and
those who try to prosper in liIe and imitate those, they want to belong to, are called
emulaters. Those who have prospered but are not belongers are called achievers. All
these layers oI socety are called AL /alue and LiIestyles/ .
The rich belong also to jet set that is those who can aIIord to travel by jet planes
all over the world enjoying their liIe. Sometimes they are called jet plane
During Margaret Thatcher`s rule the abbreviation PL appeared which means
People like us by which snobbistic circles oI society call themselves. owadays
/since 1989/ PL was substituted by one oI us.
There are a lot oI immigrants now in , in connection with which neologisms
partial and non-partial were Iormed /memme npno xrt n crpe ero
The word-group welIare mother was Iormed to denote a non-working single
mother living on beneIit.
In connection with criminalization oI towns in volantary groups oI assisting
the police were Iormed where dwellers oI the neighbourhood are joined. These
groups are called neighbourhood watch, home watch. Criminals wear stocking
masks not to be recognized.
The higher society has neologisms in their speech, such as : dial-a-meal, dial-a-
In the language oI teen-agers there are such words as : Drugs /O/, sweat /er
e cr/, task /home composition /, brunch etc.
With the development oI proIessional jargons a lot oI words ending in speak
appeared in English, e.g. artspeak, sportspeak, medspeak, education-speak, video-
speak, cable-speak etc.
There are diIIerent semantic groups oI neologisms belonging to everyday liIe:
a) Iood e.g. starter/ instead oI hors d`oevres/, macrobiotics / raw vegetables,
crude rice/ , longliIe milk, clingIilm, microwave stove, consumer electronics, Iridge-
Ireezer, hamburgers /beeI-, cheese-, Iish-, veg- /.
b) clothing, e.g. catsuit /one-piece clinging suit/, slimster , string / miniscule
bikini/, hipster / trousers or skirt with the belt on hips/, completenik / a long sweater
Ior trousers/, sweatnik /a long jacket/, pants-skirt, bloomers / lady`s sports trousers/.
c) Iootwear e.g. winklepickers /shoes with long pointed toes/, thongs /open
sandals/, backsters /beech sandals with thick soles/.
d) bags, e.g. bumbag /a small bag worn on the waist/, sling bag /a bag with a
long belt/, maitre / a small bag Ior cosmetics/.
There are also such words as : dangledolly / a dolly-talisman dangling in the car
beIore the windscreen/, boot-sale /selling Irom the boot oI the car/, touch-tone /a
telephone with press-button/.
eologisms can be also classiIied according to the ways they are Iormed. They
are subdivided into : phonological neologisms, borrowings, semantic neologisms
and syntactical neologisms. Syntactical neologisms are divided into
morphological /word-building/ and phraseological /Iorming word-groups/.
Phonological neologisms are Iormed by combining unique combinations oI
sounds, they are called artiIicial, e.g. rah-rah /a short skirt which is worn by girls
during parades/, yeck /yuck which are interjections to express repulsion
produced the adjective yucky/ yecky. These are strong neologisms.
Strong neologisms include also phonetic borrowings, such as perestroika
/Russian/, solidarnosc /Polish/, BeruIsverbot / German /, dolce vita /Italian/ etc.
Morphological and syntactical neologisms are usually built on patterns existing
in the language, thereIore they do not belong to the group oI strong neologisms.
Among morphological neologisms there are a lot oI compound words oI
diIIerent types, such as Iree-Iall-pesoe nee ypc appeared in 1987
with the stock market crash in October 1987 /on the analogy with Iree-Iall oI
parachutists, which is the period between jumping and opening the chute/. Here also
belong: call-and-recall - nson cncepsm, bioastronomy -search Ior liIe
on other planets, rat-out - betrayal in danger , zero-zero (double zero) - ban oI longer
and shorter range weapon, x-rated /about Iilms terribly vulgar and cruel/,
Ameringlish /American English/, tycoonography - a biography oI a business tycoon.
There are also abbreviations oI diIIerent types, such as resto, teen /teenager/,
dinky /dual income no kids yet/, ARC /AIDS-related condition, inIection with
AIDS/, HI / human immuno-deIiciency virus/.
uite a number oI neologisms appear on the analogy with lexical units existing
in the language, e.g. snowmobile /automobile/, danceaholic /alcoholic/, airtel /hotel/,
cheeseburger /hamburger/, autocade / cavalcade/.
There are many neologisms Iormed by means oI aIIixation, such as: decompress,
to disimprove, overhoused, educationalist, slimster, Iolknik etc. Phraseological
neologisms can be subdivided into phraseological units with transIerred meanings,
e.g. to buy into/ to become involved/, Iudge and dudge /avoidance oI deIinite
decisions/, and set non-idiomatic expressions, e.g. electronic virus, Rubic`s cube,
retail park, acid rain , boot trade etc.
Changes in pronunciation.
In Modern British English there is a tendency to change pronunciation oI some
sounds and combinations oI sounds due to the inIluence oI American English and
some other Iactors. These changes are most noticeable in the speech oI teachers and
students oI the universities in the Southern part oI England /OxIord, Cambridge,
There are the Iollowing changes in pronouncing vowels:
a) shortening oI long vowels, especially at the end oI the word and beIore
voiceless consonants, e.g. see, keep;
b) lengthening oI short vowels beIore voiced consonants, e.g. big, good, come,
jam etc. In such adjectives which end in /d/ lengthening oI the vowel is observed all
over England, e.g. bad, sad, glad, mad etc.
c) drawling oI stressed syllables and clipping oI unstressed syllables.
d) In unstressed syllables / / is pronounced instead oI / i /, e.g. /b `ko:z/, /`evid ns/
e) In the words consisting oI three or more syllables there is a tendency to have
two main stresses,e.g. /`nes `s ri/, /`int `restin/.
I) The diphthong /ou/ is pronounced / u/,e.g. home /h um/, go /g u/.
g) the diphthong / u / is pronounced /o:/, e.g. sure /sho:/.
owels can also change under the inIluence oI consonants:
a) aIter Iricatives and consonants /n/ and /m/ /ju:/ is pronounced as /u:/, e.g.
resume, music, news, enthusiasm.
b) beIore Iricatives and combinations oI Iricatives with consonants a is
pronounced as / /, e.g. dance, answer, class, Iast.
The pronunciation oI some consonants is also changed :
a) aIter a vowel /r/ is pronounced ,e.g. /ka:r/ , /ha:rt/.
b)There appears an intrusive /r/ in the combinations where aIter the Iinal
vowel / / there is a vowel at the beginning oI the next word, e.g. the idea oI, Asia and
Europe/ on the analogy with word combinations there is, there are/.
c) /p/ and /t/ are glotalized in the middle oI the word,e.g. matter is pronounced as
/`m /, happy as /`h i/.
d) /s/ is used instead oI /sh/ beIore /i/ in the structure oI suIIixes, e.g. social
/`sousi l/, negotiate / ni`gousi,eit/;
e) /l/ is vocalized at the end oI the word, e.g. Iull/ Iul/( close to /v/ in sound).
