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LEXICOLOGY: A CURRENT GUIDE




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Lexicology: A Current Guide. : .
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ISBN 9785976502499 ()
ISBN 9785020347342 ()


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811.111(075.8)
81.2.3

ISBN 9785976502499 ()
ISBN 9785020347342 ()

, 2008

ONTENTS
Preface ..................................................................................................... 7
Introduction ............................................................................................. 8

Chapter 1
Language and Lexicology .......................................................................... 9
1.1. The Object of Lexicology ............................................................. 9
1.2. Branches of Lexicology .............................................................. 10
1.3. Lexicology and Sociolinguistics ................................................. 13
1.4. The Definition of the Word ........................................................ 16
Key Terms ............................................................................................... 18
Topics for Discussion and Exercises .......................................................... 18

Chapter 2
The Origins of English Words ..................................................................
2.1. Native Words .............................................................................
2.2. Borrowings .................................................................................
2.3. Etymological Doublets ..............................................................
2.4. International Words ...................................................................
Key Terms ...............................................................................................
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ..........................................................

20
22
24
30
31
32
32

Chapter 3
Word Structure and Word Formation .......................................................
3.1. Morpheme. Allomorph ..............................................................
3.2. Word Structure ...........................................................................
3.3. Immediate Constituents Analysis ...............................................
3.4. Affixation ...................................................................................
3.5. Conversion .................................................................................
3.6. Word-Composition ....................................................................
3.7. Other Types of Word Formation .................................................
Key Terms ...............................................................................................
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ..........................................................
3

36
37
39
41
42
46
48
51
53
54

Chapter 4
Semantics ...............................................................................................
4.1. Semasiology or Semantics? ........................................................
4.2. Denotation and Connotation .....................................................
4.3. Polysemy ....................................................................................
4.4. Componential Analysis ..............................................................
4.5. Semantic Change .......................................................................
4.6. Secondary Ways of Semantic Change ........................................
Key Terms ...............................................................................................
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ..........................................................

57
57
59
61
62
65
69
70
70

Chapter 5
The Vocabulary of a Language as a System ..............................................
5.1. Homonyms ................................................................................
5.2. Synonyms ..................................................................................
5.2.1. The Nature of Synonymy ................................................
5.2.2. The Definition of Synonyms ...........................................
5.2.3. Classification of Synonyms .............................................
5.2.4. Euphemism .....................................................................
5.3. Antonyms ..................................................................................
5.4. Hyponymy and Paronymy .........................................................
Key Terms ...............................................................................................
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ..........................................................

74
74
77
77
79
81
82
82
84
85
86

Chapter 6
Combinability. Word Groups .................................................................... 90
Key Terms ............................................................................................... 95
Topics for Discussion and Exercises .......................................................... 95

Chapter 7
Phraseology ............................................................................................ 98
7.1. Semantic Classification of Phraseological Units ....................... 100
7.2. Structural Classification of Phraseological Units ...................... 101
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7.3. Functional Classification of Phraseological Units .................... 102


7.4. Contextual Classification of Phraseological Units .................... 103
7.5. Prof. Kunins Classification of Phraseological Units ................ 103
7.6. Proverbs, Sayings, Quotations ................................................... 105
Key Terms .............................................................................................. 107
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ......................................................... 107

Chapter 8
Levels of Usage ...................................................................................... 111
8.1. Stylistic Differentiation of the English Vocabulary .................... 112
8.2. The Varieties of English ............................................................ 117
8.3. Levels of Language .................................................................... 121
8.4. Registers ................................................................................... 125
Key Terms .............................................................................................. 128
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ......................................................... 128

Chapter 9
Lexicography ......................................................................................... 133
9.1. The History of Dictionary Making ............................................. 133
9.2. Classification of Dictionaries .................................................... 136
Key Terms .............................................................................................. 140
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ......................................................... 140

Chapter 10
American English ................................................................................... 145
10.1. Spelling ..................................................................................... 146
10.2. Pronunciation ........................................................................... 148
10.3. Punctuation .............................................................................. 148
10.4. Numbers ................................................................................... 149
10.5. Grammar .................................................................................. 150
10.5.1. Use of the Present Perfect ............................................ 150
10.5.2. Possession .................................................................... 150
10.5.3. The Verb Get ................................................................. 151
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10.5.4. Past Simple/Past Participles ......................................... 151


