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Minor types of word-formation

Word-formation is the system of derivative types of words and the process of creating new words from the material available in the language after certain structural and semantic formulas and patterns. A distinction is made between two principal types of word-formation: word-derivation and word-composition.

The basic ways of forming words in word-derivation are affixation and conversion. Affixation is the formation of a new word with the help of affixes, e.g. heartless (from heart), to overdo (from to do). Conversion is the formation of a new word b> bringing a stem of this word into a different formal paradigm, e.g. a fall (from to fall), to slave (from a slave). The basic form of the original and the basic form of the derived words in case of conversion are homonymous.

Word-composition is the formation of a new word by combining two or more stems which occur in the language as free forms, e.g. doorhandle. house-keeper.

Араrt from principal there are some minor types of modern word- formation. i.e. shortening, blending, acronymy. sound interchange, sound imitation, distinctive stress, and back-formation.

Shortening is the formation of a word by cutting off a part of the word. According to the part of the word that is cut off (initial, middle or final) there are the following types of shortenings: 1) initial.fend (v) < defend, phone < telephone; 2) medial, specs < spectacles, fancy < fantasy, 3) final, ad. advert < advertisement, veg < vegetables.3)both initial and final, flu < influenza, fridge < refrigerator.

Blendingis the formation of a new word by combining pans of two words. Blends may be of two types: 1) additive type that may be transformed into a phrase consisting of complete stems combined by the conjunction and, e.g. smog — sm(oke) 2) restrictive type that can be transformed into a phrase, the first element of which serves as a modifier for the second, e.g.: telecast television broadcast.

Acronymy - is the formation of a word from the initial letters of a word combination. There are two basic types of acronyms: 1) acronyms which are read as ordinary English words, e.g. UNESCOthe United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization; 2) acronyms with the alphabetic reading, ВBСthe British Broadcasting Corporation.

Sound-interchangeis the formation of a word due to an alteration inthe phonemic composition of its root. 1) vowel-interchange: foodto feed. 2) consonant-interchange: adviceto advise.

Sound imitation(onomatopoeia)is the naming of an action or a thing by a more or less exact reproduction of the sound associated with it. cf.: cock-a-doodle-do (English) — ку-ка-ре-ку (Russian). chatter, babble,splash, clink. whip, swing.

Back-formationis the formation of a new word by subtracting a real or supposed suffix from the existing words. The process is based on analogy. For example, the word to butle ‘to act or serve as a butler' is derived by subtraction of -er from a supposedly verbal stem in the noun butler.

Distinctive stressis the formation of a word by means of the shift of the stress in the source word, cf: increase (n) — in'crease (v), absent (adj) — ab'sent (v).



20. Word-meaning. Referential, functional and operational approaches to word-meaning.
At present there is no universally accepted definition of m. Different definitions of m help to sum up the general characteristics of the notion. There are 3 main approaches to lexical meaning: referential, functional and operational. The referential approach studies the connection between w-s and things or concepts they denote. It distinguishes the 3 components closely connected with m: 1) The sound-form of the linguistic sign; 2) The referent – the object which the word names; 3) The concept underlying this sound-form. The sound-form of the word is not identical with its m. The m though closely connected with the underlying concept or concepts, is not identical with it or them. Distinguishing m from the referent is of the most importance. M is linguistic whereas the denoted object is beyond the scope of language. The functional approachstudies relations between w-s. The functional approach assumes that the m of a linguistic unit can be studied only through its relation to other linguistic units and not through its relation to concept or referent, e.g. we know that the meanings of “to move“ and “movement’’ are different because they function in speech differently. Analysing various contexts in which these w-s are used we can observe that they have different distribution. As the distribution of the two w-s is different, their meanings are different too. The functional approach is sometimes described as contextual. M is understood as the function of a linguistic unit. The operational definitions of m are centered on defining m through its role in the process of communication. The op approach studies w-s in action and is more interested in how m works than what it is. M is defined as info conveyed from the speaker to the listener in the process of communication. The sentence ‘John came at 6 o’clock’ may imply that John was 2 hours late; came though he did not want to; was punctual as usual, etc. In each case the implication would depend on the concrete situation of communication.



21. Types of meaning. Aspects of lexical meaning.
Word-meaning is not homogeneous. It is made up of various components. These components are described as types of meaning. The two main types of meaning are the grammatical meaning and the lexical meaning. Still one more type of meaning is singled out. It is based on the interaction of the major types and is called the part-of- speech (or lexico-grammatical) meaning.

The grammatical meaning is defined as an expression in speech of relationship between words. Grammatical meaning is the component of meaning recurrent in identical sets of individual forms of different words, as. for example, the tense meaning in the word-forms of the verbs: asked, thought: the case meaning in the word-forms of various nouns: girl s, boy's, night's; the meaning of plurality which is found in the word-forms of nouns: Joys, tables, places.

The lexical meaning of the word is the meaning proper to the given linguistic unit in all its forms and distributions. The word-forms go, goes. went, going, gone possess different grammatical meanings of tense, person, number, but in each form they have one and the same semantic component denoting the process of movement*.