I) /sh/ is voiced in the intervocal position in some geographical names, e.g .
Asia, Persia;
g) combinations oI sounds /dj/, /tj/ , /sj/ in such words as duke, tube, issue have
two variants oI pronunciation: /d3u:k/ and /dju:k/, /chu:b/ and /tju:b/, /`ishu:/ and
g) pronunciation approaching spelling is being developed, e.g. oIten /`oItn/,
Iorehead / Io:`hed/ etc;
h) /t/ and/d/ at the end oI words are not pronounced, e.g. halI past Iive` /`ha:I
`pa:s`Iaiv/, old man /`oul `m n/.
19. Borrowings
1. Classification of borrowings according to the borrowed aspect
2. Classification of borrowings according to the degree of assimilation
3. Classification of borrowings according to the language from which they
were borrowed
4. Etymological doublets
1. Classification of borrowings according to the borrowed aspect

Borrowing words Irom other languages is characteristic oI English throughout
its history. More than two thirds oI the English vocabulary are borrowings. Mostly
they are words oI Romanic origin (Latin, French, Italian, Spanish). Borrowed words
are diIIerent Irom native ones by their phonetic structure, by their morphological
structure and also by their grammatical Iorms. It is also characterisitic oI borrowings
to be non-motivated semantically.
English history is very rich in diIIerent types oI contacts with other countries,
that is why it is very rich in borrowings. The Roman invasion, the adoption oI
Cristianity, Scandinavian and orman conquests oI the British Isles, the
development oI British colonialism and trade and cultural relations served to
increase immensely the English vocabulary. The majority oI these borrowings are
Iully assimilated in English in their pronunciation, grammar, spelling and can be
hardly distinguished Irom native words.
English continues to take in Ioreign words , but now the quantity oI borrowings
is not so abundunt as it was beIore. All the more so, English now has become a
giving language, it has become Lingva Iranca oI the twentieth century.
Borrowings can be classiIied according to diIIerent criteria:
a) according to the aspect which is borrowed,
b) according to the degree oI assimilation,
c) according to the language Irom which the word was borrowed.
(In this classiIication only the main languages Irom which words were borrowed
into English are described, such as Latin, French, Italian. Spanish, German and
There are the Iollowing groups: phonetic borrowings, translation loans, semantic
borrowings, morphemic borrowings.
Phonetic borrowings are most characteristic in all languages, they are called loan
words proper. Words are borrowed with their spelling, pronunciation and meaning.
Then they undergo assimilation, each sound in the borrowed word is substituted by
the corresponding sound oI the borrowing language. In some cases the spelling is
changed. The structure oI the word can also be changed. The position oI the stress is
very oIten inIluenced by the phonetic system oI the borrowing language. The
paradigm oI the word, and sometimes the meaning oI the borrowed word are also
changed. Such words as: labour, travel, table, chair, people are phonetic borrowings
Irom French; apparatchik, nomenklatura, sputnik are phonetic borrowings Irom
Russian; bank, soprano, duet are phonetic borrowings Irom Italian etc.
Translation loans are word-Ior-word (or morpheme-Ior-morpheme ) translations
oI some Ioreign words or expressions. In such cases the notion is borrowed Irom a
Ioreign language but it is expressed by native lexical units, to take the bull by the
horns (Latin), Iair sex ( French), living space (German) etc. Some translation
loans appeared in English Irom Latin already in the Old English period, e.g. Sunday
(solis dies). There are translation loans Irom the languages oI Indians, such as: pipe
oI peace, pale-Iaced, Irom German masterpiece, homesickness,
Semantic borrowings are such units when a new meaning oI the unit existing in
the language is borrowed. It can happen when we have two relative languages which
have common words with diIIerent meanings, e.g. there are semantic borrowings
between Scandinavian and English, such as the meaning to live Ior the word to
dwell` which in Old English had the meaning to wander. Or else the meaning
p , nopo Ior the word giIt which in Old English had the meaning
nyn s xey.
Semantic borrowing can appear when an English word was borrowed into some
other language, developed there a new meaning and this new meaning was borrowed
back into English, e.g. brigade was borrowed into Russian and Iormed the
meaning a working collective,pr. This meaning was borrowed back into
English as a Russian borrowing. The same is true oI the English word pioneer.
Morphemic borrowings are borrowings oI aIIixes which occur in the language
when many words with identical aIIixes are borrowed Irom one language into
another, so that the morphemic structure oI borrowed words becomes Iamiliar to the
people speaking the borrowing language, e.g. we can Iind a lot oI Romanic aIIixes in
the English word-building system, that is why there are a lot oI words - hybrids in
English where diIIerent morphemes have diIIerent origin, e.g. goddess,
beautiIul etc.
2. Classification of borrowings according to the degree of assimilation
The degree oI assimilation oI borrowings depends on the Iollowing Iactors: a)
Irom what group oI languages the word was borrowed, iI the word belongs to the
same group oI languages to which the borrowing language belongs it is assimilated
easier, b) in what way the word is borrowed: orally or in the written Iorm, words
borrowed orally are assimilated quicker, c) how oIten the borrowing is used in the
language, the greater the Irequency oI its usage, the quicker it is assimilated, d) how
long the word lives in the language, the longer it lives, the more assimilated it is.
Accordingly borrowings are subdivided into: completely assimilated, partly
assimilated and non-assimilated (barbarisms).
Completely assimilated borrowings are not Ielt as Ioreign words in the language,
cI the French word sport and the native word start. Completely assimilated
verbs belong to regular verbs, e.g. correct -corrected. Completely assimilated nouns
Iorm their plural by means oI s-inIlexion, e.g. gate- gates. In completely assimilated
French words the stress has been shiIted Irom the last syllable to the last but one.
Semantic assimilation oI borrowed words depends on the words existing in the
borrowing language, as a rule, a borrowed word does not bring all its meanings into
the borrowing language, iI it is polysemantic, e.g. the Russian borrowing sputnik
is used in English only in one oI its meanings.