10.5.5. Other Differences ......................................................... 152
10.5.6. Prepositions ................................................................. 153
10.6. Vocabulary ................................................................................ 153
10.7. African American Vernacular English (AAVE) .......................... 158
Key Terms .............................................................................................. 160
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ......................................................... 160

Chapter 11
A World English ..................................................................................... 163
11.1. Canadian English ...................................................................... 163
11.2. Australian English ..................................................................... 164
11.3. New Zealand English ................................................................ 166
11.4. Indian English .......................................................................... 167
11.4.1. Pronunciation .............................................................. 168
11.4.2. Grammar ..................................................................... 168
11.4.3. Vocabulary: loans ......................................................... 169
11.4.4. Usage ........................................................................... 171
Key Terms .............................................................................................. 172
Topics for Discussion and Exercises ......................................................... 173
Review .................................................................................................. 174
References ............................................................................................. 185
Dictionaries ........................................................................................... 187
Glossary ................................................................................................ 188

Preface
This book is based upon a series of lectures on English Lexicology
delivered at the Ural State Pedagogical University of Yekaterinburg,
Russia.
The theoretical Course in Modern English Lexicology forms a part
of the curriculum for the English Departments in Foreign Languages
and Linguistic Institutes.
In accordance with the basic aim the Guide incorporates lectures,
topics for discussion and exercises that cover the main areas of
lexicology. The Course highlights the recent tendencies in the linguistic
science; it combines theoretical study and practice.
Each chapter provides a variety of instructional activities that help
students evaluate the information they have learned, express their
thoughts and analyse the most pressing issues of current lexicology.
The book includes a list of terms and concepts.
All these materials are aimed at expanding students language
knowledge. They enhance theoretical competence, students reflective
thinking whenever they have a problem to solve, and challenge students
to make individual judgements.
It is hoped that this approach will be conducive to a better
understanding of the fundamental principles of lexicology, and students
will find much of value in this book. Wed appreciate any comments or
suggestions you may have for improving this text.
Galina N. Babich

Introduction
It is both a pleasure and a privilege to write the introduction for
this exceptional guide. As an American who formerly taught English, I
only wish I had access to the wealth of information provided herein.
Indeed, students of any age, teachers of English throughout the world,
or any person with an interest in language will find this contribution
both engaging and informative. This well-written book has a global
appeal.
The author has been my friend and professional colleague for over
a decade. In this guide she displays an amazing grasp of this branch of
linguistics. The accomplishment does not surprise me, however, as
Dr. Babich has long been a citizen of the world, studying, observing,
and writing about her experiences. Readers of many nations will enjoy
this book and I recommend it highly.

Jeanne C. Baxter, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus


Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Partner, Quality Education Associates

Chapter 1
LANGUAGE AND LEXICOLOGY
P o l o n i u s: What do you read, my lord?
H a m l e t: Words, words, words.
P o l o n i u s: What is the matter, my lord?
H a m l e t: Between who?
P o l o n i u s: I mean the matter that you
read, my lord.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

1.1. The Object of Lexicology


Lexicology (of Greek origin: lexis word + logos learning)
(ca.1828) is a branch of linguistics concerned with words. It is a study
of words. All the words of a language make up its vocabulary or lexicon
(1603). To study the lexicon of English is to study all aspects of the
vocabulary of language how words are formed, how they have
developed, how they are used, how they relate in meaning to each other,
and how they are handled in dictionaries.
Lexical study is a wide-range domain, involving such diverse areas
as the sense relationships between words, the use of abbreviations, puns
and euphemisms, the compilation of dictionaries and many others.
Thus, lexicology deals with the vocabulary and characteristic features
of words and word-groups.
The word is the basic unit of the lexical system of a language resulting
from the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of
sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment. It is the
smallest language unit that can stand alone as a complete utterance.
From the lexical aspect the word may express one or several notions
being in different relations among themselves.
The term word-group denotes a group of words that exists in the
language as a ready-made unit, has the unity of meaning and of
syntactical function.
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Modern approaches to the word are characterized by two different


levels of study: syntagmatic and paradigmatic (we owe this 2dimensional model of language structure to the Swiss linguist Ferdinand
de Saussure.) On the paradigmatic (substitution) level, the word is
studied in its relationship with other words in the vocabulary system.
On the syntagmatic (sequence) level, the word is analyzed in its linear
relationships with words in connected speech.
One further important objective of lexicological studies is the study
of the vocabulary as a system. The vocabulary can be studied by means
of two approaches: descriptive or synchronic (from Greek syn
together with and chronos time) and historical or diachronic
(dia through), i.e. the synchronic approach is concerned with
the vocabulary of a language at the given stage of its development, the
diachronic approach deals with the changes and the development of
vocabulary in course of time.