· the denolational aspect;

· the connotational aspect:

· the pragmatic aspect.

1 is the part of lexical meaning which establishes correlation between the name and the object, phenomenon, process or characteristic feature of concrete reality (or thought as such), which is denoted by the given word. For example the den meaning of booklet is ‘a small thin book that gives information about something'. It is through the denotational aspect of meaning that the bulk of information is conveyed in the process of communication. The denotational aspect of lexical meaning expresses the notional content of a word.

3 is the pan of meaning which reflects the attitude of the speaker towards what he speaks about. Connotation conveys additional information in the process of communication. Connotation includes:

· the emotive charge, e.g. daddy as compared to father.

· evaluation, which may be positive or negative, e.g. clique (a small group of people who seem unfriendly to other people) as compared to group (a set of people):

· intensity (or expressiveness), e.g. adore as compared to love:

· imagery, e.g. to wade — to walk with an effort (through mud. water or anything that makes progress difficult). The figurative use of the word gives rise to another meaning which is based on the same image as the first — to wade through a book.

3 is the part of meaning, that conveys information on the situation of communication. Like the connotational aspect, the pragmatic aspect falls into four closely linked together subsections:

· information on the "time and space” relationship of the participants.

· information on the participants and the given language community.

· information on the tenor of discourse.

· information on the register of communication.


22. Change of meaning. Causes, nature and results of semantic change.
Word meaning is liable to change in the course of the historical development of language. There are distinguished causes of semantic change, nature and results of the process of change of meaning.

Causes of Semantic Change. The factors accounting for semantic changes may be roughly subdivided into two groups: a) extra-linguistic: b) linguistic.

By extra-linguistic causes various changes in the life of the speech community are meant, i.e. changes in economic and social structure, changes in scientific concepts. For example, changes in the way of life of the British brought about changes in the meaning hlaford. Originally the word meant ‘bread-keeper* («хранитель хлеба»), and later on master, ruler' («повелитель, лорд»).

Some changes of meaning occur due to purely linguistic causes, i.e. factors acting within the language system. The commonest form which this influence takes is the so-called ellipsis. In a phrase made up of two words one of these is omitted and its meaning is transferred to its partner. For example, the verb to stone in Old English (OF.) meant to die' and was habitually used in collocation with the word hunger. In the 16' century the verb to starve itself acquired the meaning 'to die of hunger'.

Another linguistic cause is discrimination/differentiation of synonyms which can be illustrated by the semantic development of a number of words. In OE the word land meant both solid pan of earth's surface' and 'the territory of a nation’. In the Middle English period the word country? was borrowed as its synony m. The meaning of the word land was somewhat altered and 'the territory of a nation' came to be denoted by the borrowed word country.

Fixed context may be regarded as another linguistic factor in semantic change. For example, the word token, when brought into competition with the word sign, became restricted in use to a number of set expressions, such as love token, token of respect and also became specialized in meaning.

Nature of Semantic Change. There are two kinds of association involved in various semantic changes:similarity of meanings, contiguity of meanings.

Similarity of meanings or metaphor may be described as the semantic process of associating two referents, one of which in some way resembles the other. The word hand, for instance, acquired in the I6lh century the meaning of a pointer of a clock because of the similarity of one of the functions performed by the hand. See the expression hands of the clock (watch).

Contiguity of meanings or metonymymay be described as the semantic process of associating two referents one of which makes part of the other or is closely connected with it. This can be illustrated by the use of the word tongue — 'the organ of speech' in the meaning of 'language' (as in mother tongue).

Results of Semantic Change. Results of semantic change can be generally observed in the changes of the denotational meaning of the word, i.e. in restriction or extension of meaning.

Restriction of meaning can be illustrated by the semantic development of the word hound which used to denote dog of any breed' but now denotes only ‘a dog used in the chase'. If the word with a new restricted meaning comes to be used in the specialized vocabulary of some limited group within the speech community it is usual to speak of the specialization of meaning.

Extension of meaning may be illustrated by the word target which originally meant ‘a small round shield' but now means 'anything that is fired at'. If ihe word with the extended meaning passes from the specialized vocabulary into common use. the result of the semantic change is described as the generalization of meaning.

Amelioration of meaning implies the improvement of the connotational component of meaning. For instance, the word minister originally denoted ‘a servant' but now - a civil servant of higher rank, a person administering a department of state.

Deterioration of meaning implies the acquisition by the word of some derogatory emotive charge. For example, the word boor was originally used to denote ’a peasant' and then acquired a derogatory connotational meaning and came to denote a clumsy or ill-bred fellow.