Partly assimilated borrowings are subdivided into the Iollowing groups: a)
borrowings non-assimilated semantically, because they denote objects and notions
peculiar to the country Irom the language oI which they were borrowed, e.g. sari,
sombrero, taiga, kvass etc.
b) borrowings non-assimilated grammatically, e.g. nouns borrowed Irom Latin
and Greek retain their plural Iorms (bacillus - bacilli, phenomenon - phenomena,
datum -data, genius - genii etc.
c) borrowings non-assimilated phonetically. Here belong words with the initial
sounds /v/ and /z/, e.g. voice, zero. In native words these voiced consonants are used
only in the intervocal position as allophones oI sounds /I/ and /s/ ( loss - lose, liIe -
live ). Some Scandinavian borrowings have consonants and combinations oI
consonants which were not palatalized, e.g. /sk/ in the words: sky, skate, ski etc (in
native words we have the palatalized sounds denoted by the digraph sh, e.g. shirt);
sounds /k/ and /g/ beIore Iront vowels are not palatalized e.g. girl, get, give, kid, kill,
kettle. In native words we have palatalization , e.g. German, child.
Some French borrowings have retained their stress on the last syllable, e.g.
police, cartoon. Some French borrowings retain special combinations oI sounds, e.g.
/a:3/ in the words : camouIlage, bourgeois, some oI them retain the combination oI
sounds /wa:/ in the words: memoir, boulevard.
d) borrowings can be partly assimilated graphically, e.g. in Greak borrowings
y can be spelled in the middle oI the word (symbol, synonym), ph denotes the
sound /I/ (phoneme, morpheme), ch denotes the sound /k/(chemistry, chaos),ps
denotes the sound /s/ (psychology).
Latin borrowings retain their polisyllabic structure, have double consonants, as a
rule, the Iinal consonant oI the preIix is assimilated with the initial consonant oI the
stem, (accompany, aIIirmative).
French borrowings which came into English aIter 1650 retain their spelling, e.g.
consonants p, t, s are not pronounced at the end oI the word (buIIet, coup,
debris), SpeciIically French combination oI letters eau /ou/ can be Iound in the
borrowings : beau, chateau, troussaeu. Some oI digraphs retain their French
pronunciation: ch` is pronounced as /sh/, e.g. chic, parachute, qu` is pronounced
as /k/ e.g. bouquet, ou is pronounced as /u:/, e.g. rouge; some letters retain their
French pronunciation, e.g. i is pronounced as /i:/, e,g, chic, machine; g is
pronounced as /3/, e.g. rouge.
Modern German borrowings also have some peculiarities in their spelling:
common nouns are spelled with a capital letter e.g. Autobahn, Lebensraum; some
vowels and digraphs retain their German pronunciation, e.g. a is pronounced as
/a:/ (Dictat), u is pronounced as /u:/ (uchen), au is pronounced as /au/
(HausIrau), ei is pronounced as /ai/ (Reich); some consonants are also pronounced
in the German way, e.g. s beIore a vowel is pronounced as /z/ (Sitskrieg), v is
pronounced as /I/ (olkswagen), w is pronounced as /v/ , ch is pronounced as
/h/ (uchen).
on-assimilated borrowings (barbarisms) are borrowings which are used by
Englishmen rather seldom and are non-assimilated, e.g. addio (Italian), tete-a-tete
(French), dolce vita (Italian), duende (Spanish), an homme a Iemme (French), gonzo
(Italian) etc.
3. Classification of borrowings according to the language from which they
were borrowed.
Romanic borrowings
Latin borrowings.
Among words oI Romanic origin borrowed Irom Latin during the period when
the British Isles were a part oI the Roman Empire, there are such words as: street,
port, wall etc. Many Latin and Greek words came into English during the Adoption
oI Christianity in the 6-th century. At this time the Latin alphabet was borrowed
which ousted the Runic alphabet. These borrowings are usually called classical
borrowings. Here belong Latin words: alter, cross, dean, and Greek words: church,
angel, devil, anthem.
Latin and Greek borrowings appeared in English during the Middle English
period due to the Great Revival oI Learning. These are mostly scientiIic words
because Latin was the language oI science at the time. These words were not used as
Irequently as the words oI the Old English period, thereIore some oI them were
partly assimilated grammatically, e.g. Iormula - Iormulae. Here also belong such
words as: memorandum, minimum, maximum, veto etc.
Classical borrowings continue to appear in Modern English as well. Mostly they
are words Iormed with the help oI Latin and Greek morphemes. There are quite a lot
oI them in medicine (appendicitis, aspirin), in chemistry (acid, valency, alkali), in
technique (engine, antenna, biplane, airdrome), in politics (socialism, militarism),
names oI sciences (zoology, physics) . In philology most oI terms are oI Greek
origin (homonym, archaism, lexicography).
French borrowings
The influence of French on the English spelling.
The largest group oI borrowings are French borrowings. Most oI them came into
English during the orman conquest. French inIluenced not only the vocabulary oI
English but also its spelling, because documents were written by French scribes as
the local population was mainly illiterate, and the ruling class was French. Runic
letters remaining in English aIter the Latin alphabet was borrowed were substituted
by Latin letters and combinations oI letters, e.g. v was introduced Ior the voiced
consonant /v/ instead oI I in the intervocal position /luIian - love/, the digraph
ch was introduced to denote the sound /ch/ instead oI the letter c / chest/ beIore
Iront vowels where it had been palatalized, the digraph sh was introduced instead
oI the combination sc to denote the sound /sh/ /ship/, the digraph th was
introduced instead oI the Runic letters 0 and /this, thing/, the letter y was
introduced instead oI the Runic letter 3 to denote the sound /j/ /yet/, the digraph
qu substituted the combination cw to denote the combination oI sounds /kw/
/queen/, the digraph ou was introduced to denote the sound /u:/ /house/ (The
sound /u:/ was later on diphthongized and is pronounced /au/ in native words and
Iully assimilated borrowings). As it was diIIicult Ior French scribes to copy English
texts they substituted the letter u beIore v, m, n and the digraph th by
the letter o to escape the combination oI many vertical lines /sunu - son,
luvu - love/.
Borrowing oI French words.
There are the Iollowing semantic groups oI French borrowings:
a) words relating to government : administer, empire, state, government;
b) words relating to military aIIairs: army, war, banner, soldier, battle;
c) words relating to jury: advocate, petition, inquest, sentence, barrister;
d) words relating to Iashion: luxury, coat, collar, lace, pleat, embroidery;
e) words relating to jewelry: topaz, emerald, ruby, pearl ;
I) words relating to Iood and cooking: lunch, dinner, appetite, to roast, to stew.
Words were borrowed Irom French into English aIter 1650, mainly through
French literature, but they were not as numerous and many oI them are not
completely assimilated. There are the Iollowing semantic groups oI these
a) words relating to literature and music: belle-lettres, conservatorie, brochure,
nuance, piruette, vaudeville;
b) words relating to military aIIairs: corps, echelon, Iuselage, manouvre;
c) words relating to buildings and Iurniture: entresol, chateau, bureau;
d) words relating to Iood and cooking: ragout, cuisine.