1.2. Branches of Lexicology


What are the constituent parts of lexicology? There are specific
sub-branches of lexicology. They are: etymology, word-formation,
semantics, phraseology, lexicography, etc., each of which has its own
aim of study, its own object of investigation, its own methods of
linguistic research. As an example we look at the question of sources
of lexicon.
The great quality of English is its teeming vocabulary, 80 per cent
of which is foreign-born. A glance through a modest etymological
dictionary of the English language will immediately reveal the variety
of immigrants. For example, Arabic is a collection of words that have
passed into English: admiral, magazine, almanac, camel, giraffe, cotton,
mohair, amber, apricot, alcohol, asparagus, candy, coffee, orange, rice,
sugar, sofa.
Precisely because its roots are so varied Celtic, Germanic
(German, Scandinavian and Dutch) and Romance (Latin, French,
and Spanish) it has words in common with virtually every language
in Europe: German, Yiddish, Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Swedish,
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French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. English is unique in this


respect.
The following list provides a sample set of words that have been
incorporated into English:
French: cuisine, army, elite, saut, cul-de-sac, raffle.
Latin: cup, fork, pound, vice versa.
Greek: polysemy, synonymy, chemistry, physics, phenomenon.
Native American languages: caucus, pecan, raccoon, pow-wow.
Spanish: junta, siesta, cigar.
German: rucksack, hamburger, frankfurter, seminar.
Scandinavian languages: law, saga, ski, them, they, their.
Italian: piano, soprano, confetti, spaghetti, vendetta.
South Asian languages: bungalow, jungle, sandal, thing.
Yiddish: goy, knish, schmuck.
Dutch: cruise, curl, dock, leak, pump, scum, yacht.
Chinese: mandarin, tea, serge.
Japanese: bonsai, hara-kiri, kimono, tycoon, karate, judo.
There is an important balance between the stock of native words
and borrowings into English. In a survey of the 1,000 most frequently
used words in English, it was found that only 61.7 per cent had old
English origin. The other 38.3 per cent were borrowed from a variety
of other languages: 30.9 per cent French, 2.9 per cent Latin, 1.7 per cent
Scandinavian, 1.3 per cent mixed, and 0.3 per cent Low German and
Dutch. (Stefanie Jannedy. Language Files. The Ohio State University,
Columbus, 6th ed., p. 136.)
Thus, there is a specific branch of lexicology etymology, the goal
of which is the discovery of earlier, true, meanings of words and their
origin.
Word formation turns out to play a crucial part in English
vocabulary growth. A word can consist of a prefix, a base, and a suffix.
Not every word, however, will have a prefix and/or a suffix. A prefix
is one or more syllables that can be added to the front of a word or
base, while a suffix can be added to the end. Their function is to change
the meaning of the word. Many prefixes and suffixes come from Latin
or Greek.
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Look at the following word:


LINGU

IST

IC

Base

Suffix

Suffix

The meaning of these parts is:


lingu tongue, language
ist noun suffix
ic adjectival suffix
Therefore we know that this is an adjective referring to something
about language.
Have you ever heard the word educationalize? There is a pattern
that permits the addition of -al to almost any noun ending in -ion. In
turn, the pattern is very extensive for adding the factitive suffix -ize
to any adjective ending in this suffix -al.
Very often suffixes change meanings of words. For example, verbs
can be turned into adjectives by adding -ed and -ing. The -ed is usually
a passive form that shows the quality a person or thing feels: I felt bored.
However, an -ing is an active form which usually shows the quality a
person or thing gives to others: She made me feel boring. Compare
surprised and surprising, puzzled and puzzling, excited and exciting, etc.
Thus, the study of the morphology of the word, or the parts of a
word, and the patterns on which a language builds new words is the
subject matter of word-formation.
One more issue to be taken into consideration is the statistics of
English which are astonishing. Of all the worlds languages (which now
number some 2,700), it is the richest in vocabulary. The compendious
Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words; and a further
half million technical and scientific terms remain uncatalogued.
According to traditional estimates, neighbouring German has a
vocabulary of about 185,000 words and French fewer than 100,000.
An essential part of investigations in lexicology is reflected in
dictionary making lexicography, which is also a branch of lexicology.
Dictionaries are descriptions of the distribution of language units
(usually words) in terms of linguistic and cultural contexts.
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What shall we call the units of meaning which appear as the


