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The meaning of the word, its components
The word is one of the fundamental units of language. It is a dialectal unity of form and content. Its content or meaning is not identical to notion, but it may reflect human notion, but it may reflect human notion and is considered as the form of their existence. So the definition of a word is one of the most difficult in linguistics, because the simplest word has many different aspects: a sound form, its morphological structure, it may occur in different word-forms and have various meanings.
It is universally recognized that word meaning is not homogeneous, but it is made up of various components, which are described as types of meaning. There are 2 types of meaning to be found in words and word forms:
Such word forms as “girls”, “writers”, “tables”, etc., though denoting different objects of reality have smth in common, namely the grammatical meaning of plurality, which can be found in all of them. Thus, the grammatical meaning is the component of meaning in the word forms of verbs (asked, thought, walked, etc.) or the case meaning in the word forms of various nouns (girls, boys, nights).
Word forms “speaks”, “reads”, “writers” have one and the same grammatical meaning as they can all be found in identical distributation, only after pronouns “she”, “he”, “they” and before such adverbs and adverbal phrases as “yesterday”, “last years”, “two hours ago”, etc.
The grammatical aspect of the part of speech meaning is conveyed as a rule by individual sets of word forms expressing the grammatical meaning of singularity (e.g. table) plurality (tables) and so on.
A verb is understood to possess sets of forms expressing, for instance, tense meaning (works-worked), mood meaning (work – I work).
The part of speech meaning of the words that possess but one form, e.g. prepositions, some adverbs, etc., is observed only in their disrtibutations (c.f. to come in (here, there) and in (on, under) the table).
Besides the grammatical meaning, there is another component of meaning. Unlike the grammatical meaning this component is identical in all the forms of the word. Thus the word-forms “go”, “goes”, “went”, “going” possess different grammatical meanings of tense, person and so on, but in each of these forms we find one and the same semantic component denoting the process of movement. This is the lexical meaning of the word, which may be described as the component of meaning proper to the word as a linguistic unit.
Thus, by lexical meaning we designate1 the meaning proper to the given linguistic unit in all its forms and disrtibutations, while by grammatical meaning we designate the meaning proper to sets of word forms common to all words of a certain class.
Both lexical and the grammatical meanings make up the word meaning as neither can exist without the other.
The interrelation of the lexical and the grammatical meaning and the role, played by each varies in different word classes and evening different groups of words within one and the same class. In some parts of speech the prevailing component is the grammatical type of meaning. The lexical meaning of prepositions is, as a rule, relatively vague2 (cf. to think/speak of smb., independent of smb., one of the friends, the room of the house). The lexical meaning of some preposition, however, may be comparatively distinct (cf. in/on/under the table). In verbs the lexical meaning usually comes to the fore3, although in some of them, the verb “to be”, e.g. the grammatical meaning of a linking element prevails (cf. “he works as a teacher”).
Proceeding with the semantic analysis we observe that lexical meaning may be analyzed as including denotational and connotational components. One of the functions of words is to denote things, concepts and so on. Users of a language cannot have only knowledge or thought of the object or phenomena of the real world around them, unless this knowledge is ultimately embodied in words, which have essentially the same meaning for all speakers of the language. This is the denotational meaning, i.e. that component of which the lexical meaning makes the communication possible.
The connotational meaning4 is the second component of lexical meaning. This component or the connotation includes the emotive charge and the stylistic value of the word.
Emotive charge is a part of the connotational meaning of a word; e.g. a hovel5 denotes “a small house or cottage” and besides implies6 that it is a miserable dwelling place, duty in bad repair and, in general, unpleasant place to live in.
When examing such groups of words as “large”, “big”, “tremendous” and “like”, “love”, “worship” and “girl”, “girlie” we observe the difference in the emotive charge of the words “tremendous”, “worship” and “girlie” is heavier than those of words “large”, “like” and “girl”.
The emotive charge does not depend on the “feeling” of the individual speaker, but is true for all speakers of English. The emotive charge is one of the objective semantic features of word as linguistic units and forms part of the connotational component of meaning.
But it should be confused with emotive implication that the words may acquire in speech. The emotive implication of the word is to a great extent selective as it greatly depends on the personal experience of the speaker, the mental imagery7 the word envokes in him.
Learning objection of the lecture ”The meaning of the word, its components”
After you have studied the lecture, you should be able:
2 неясный, смутный
3 выходить, выдвигаться вперед
4 Сопутствующее значение, то, что подразумевается
5 Лачуга, хибара
7 Образ(ы), образность
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