Italian borrowings.
Cultural and trade relations between Italy and England brought many Italian
words into English. The earliest Italian borrowing came into English in the 14-th
century, it was the word bank /Irom the Italian banko - bench/. Italian
money-lenders and money-changers sat in the streets on benches. When they
suIIered losses they turned over their benches, it was called banco rotta Irom
which the English word bankrupt originated. In the 17-th century some geological
terms were borrowed : volcano, granite, bronze, lava. At the same time some
political terms were borrowed: maniIesto, bulletin.
But mostly Italian is Iamous by its inIluence in music and in all Indo-European
languages musical terms were borrowed Irom Italian : alto, baritone, basso, tenor,
Ialsetto, solo, duet, trio, quartet, quintet, opera, operette, libretto, piano, violin.
Among the 20-th century Italian borrowings we can mention : gazette,
incognitto, autostrada, Iiasco, Iascist, diletante, grotesque, graIIitto etc.
Spanish borrowings.
Spanish borrowings came into English mainly through its American variant.
There are the Iollowing semantic groups oI them:
a) trade terms: cargo, embargo;
b) names oI dances and musical instruments: tango, rumba, habanera, guitar;
c) names oI vegetables and Iruit: tomato, potato, tobbaco, cocoa, banana, ananas,
apricot etc.
Germanic borrowings
English belongs to the Germanic group oI languages and there are borrowings
Irom Scandinavian, German and Holland languages, though their number is much
less than borrowings Irom Romanic languages.
Scandinavian borrowings.
By the end oI the Old English period English underwent a strong inIluence oI
Scandinavian due to the Scandinavian conquest oI the British Isles. Scandinavians
belonged to the same group oI peoples as Englishmen and their languages had much
in common. As the result oI this conquest there are about 700 borrowings Irom
Scandinavian into English.
Scandinavians and Englishmen had the same way oI liIe,their cultural level was
the same, they had much in common in their literature thereIore there were many
words in these languages which were almost identical, e.g.
O OE Modern E
syster sweoster sister
Iiscr Iisc Iish
Ielagi Ielawe Iellow
However there were also many words in the two languages which were diIIerent,
and some oI them were borrowed into English , such nouns as: bull, cake, egg, kid,
kniIe, skirt, window etc, such adjectives as: Ilat, ill, happy, low, odd, ugly, wrong,
such verbs as : call, die, guess, get, give, scream and many others.
Even some pronouns and connective words were borrowed which happens very
seldom, such as : same, both, till, Iro, though, and pronominal Iorms with th: they,
them, their. Scandinavian inIluenced the development oI phrasal verbs which did not
exist in Old English, at the same time some preIixed verbs came out oI usage, e.g.
oIniman, beniman. Phrasal verbs are now highly productive in English /take oII,
give in etc/.
German borrowings.
There are some 800 words borrowed Irom German into English. Some oI them
have classical roots, e.g. in some geological terms, such as: cobalt, bismuth, zink,
quarts, gneiss, wolIram. There were also words denoting objects used in everyday
liIe which were borrowed Irom German: iceberg, lobby, rucksack, indergarten etc.
In the period oI the Second World War the Iollowing words were borrowed:
olkssturm, LuItwaIIe, SS-man, Bundeswehr, gestapo, gas chamber and many
others. AIter the Second World War the Iollowing words were borrowed:
BeruIsverbot, olkswagen etc.
Holland borrowings.
Holland and England have constant interrelations Ior many centuries and more
than 2000 Holland borrowings were borrowed into English. Most oI them are
nautical terms and were mainly borrowed in the 14-th century, such as: Ireight,
skipper, pump, keel, dock, reeI, deck, leak and many others.
Besides two main groups oI borrowings (Romanic and Germanic) there are also
borrowings Irom a lot oI other languages. We shall speak about Russian borrowings,
borrowings Irom the language which belongs to Slavoninc languages.
Russian borrowings.
There were constant contacts between England and Russia and they borrowed
words Irom one language into the other. Among early Russian borrowings there are
mainly words connected with trade relations, such as: rouble, copeck, pood, sterlet,
vodka, sable, and also words relating to nature, such as: taiga, tundra, steppe etc.
There is also a large group oI Russian borrowings which came into English
through Rushian literature oI the 19-th century, such as : arodnik, moujik, duma,
zemstvo. volost, ukase etc, and also words which were Iormed in Russian with Latin
roots, such as: nihilist, intelligenzia, Decembrist etc.
AIter the Great October Revolution many new words appeared in Russian
connected with the new political system, new culture, and many oI them were
borrowed into English, such as: collectivization. udarnik, omsomol etc and also
translation loans, such as: shock worker, collective Iarm, Iive-year plan etc.
One more group oI Russian borrowings is connected with perestroika, such as:
glasnost, nomenklatura, apparatchik etc.
4. Etymological doublets.
Sometimes a word is borrowed twice Irom the same language. As the result, we
have two diIIerent words with diIIerent spellings and meanings but historically they
come back to one and the same word. Such words are called etymological doublets.
In English there are some groups oI them:
Latino-French doublets.
Latin English Irom Latin English Irom French
uncia inch ounce
moneta mint money
camera camera chamber
Franco-French doublets
doublets borrowed Irom diIIerent dialects oI French.
orman Paris
canal channel
captain chieItain
catch chaise
Scandinavian-English doublets
Scandinavian English
skirt shirt
scabby shabby
There are also etymological doublets which were borrowed Irom the same
language during diIIerent historical periods, such as French doublets: gentil -
mes, ropo, etymological doublets are: gentle - mxr, nexn
and genteel - ropo. From the French word gallant etymological doublets are
: gallant - xpp and ga`llant - rr, nmret.
Sometimes etymological doublets are the result oI borrowing diIIerent
grammatical Iorms oI the same word, e.g. the Comparative degree oI Latin super
was superior which was borrowed into English with the meaning high in some
quality or rank. The Superlative degree (Latin supremus)in English supreme
with the meaning outstanding, prominent. So superior and supreme are
etymological doublets.
20. Lexicography
1. The object of study of Lexicography.
2. Classification of dictionaries.
1. The object of study of Lexicography.
The theory and practice oI compiling dictionaries is called lexicography. The
history oI compiling dictionaries Ior English comes as Iar back as the Old English
period, where we can Iind glosses oI religious books / interlinear translations Irom
Latin into English/. Regular bilingual dictionaries began to appear in the 15-th
century /Anglo-Latin, Anglo-French , Anglo-German/.