headwords in a dictionary? The tradition is to call them words. However,
in a serious study of the lexicon the term lexeme is used. The term
lexeme, introduced by Benjamin Lee Whorf in 1938, has been used for
the lexical word. A lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning, which exists
regardless of any inflectional endings it may have or the number of
words it may contain. Thus, the headwords in a dictionary are all
lexemes.
Lexicology deals with words, their meaning and vocabulary
structure. And what are the problems that can be studied referring to
the words? They are:
the definition of the word,
the meaning of the word,
the processes of semantic change,
word groups,
combinability,
idioms,
the structure of the lexicon and several other central concepts.

1.3. Lexicology and Sociolinguistics


What is the place of lexicology among other linguistic disciplines?
The component parts of the theory of any language are: theoretical
grammar, theoretical phonetics, and lexicology. Grammatical system
of the language has been studied for several centuries already while
lexicology and theoretical phonetics became separate fields of
linguistics only in the 19th century.
What makes lexicology a special science, so different from grammar
or phonetics? There is a tremendous difference between lexicology, on
the one hand, and phonology, morphology and syntax, on the other.
And the difference lies in the fact that the word-stock (the vocabulary)
of a language directly and immediately reacts to whatever happens in
the social life of the speech community in question.
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The extra-linguistic factors influence usage and development of


language. They are dealt with in sociolinguistics which may be defined
as the study of the influence produced upon language by various social
factors. This influence is particularly strong in lexis. Lets consider the
following examples:
The new language of cyberspace (cybervocabulary). As computers
gradually extended their influence, so did cyber-, as a prefix having to
do with computers and electronic communication. Cybernetics (1948)
became the progenitor of a wide range of cyber-compounds in the 1980s
and 90s, relating to the use of the Internet, and virtual reality:
cyberphobia, cyberpunk, cyberspace, cyberart, cyberhippy, cyberlawyer,
cyberworld, cybermat, cybercop, cybercha, cyber-community, cybernaut,
cybrarian the new language of cyberspace. Many words discussing
technology are coined with byte, net, mega, web, and digi: digitized
cyberads, gigabyte, megalomania.
PIN (1981) is an abbreviation of personal identification number, a
number allocated by a bank, etc., to a customer for use with a cash
card. (1981 Sunday Times: Cards with PINs written on them have been
stolen <...>.)
E-mail (1982) is an abbreviation of electronic mail, which by the
middle of the 1980s has established itself as the standard term; hacker
(1983), Internet (1986), cellphone (1984), mobile (1990), spam (1994),
web (1994). English took on a new meaning for a word over 400 years
old, at the same time conferring a new meaning on a punctuation mark
once simply called period, now a dot as in dot com.
The power of English is not confined to the invention and
manufacture of new technology. Dis-, diss- (1986) is to put someone
down, to show disrespect for a person by insulting language or
behaviour. Are you dissing me? = Are you showing disrespect for
me? Dis- is a permanent feature of political discussion that includes
disagreement, disputes, disappointments, disillusion, distress, dissidents,
and disorder.
Another example: the suffix holic, -aholic, -oholoc (workaholic
[1968]) describes all-consuming obsessions, not all of them serious.
We could be addicted to play, foods, shopping, news, credit, and junk:
golfaholic, footballaholic, computerholic, leisureholic, etc. Yahoo
published a news story Eating Chocolate Is Healthy, Doctors Say by
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Patricia Reaney. Good news for chocoholics. The treat favored by millions not only tastes delicious but is healthy for you... (http://
dailynews,yahoo.com/h/nm/20010903/ts/health). Chocoholic, a compulsive eater of chocolate, appeared in 1976. Shopaholic, a compulsive
shopper, appeared in 1984.
New words comprise various structural types: simple (cable, dude,
rap); derived (buyout, to upchuck, animalist, synergy, whicked);
compound (awesome, blockbuster, ecofriendly, high-maintenance, jobhunt, script-show); shortenings (dis, to veg, ATM, WWW 1994, the
World Wide Wait, a nickname for the WWW as delays can be frequent
depending on the speed of your Internet connection).
Language is always in a state of flux, it can surprise you every day.
The adjective awesome, for instance, has changed its meaning and began
to be used in the sense of marvellous, wonderful, stunning (1980).
This meaning has dribbled down from the original awe-inspiring via
remarkable (1961): I just know itd be an awesome band (Making Music
1986).
In the end of the century the whole world worried about the
millennium bug (1995), because computers recognized years by their
last two digits, and couldnt tell the year 2000 from 1900. Another name
for it is the Year 2000 Problem, abbreviated Y2K (K-n from the Greek
prefix kilo- one thousand). The problem was managed to keep us
cool. Over the years, many different meanings of cool have accumulated.
Cool has meant daring (1839), clever (1924), exciting (1933),
stylish (1946), cautious or under control (1952), and satisfactory or OK (1952). To cool it has meant to stop (1952), to die
(1960), and to relax (1986). In the 1990s, among young people, cool
in the sense approval or appreciation has even taken on a distinctive
pronunciation closer to that of cull.
The question arises: Do we expect the phonemes or tenses to change
when something happens in the social life of the society in question?
The answer is an emphatic No.
In contrast with phonology, morphology and syntax, lexicology is
a sociolinguistic discipline. It is based on establishing interrelations
between the language, the social life and conventions of language use.
Conventions associated with social situations can have an influence
on the structure of individual speech interactions. These can include
15