23. Polysemy in English. The semantic structure of polysemantic words.
A word having several meanings is called polysemantic, and the ability of 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 of expressive resources of a language largely depends on the degree to which polysemy has developed in the language.
The system of meanings of any polysemantic word develops gradually, mostly over the centuries, as more and more new meanings are either added to old ones, or oust some of them. So the complicated processes of polysemy development involve both the appearance of new meanings and the loss of old ones.
When analysing the semantic structure of a polysemantic word, it is necessary to distinguish between two levels of analysis.
Some semantic structures are arranged on a different principle. In the following list of meanings of the adjective dull one can hardly hope to find a generalised meaning covering and holding together the rest of the semantic structure.
Dull, adj.
I. Uninteresting, monotonous, boring; e. g. a dull book, a dull film.
II. Slow in understanding, stupid; e. g. a dull student.
III. Not clear or bright; e. g. dull weather, a dull day, a dull colour.
IV. Not loud or distinct; e. g. a dull sound. V. Not sharp; e. g. a dull knife.
VI. Not active; e. g. Trade is dull. VII. Seeing badly; e. g. dull eyes (arch.). VIII, Hearing badly; e. g. dull ears (arch.),
The transformed scheme of the semantic structure of dull clearly shows that the centre holding together the complex semantic structure of this word is not one of the meanings but a certain component that can be easily singled out within each separate meaning.
This brings us to the second level of analysis of the semantic structure of a word. The transformational operation with the meaning definitions of dull reveals something very significant: the semantic structure of the word is "divisible", as it were, not only at the level of different meanings but, also, at a deeper level.
Therefore, the semantic structure of a word should be investigated at both these levels: a) of different meanings, b) of semantic components within each separate meaning. For a monosemantic word (i. e. a word with one meaning) the first level is naturally excluded.


24. Polysemy and context. Types of context. The meaning of the word and its usage.
The term ‘context' denotes the minimal stretch of speech determining each individual meaning of the word. Contexts may be of two types: linguistic (verbal) and extra-linguistic (non-verbal).
Linguistic contexts may be subdivided into:
1. In lexical contexts of primary importance are the groups of lexical items combined with the polysemantic word under consideration. This can be illustrated by the results of the analysis of different lexical contexts in which a polysemantic word is used. For example, the adjective heavy used with the words load, table means ‘of great weight*. When combined with the words denoting natural phenomena such as rain, storm, snow, wind the adjective heavy is understood as denoting ‘abundant, striking, falling with force’. If used with the words industry, artillery, arms and the like, heavy has the meaning ‘the larger kind of smth’

2. In grammatical contexts it is the grammatical (syntactic) structure of the context that serves to determine various individual meanings of a polysemantic word. The meaning of the verb to make — ‘to force, to induce' is found only in the grammatical context possessing the syntactic structure to make + pm. + verb (to make smb. laugh, to make smb. work, to make smb. sir). Another meaning of this verb — ‘to become' is observed in the context of a different syntactic structure - to make + adj. + noun (to make a good wife, to make a good teacher). Such meanings are sometimes described as grammatically bound meanings.

There are cases when the meaning of a word is ultimately determined by the actual speech situation in which the word is used. i.e. by the extra-linguistic context (or context of situation ). For example is the word “glasses” in the sentence: John was looking for the glasses. This is ambiguous because it might refer to ‘spectacles* or to ‘drinking vessels'. So it is possible to state the meaning of the word glasses only through the extended context or situation’.
A great contribution to the development of the problem of polysemy was made by the Russian linguist Vinogradov. The scientist admitted the importance of differentiating the meaning from the usage (acontexual variant). Meanings are fixed and common to all people, who know the language system. The usage is only a possible application of one of the meanings of a polysemantic word, sometimes very individual, sometimes more or less familiar. Meaning is not identical with usage.
Of special importance is the fact that polysemy exists only in language, not in speech. The meaning of a word in speech is contextual.

25.Homonymy. Sources of homonymy. Classification of homonyms.
Homonyms are words which are identical in sound and spelling, or, at least, in one of these aspects, but different in their meaning.(bank, n. -a shore, an institution for receiving money;ball, n.- a sphere; a large dancing party)In the process of communication they lead sometimes to confusion and misunderstanding. Yet it is this very characteristic which makes them one of the most important sources of popular humour.


Homonyms proper -homonyms which are the same in sound and spelling.(back-back,pit дыра-косточка)

Homophones- the same in sound but different in spelling(night- knight; piece-peace, rite- to write- right, sea- to see-С.

Homographs- the same in spelling but different in sound.(lead-lead-э, tear тээ тиэ)


Smirnitsky classified homonyms into 2 classes: I. full, II. partial

Fulllexical homonyms are words which represent the same category of parts of speech and have the same paradigm. match-a game, match- a short piece of wood.

Partial homonyms:

A. Simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words which belong to the same category of parts of speech.(to) found-found ( find)

B.Complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are words of different categories of parts of speech.rose-rose, maid-made, left-left, bean-been, one-won

C.Partial lexical homonyms are words of the same category of parts of speech which are identical only in their corresponding forms.to lie (lay, lain), v. to lie (lied, lied), v.to hang (hung, hung), v.to hang (hanged, hanged), v.to can (canned, canned) (I) can (could)


1)phonetic changes-historical development of words(knight-night),

2) borrowing-a borrowed word may dublicate in form(rite-to write-right. rite here is a Latin borrowing)

3)conversion (comb-to comb)

4)shortening(fan-from fanatic, fan-an implement to make a current of air)

5)sound imitation (bang звук расческа)

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