The Iirst unilingual dictionary explaining diIIicult words appeared in 1604, the
author was Robert Cawdry, a schoolmaster. He compiled his dictionary Ior
schoolchildren. In 1721 an English scientist and writer athan Bailey published the
Iirst etymological dictionary which explained the origin oI English words. It was the
Iirst scientiIic dictionary, it was compiled Ior philologists.
In 1775 an English scientist compiled a Iamous explanatory dictionary. Its author
was Samuel ohnson. Every word in his dictionary was illustrated by examples Irom
English literature, the meanings oI words were clear Irom the contexts in which they
were used The dictionary was a great success and it inIluenced the development oI
lexicography in all countries. The dictionary inIluenced normalization oI the English
vocabulary. But at the same time it helped to preserve the English spelling in its
conservative Iorm.
In 1858 one oI the members oI the English philological society Dr. Trench raised
the question oI compiling a dictionary including all the words existing in the
language. The philological society adopted the decision to compile the dictionary
and the work started. More than a thousand people took part in collecting examples,
and 26 years later in 1884 the Iirst volume was published. It contained words
beginning with A and B. The last volume was published in 1928 that is 70
years aIter the decision to compile it was adopted. The dictionary was called ED
and contained 12 volumes.
In 1933 the dictionary was republished under the title The OxIord English
Dictionary, because the work on the dictionary was conducted in OxIord. This
dictionary contained 13 volumes. As the dictionary was very large and terribly
expensive scientists continued their work and compiled shorter editions oI the
dictionary: A Shorter OxIord Dictionary consisting oI two volumes. It had the
same number oI entries, but Iar less examples Irom literature. They also compiled
A Concise OxIord Dictionary consisting oI one volume and including only
modern words and no examples Irom literature.
The American lexicography began to develop much later, at the end oI the 18-th
century. The most Iamous American English dictionary was compiled by oah
Webster. He was an active stateman and public man and he published his Iirst
dictionary in 1806. He went on with his work on the dictionary and in 1828 he
published a two-volume dictionary. He tried to simpliIy the English spelling and
transcription. He introduced the alphabetical system oI transcription where he used
letters and combinations oI letters instead oI transcription signs. He denoted vowels
in closed syllables by the corresponding vowels, e.g. / a/, /e/, / i/, / o/, /u/. He
denoted vowels in the open syllable by the same letters, but with a dash above
them,e.g. / a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/. He denoted vowels in the position beIore /r/ as the
same letters with two dots above them, e.g. / a/, /o/ and by the l etter e with two
dots above it Ior the combinations er, ir, ur because they are pronounced
identically. The same tendency is preserved Ior other sounds : /u:/ is denoted by /oo/,
/y/ is used Ior the sound /j/ etc.
2. Classification of dictionaries
All dictionaries are divided into linguistic and encyclopedic dictionaries.
Encyclopedic dictionaries describe diIIerent objects, phenomena, people and give
some data about them. Linguistic dictionaries describe vocabulary units, their
semantic structure, their origin, their usage. Words are usually given in the
alphabetical order.
Linguistic dictionaries are divided into general and specialized . To general
dictionries two most widely used dictionaries belong: explanatory and translation
dictionaries. Specialized dictionaries include dictionaries oI synonyms, antonyms,
collocations, word-Irequency, neologisms, slang, pronouncing, etymological,
phraseological and others.
All types oI dictionaries can be unilingual ( excepting translation ones) iI the
explanation is given in the same language, bilingual iI the explanation is given in
another language and also they can be polilingual.
There are a lot oI explanatory dictionaries (ED, SOD, COD, ID, .G. Wyld`s
niversal Dictionary and others). In explanatory dictionaries the entry consists oI
the spelling, transcription, grammatical Iorms, meanings, examples, phraseology.
Pronunciation is given either by means oI the International Transcription System or
in British Phonetic otation which is diIIerent in each large dictionary, e.g. /o:/ can
be indicated as / aw/, /or/, /oh/, /o/. etc.
Translation dictionaries give words and their equivalents in the other language.
There are English-Russian dictionaries by I.R. Galperin, by .Apresyan and others.
Among general dictionaries we can also mention Learner`s dictionaries. They began
to appear in the second halI oI the 20-th century. The most Iamous is The
Advanced Learner`s Dictionary by A.S. Hornby. It is a unilingual dictionary based
on COD, Ior advanced Ioreign learners and language teachers. It gives data about
grammatical and lexical valency oI words. Specialized dictionaries oI synonyms are
also widely used, one oI them is A Dictionary oI English Synonyms and
Synonymous Expressions by R.Soule. Another Iamous one is Webster`s
Dictionary oI Synonyms. These are unilingual dictionaries. The best known
bilingual dictionary oI synonyms is English Synonyms compiled by . Apresyan.
In 1981 The Longman Lexicon oI Contemporary English was compiled,
where words are given in 14 semantic groups oI everyday nature. Each word is
deIined in detail, its usage is explained and illustrated, synonyms, antonyms are
presented also. It describes 15000 items, and can be reIerred to dictionaries oI
synonyms and to explanatory dictionaries.
Phraseological dictionaries describe idioms and colloquial phrases, proverbs.
Some oI them have examples Irom literature. Some lexicographers include not only
word-groups but also anomalies among words. In The OxIord Dicionary oI English
Proverbs each proverb is illustrated by a lot oI examples, there are stylistic
reIerences as well. The dictionary by izetelli gives deIinitions and illustrations, but
diIIerent meanings oI polisemantic units are not given. The most Iamous bilingual
dictionary oI phraseology was compiled by A.. oonin. It is one oI the best
phraseological dictionaries.
Etymological dictionaries trace present-day words to the oldest Iorms oI these
words and Iorms oI these words in other languages. One oI the best etymological
dictionaries was compiled by W. Skeat.
Pronouncing dictionaries record only pronunciation. The most Iamous is D.
ones` s Pronouncing Dictionary.
Dictionaries oI neologisms are : a Iour-volume Supplement to ED by
BurchIield, The Longman Register oI ew Words/1990/, Bloomsury Dictionary
oI ew Words /1996/.
It is commonly recognised that acquaintance with at least some oI the currently
used procedures oI linguistic investigation is oI considerable importance both Ior
language learners and Ior prospective teachers as it gives them the possibility to
observe how linguists obtain answers to certain questions and is oI help in the
preparation oI teaching material. It also helps language learners to become good
observers oI how language works and this is the only lasting way to become better
users oI language.