anything from conventions for beginning a casual conversation to


conventions for asking a question in a formal classroom setting or
conventions for writing a manual or a novel. No matter what sort of
interaction is involved, it is a representation of some type of discourse.
Discourse (fr. L. argument, conversation) is verbal interchange
of ideas; connected speech or writing. It is a set of utterances that
constitute a speech event, piece of writing or conversation.
Analysis of the structure of discourse concentrates on how
utterances are put together by speakers in individual interactions. Both
written and spoken discourse can be subject to discourse analysis using
various methods such as, for example, the study of pragmatics,
ethnography of communication, ethnomethodology, and text analysis.
In the new millennium, there is the unprecedented rapidity of
language change introduced by new technology, expansion of English
for specific purposes in science, medicine, business, and politics, global
research possibilities, distance education all this requires effective
communicative competence. To understand a word and to use it
correctly, we must understand and know its semantics, its pragmatic
aspect, and its cultural aspect.
All this makes lexicology a branch of linguistics with its own aims
and methods of research; its basic goal being a study and systematic
description of vocabulary in respect to its origin, development and use.
This is a current approach to the most important issues of lexicology.

1.4. The Definition of the Word


What is a word? The definition of the word is one of the most
difficult in linguistics because the word has many aspects. It has a sound
form because it is a certain arrangement of phonemes; it has its
morphological structure, being a certain arrangement of morphemes;
it is used in different word-forms and various meanings in speech. The
word is a sort of focus for the problems of phonology, lexicology, syntax,
and morphology.
If we evaluate the place of the word in particular language plans,
we come to an important difference in the place of the word and of
other language units in the language system.
16

The difference lies in the fact that the phoneme, morpheme and
sentence have their fixed place in the language system, whereas the
word belongs both to the morphological and to the syntactical and
lexical plans. The word is a bridge between morphology and syntax,
making the transition from morphology to syntax gradual and
imperceptible. Extreme cases are those of the identification of the word
with the morpheme, on one hand, and with the sentence, on the other
hand. The place of these basic units in the language system can be
represented in the following way:
phonological

morphological

syntactical

lexical

PHONEME

MORPHEME

SENTENCE

WORD

WORD

phoneme

word
morpheme
phoneme

There have been many attempts to define the word. The efforts of
many prominent scholars threw light on this problem. Linguists define
the word as the basic unit of language. It is a unity of form and content.
Its content or meaning is not identical to notion.
A word usually conveys a notion. Notion is psychological category.
Notion and linguistic categories are closely connected. Notions are
realized through words, without words they cannot exist. Notions are
realized through the component of the word called meaning. So by
meaning we understand the component of the word through which the
notion is realized.
We cannot identify word and notion, notion and meaning, word and
meaning. Word is wider than meaning. Meaning is not identical to notion,
but it may reflect human notions, and in this sense may be considered as
the form of their existence. Notions fixed in meanings of words are formed
as generalized and approximately correct reflections of reality; therefore
in signifying them words reflect reality in their content.
17