The process oI scientiIic investigation may be subdivided into several stages. O b s e
r v a t i o n is an early and basic, phase oI all modern scientiIic investigation,
including linguistic, and is the centre oI what is called the inductive method oI
The cardinal role oI all inductive procedures is that statements oI Iact must be based
on o b s e r v a t i o n , not on unsupported authority, logical conclusions or personal
preIerences. Besides, linguists as a rule largely conIine themselves to making Iactual
statements, i.e. statements capable oI objective veriIication. In other words a linguist
assumes that a question cannot be answered unless there are procedures by which
reliable and veriIiable answers can be obtained.
The next stage aIter observation is c l a s s i I i c a t i o n or orderly arrangement oI
the data obtained through observation. For example, it is observed that in English
nouns the suIIixal morpheme -er is added to verbal stems (speak -er, writ(e) -er,
etc.), noun stem`s (village -er, London -er, etc.), and that -er also occurs in non-
derived words such as mother, Iather, etc. Accordingly all the nouns in -er may be
classiIied into two types derived and simple words and the derived words may be
subdivided into two groups according to their stems. It should be pointed out that at
this stage the application oI diIIerent methods oI analysis is common practice.
The Iollowing stage is usually that oI g e n e r a l i s a t i o n , i.e. the collection oI
data and their orderly arrangement must eventually lead to the Iormulation oI a
generalisation or hypothesis, rule, or law. In our case we can Iormulate a rule that
derived nouns in -er may have either verbal or noun stems. The suIIix -er in
combination with adjectival or adverbial stems cannot Iorm nouns (cI. (to) dig
digger but big bigger).
Moreover, the diIIerence in the meaning oI the suIIixal nouns observed by the
linguist allows him to inIer that iI -er is added to verbal stems, the nouns thus
Iormed denote an active doer teacher, learner, etc., whereas when the suIIix -er is
combined with noun-stems the words denote residents oI a place or proIession (e.g.
villager, Londoner).
One oI the Iundamental tests oI the validity oI a generalisation is whether or not the
generalisation is useIul in making reliable p r e d i c t i o n s . For example,
proceeding Irom the observation and generalization discussed above we may
predict` with a considerable degree oI certainty that iI a new word with a suIIix -er
appears in modern English and the suIIix is added to a verbal stem, the word is a
noun denoting an active doer (cI., e.g., the new words oI the type (moon-)cra%ler,
(moon-)%al#er (lunar-)rouer which appeared when the Soviet moon car was
Moreover we may predict iI we make use oI statistical analysis that such words are
more likely to be coined than the other types oI nouns with the -er suIIix.
Any linguistic generalisation is to be Iollowed by the v e r i I y i n g p r o c e s s .
Stated, simply, the linguist is required, as are other scientists, to seek veriIication oI
the generalisations that are the result oI his inquiries. Here too, various procedures
oI linguistic analysis are commonly applied.
It may be inIerred Irom the above that acquaintance with at least some oI the
methods oI lexicological investigation, is essential Ior classiIication, generalisation
and above all Ior the veriIication oI the hypothesis resulting Irom initial observation.
We may also assume that application oI various methods oI analysis should be an
essential part oI the learning process and consequently oI teacher`s training.
The methods and procedures brieIly discussed below are as Iollows:
1. Contrastive analysis, 2. Statistical methods oI analysis. 3. Immediate Constituents
analysis, 4 Distributional analysis and co-occurrence, 5. TransIormational analysis,
6. Componental analysis, 7. Method oI semantic diIIerential.
All methods oI linguistic analysis are traditionally subdivided into Iormalised and
non-Iormalised procedures. It is common knowledge that Iormalised methods oI
analysis proved to be in many cases inapplicable to natural languages and did not
yield the desired results, nevertheless iI not theoretical tenets at least some
procedures oI these methods oI analysis have been used by linguists oI diIIerent
schools oI thought and have become part oI modern linguists` equipment.
aturally, the selection oI this or that particular procedure largely depends on the
goal set beIore the investigator.
I I , e.g., the linguist wishes to Iind out the derivational structure oI the lexical unit
he is likely to make use oI the 1 analysis and/or the transIormational analysis. II
the semantic structure oI two correlated words is compared, componental analysis
will probably be applied. Some oI the methods oI lexicological analysis are oI
primary importance Ior teachers oI English and are widely used in the preparation oI
teaching material, some are oI lesser importance. The comparative value oI
individual methods Ior practicing teachers and also the interconnecttion oI some oI
the procedures determined the order oI their presentation. The Iirst method discussed
here is that oI c o n t r a s t i v e a n a l y s i s as we consider it indispensable in
teaching English as a Ioreign language. This is Iollowed by a brieI survey oI s t a t i
s t i c a l m e t h o d s oI a n a l y s i s as quant itative eva luation is usually an
essential part oI any linguistic procedure. The so-called Iormalised methods oI
analysis the IC a n a l y s i s , d i s t r i b u t i o n a l a n d t r a n s I o r m a t i o n
a l p r o c e d u r e s precede t h e c o m p o n e n t a l a n a l y s i s not because oI
their greater value in terms oI teaching English, but because componental analysis
may be combined with distributional and/or transIormational procedures, hence the
necessity oI introducing both procedures beIore we start the discussion oI the
componental analysis. Contrastive linguistics as a systematic branch oI linguistic
science is oI Iairly, recent date though it is not the idea which is new but rather the
systemat isation and t he under lying pr inciples. It is common knowledge that
comparison is the basic principle in comparative philology. However the aims and
methods oI comparative philology diIIer considerably Irom those oI contrastive
linguistics. The comparativist compares languages in order to trace their philogenic
relationships. The material he draws Ior comparison consists mainly oI individual
sounds, sound combinations and words, the aim is to establish I a m i l y
relationship. The term used to describe this Iield oI investigation is historical
linguistics or diachronic linguistics.
Comparison is also applied in typological classiIication and analysis. This
comparison classiIies languages by types rather than origins and relationships. One
oI the purposes oI typological comparison is to arrive at language universals
those elements and processes despite their surIace diversity that all language have in
C o n t r a s t i v e l i n g u i s t i c s attempts to Iind out similarities and diIIerences
in both philogenically related and non-related languages. It is now universally
recognised that contrastive linguistics is a Iield oI particular interest to teachers oI
Ioreign languages.
In Iact contrastive analysis grew as the result oI the practical demands oI language
teaching methodology where it was empirically shown that the errors which are
made recurrently by Ioreign language students can be oIten traced back to the
diIIerences in structure between the target language and the language oI the learner.
Seminar 1
Language units.
The smallest language unit.
The Iunction oI a root morpheme.
The main Iunction oI suIIixes.
The secondary Iunction oI suIIixes.
The main Iunction oI preIixes.
The secondary Iunction oI preIixes.
Splinters and their Iormation in English.
The diIIerence between aIIixes and splinters.
Structural types oI words in English.
The stem oI a word and the diIIerence beween a simple word, a stem and a root.
The diIIerence between a block compound and a nominal benomial.
The diIIerence between a word and a phraseological unit.
The similarity between a word and a phraseological unit.
Analyze the Iollowing lexical units according to their structure. Point out the
Iunction oI morphemes. Speak about bound morphemes and Iree morphemes. Point
out allomorphs in analyzed words:
accompany unsystematic Iorget-me-not
computerise expressionless reservation
de-restrict superprivileged moisture
lengthen clannish pleasure
beautiIy workaholic reconstruction
beIlower inwardly counterculture
specialise moneywise three-cornered
round table Green Berets to sandwich in
Seminar 2.
ClassiIication oI suIIixes according to the part oI speech they Iorm.
ClassiIication oI suIIixes according to the stem they are added to.
ClassiIication oI suIIixes according to their meaning.
ClassiIication oI suIIixes according to their productivity.
ClassiIication oI suIIixes according to their origin.
ClassiIication oI preIixes according to their meaning.
ClassiIication oI preIixes according to their origin.
ClassiIication oI preIixes according to their productivity.
Analyze the Iollowing derived words, point out suIIixes and preIixes and classiIy
them Irom diIIerent points oI view:
to embed nourishment unsystematic
to encourage inwardly to accompany
translatorese dispensable clannishness
to de-restrict workaholic jet-wise
reconstruction to overreach thouroughly
aIterthought Ioundation childishness
transgressor to re-write completenik
gangsterdom pleasure concentration
reIusenik counter-culture brinkmanship
allusion selI-criticism to computerise
slimster reservation translation
Seminar 3
Compound words.
Characteristic Ieatures oI compound words in diIIerent languages.
Characteristic Ieatures oI English compounds.
ClassiIication oI compound words according to their structure.
ClassiIication oI compound words according to the joining element.
ClassiIication oI compound words according to the parts oI speech.
ClassiIication oI compound words according to the semantic relations between
the components.
Ways oI Iorming compound words.
Analyze the Iollowing compound words:
note-book speedometer son-in-law
to job-hop brain-gain video-corder
Iair-haired Iorget-me-not Anglo-Russian
teach-in back-grounder biblio-klept
theatre-goer well-dressed bio-engineer
to book-hunt mini-term to baby-sit
blood-thirsty good-Ior-nothing throw-away
do-gooder skin-head kleptomania
sportsman para-trooper airbus
bus-napper cease-Iire three-cornered
tip-top brain-drain bread-and-butter
Compare the strucure oI the Iollowing words:
demagougery tablewards heliport
tobbacoless money-wise non-Iormal
booketeria go-go motel
counter-clockwise to Irontpage productivity
giver-away newly-created nobody
Seminar 4.
Conversion as a way oI wordbuilding.
DiIIerent points oI view on the nature oI conversion.
Semantic groups oI verbs which can be converted Irom nouns.
The meanings oI verbs converted Irom adjectives.
Semantic groups oI nouns which can be converted Irom verbs.
Substantivised adjectives.
Characteristic Ieatures oI combinations oI the type stone wall.
Semantic groups oI combinations oI this type.
Analyze the Iollowing lexical units:
to eye a Iind to slim
a grown-up to airmail steel helmet
London season resit sleep
a Ilirt a read handout
to weekend a build-up supersonics
a non-Iormal to wireless to submarine
to blue-pencil to blind - the blind - blinds
distrust a jerk to radio
news have-nots the English
to co-author to water to winter
a sit-down mother-in-law morning star
undesirables a walk a Iind
dislike log cabin Iinals
Seminar 5.
Shortenings and abbreviations.
Lexical and graphical abbreviations,the main diIIerences between them.
Types oI graphical abbreviations.
Types oI initias, peculiarities oI their pronunciation.
Lexical shortenings oI words, their reIerence to styles.
Compound-shortened words, their structural types.
Analyze the Iollowing lexical units:
aggro /aggression/ Algol / algorythic language/
apex /eipeks/ - advanced purchased excursion/ payment Ior an excursion ninety
days beIore the time oI excursion/
A-day /announcement Day - day oI announcing war/
AID / artiIitial insemination by a donor/
AIDS / acquired immunity deIiciency syndrome/
Ala / Alabama/ a.s.a.p. /as soon as possible/
bar-B- ,barb /barbecue/ to baby-sit / baby-sitter/
A-level /advanced level/ BC /birth certiIicate/
burger /hamberger/ CamIord, Oxbridge
CALL /computer-assisted language learning/
CAT /computer-assisted training/
cauli / cauliIlower/ COD / cash on delivery/
COBOL / k ubol/ /common business-oriented language/
co- ed comp /komp, k mp/ /accompaniment/
DI /double income ,no kids yet/
E-Day /entrance day //Common Market/ expo/exposition/
edbiz/ educational business/ el-hi / elementary and high
schools/, ex lib/ex libris/ /Irom the library oI/
etc Euratom Iax /Iacsimile/
G-7 / group oI seven: GB, Germany, apan, France, Canada, Italy, Spain/.
FORTRA /Iormula translation/.
Seminar 6.
Phraseological units.
Ways oI Iorming phraseological units.
Semantic classiIication oI phraseological units.
Structural classiIication oI phraseological units.
Syntactical classiIication oI phraseological units.
Analyze the Iollowing phraseological units according to their meaning, structure,
syntactical Iunction and the way they are Iormed:
When pigs Ily /never/. To leap into marriage.
To be a whipping boy. To be behind scenes.
Girl Friday /a man`s assistant/. Fire in the belly.
Man Friday /a true Iriend/. A dear ohn.
To be on the beam. Game, set and match.
Country and western. To jump out oI one`s skin.
As smart as paint. It`s my cup oI tea.
Robin Crusoe and Friday / seats at a theatre divided by a passage/. Fortune
Iavours Iools. To be in the dog house.
The green power. Green Berets.
Culture vulture. To get oII one`s back.
To make headlines. On the nose.
With a bump. To have a short Iuse.
To vote with one`s Ieet. uts and bolts.
Blackboard jungle. The sky is the limit.
Cash and carry. To nose out.
To sandwich in. Berlin wall.
A close mouth catches no Ilies. To speak BBB.
To sound like a computer. As dull as lead.
Last but not least. On the stroke oI.
Seminar 7.
Phraseological units.
Students choose ten phraseological units Irom oonin`s dictionary oI
phraseological units and a unilingual dictionary oI idioms and analyze them in the
written Iorm. During the seminar they analyze their phrasological units chosen Irom
dictionaries at the blackboard.

Seminar 8.
ClassiIication oI borrowings according to the language Irom which they were
Latin borrowings.
French borrowings.
Italian borrowings.
Scandinavian borrowings.
German borrowings.
Russian borrowings.
ClassiIication oI borrowings according to the borrowed aspect: phonetic
borrowings, semantic borrowings, translation loans, morphemeic borrowings,
ClassiIication oI borrowings according to the degree oI assimilation: Iully
assimilated borrowings, partly assimilated borrowings, barbarisms. Borrowings
partly assimilated semantically, grammatically, phonetically and graphically.
Analyze the Iollowing borrowings:
school represent sky-blue
degree rhyth immobility
chandelier the oo vase
mot /mou/ hybrid bouIIant
illuminate keenly communicative
possessiveness to reproach command
moustache giIted boutique
skipper cache-pot well-scrubbed
nouveau riche emphatic mysteriously
dactyl icholas group
to possess chenile psychological
garage guarantee contempt
trait/trei/ triumph stomach
sympathy cynical Philipp
schoolboy Christianity paralyzed
system hotel cyclic
diphtheria kerchieI dark-skinned
Seminar 9
Word and notion.
Lexical meaning and notion.
ClassiIications oI homonyms when applied to analysis.
ClassiIications oI antonyms when applied to analysis.
Analyze the Iollowing lexical units applying the above mentioned classiIications
oI homonyms and antonyms:
present - absent, present - to present
like , to like - to dislike - dislike
sympathy - antipathy
progress - to progress, regress - to regress
success - Iailure, successIul- unsuccessIul
leIt - leIt/to leave/, right adj. - right n.
inIlexible - Ilexible
unsaIe - saIe adj. - saIe n.
Iair n. - Iair adj. unIair, Ioul
piece - peace
dark-haired - Iair-haired
a row - a row /rou/ - /rau/
a Ian - a Ian
superiority - inIeriority
diIIerent - similar, indiIIerent, alike, diIIerence - similarity
meaningIul - meaningless
aIter prep.- beIore -beIore adv., beIore conj.
to gossip - a gossip
shapeless - shapy
air - to air - air
Iearless - IearIul
bright - dim, dull, sad
to Iasten - to unIasten
something - nothing
eldest - oldest -youngest
to husband - husband
obscure - to obscure
unaccustomed - accustomed
to exclude - to include
to conceal -to reveal
too - too- two
somewhere - nowhere
a drawer - a drawer
with - without
Seminar 10.
eology blowup and the work oI R.BerchIield.
Semantic neologisms, transnomination and proper neologisms.
Semantic groups oI neologisms connected with computerization.
Social stratiIication and neologisms.
Semantic groups oI neologisms reIerring to everyday liIe.
Phonological neologisms and borrowings as strong neologisms.
Morphological and syntactical neologisms.
Changes in pronunciation.
Analyze the Iollowing neologisms Irom the point oI view oI neology theory and
also Irom the point oI view oI their morphemic structure and the way they were
Iormed :
to clip-clip AIDS coup
sound barrier to ice-Preside boutique
to re-Iamiliarize tourmobile sevenish
to de-dramatize non-Iormals to baby-sit
to scrimp and save Iireside chat hide-away
coin-in-the-slot cashless society memo
We shall overcome. to dish old wine in new bottles
to-ing and Iro-ing multinationals the Commons
hyperacidity religiosity D-Day
Iace-to-Iace/tuition/ Iemme-Iatalish to the wingtips
to river singer-songwriter beatnik
communication gap laundered money cheeseburger
Don`t change horses. to put a Ireeze on micro-surgical
SA out-doorsy medicare
Cold War selI-exile public-schooly
brain-drainer movers and shakers Euroyuppie
Seminar 11.
Control work on the analysis oI language units. Each student gets six language
units oI diIIerent types / simple words, derived words, compound words,
phraseological units, combinations oI the type stone wall, borrowings,
abbreviations, antonyms, homonyms, neologisms , abbreviations/ and is to analize
them Irom all points oI view which were studied during the seminars.
Seminar 12.
Analysis oI the control paper.
Historical development oI British lexicography.
Historical development oI American lexicography.
ClassiIication oI dictionaries.
Student reports on dictionaries they use in their work.
Adams . Introduction into English WordIormation. Lnd., 1983 .
Akhmanova O.S. Lexicology: Theory and Method. M. 1972
Arnold I.. The English Word . M. 1986.
BurchIield R.W. The English Language. Lnd. ,1985
Ginzburg R.S. et al. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. M., 1979.
espersen ,Otto. Growth and Structure oI the English Language. OxIord, 1982.
Maurer D.W. , High F.C. ew Words - Where do they come Irom and where do
they go. American Speech., 1982.
Patridge E. Slang To-day and esterday. Lnd., 1979.
uirk R. Style and Communication in the English Language. Lnd., 1980.
mocon .. 3rmooruece ocon conporo cocrn conpemeoro
rcoro xs. . 1956.
Amocon . . con rco pseoor H. 1963.
Anpecx R..Hecuecx cemr. omuece cpecrn xs.
pot .. Hecoorx conpemeoro rcoro xs.. 1959.
orpon .. oconx rnx pseooruecx e n pyccom
xse. orpon . . Hecoorx ecorpx. spe rpy.
. 1977.
Xyreo R.. p. rce eoorsm. en.,1983.
3or .. onx ec conpemeoro rcoro xs. ., 1989.
3on .. pruec ypc rco ecoor: yue. nocoe
x cry. rn.nyson . . xson / ..3on. 3e s., crep. .:
sretc erp emx, 2008. 288 c.
non .. rcx eoorx. . yu. rp. 1984.n. 227.
y .. upseoorx conpemeoro rcoro xs. . 1972.
emon .. onoopsone conpemeoro rcoro xs. . 1976.
neep .. Conpemex coorncr. eopx.poem.
neep .. otx epex xs n . . 1983.
Bloomsbury Dictionary oI ew Words. M. 1996.
The Concise OxIord Dictionary oI Current English. OxIord 1964.
Hornby The Advanced Learner`s Dictionary oI Current English. Lnd. 1974.
The Longman Register oI ew Words. M. 1990.
Longman Dictionary oI Phrasal erbs. M. 1986.
Longman Lexicon oI Contemporary English. Longman. 1981.
21st century Dictionary oI Slang. .. 1994.
Webster`s ew World Dictionary oI American English. .. 1978.
npecx R.. on otmo ro-pycc conpt. M. 1993.
npecx R.. ro-pycc comuec conpt. M. 1979.
y .. ro-pycc pseooruec conpt. . 1967.
pomon 3.C. Dictionary oI ew Words and ew Meanings. s.
n, 1993.
ueoe se

uopmr 60 x 90 6,5 yc. neu. . px 10 +s.