Semasiology. Word meaning. Polysemy. Homonymy.
1. Semasiology is the branch of the study of language dealing with the meaning of words and word equivalents. If treated synchronically semasiology deals not with individual words but with semantic structures typical of the language studied and of its general semantic system. If treated diachronically semasiology studies the change in meaning which words undergo. Thus the main aims of semasiology are distinctive features and types of lexical meaning, polysemy and semantic structure of words, semantic development of words, its changes and classification, semantic groupings in the vocabulary system (synonyms, antonyms etc).
2. Semasiology deals mostly with notional words. Actually the definition of a word as a maximum free from holds good for notional words only. It is only notional words that can stand alone, have meaning and form a complete utterance. They can name different objects of reality, the qualities of these objects and actions in which they take part. In sentences they may function both as primary or secondary members. Form or functional words on the contrary are lexical units which are in reference to them. This group comprises auxiliary verbs, prepositions and conjunctions. Primarily they express grammatical relationships between words. At the same time we can’t see that they have no lexical meaning of their own.
3. Lexical meaning of a word is the realization of the notion by means of a definite language system. Thus lexical 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. The lexical meaning of a word may have several components. First of all, the denotational components which make communication possible, in other words it is the notional content of a word. They may have connotational components in which we distinguish emotive charge, stylistic reference, expressivity and evaluation.
4. Words may have more than one meaning. Such words are called polysemantic. Polysemy exists only in language. All the meanings of a polysemantic word form its semantic structure. In other words it is defined as a structural set of interrelated elements. The semantic structure of a word is also a fact of language, not of speech. Every separate meaning of a word in its semantic structure is called a lexica-semantic variant. Lexica-semantic variants may be direct \ nominative and figurative, abstract and concrete, main \ primary and secondary, narrow extended, general and particular, stylistically neutral and stylistically coloured, archaic \ obsolete and present-day \ modern, the original ones and tee rived ones etc. One and the same LSV may belong to different groups.
5. The problem of polysemy is mainly the problem of interrelation and interdependence of the various meanings of the same polysemantic word. Polysemy may be view synchronically and diachronically. If view synchronically, it is understood as coexistence of the various meaning of eth same word at a certain period of time and the arrangement of these meanings in the semantic structure of the word. Polysemy viewed diachronically is a historical change in the meanings being added to the words already existing and in the rearrangement of these meaning in its semantic structure.
6. There are various types of semantic changes. All the types depend upon some comparison between the earlier and the new meaning of a given word. Semantic changes are usually classified as: enlargement or extension of meaning, narrowing, generalization, specialization, transfer, metaphor and metonymy, irradiation, amelioration, pejoration.
Narrowing of meaning \ specialization
Deor (old Eng) = wild animal, mid Eng = олень, modern Eng deer - олень
Hund (old) - cобака, hound (modern) - гончая
When meaning is narrowed and specialized the word means fewer objects. It means it gas fewer reference.
Amelioration (улучшение) \ elevation (возвышение)
It is a semantic shift undergone by words due to their reference coming up the social scale.
* cwen (old Eng) – a woman, later = queen.
The reverse process is Pejoration (уничижение) or degradation of meaning. It involves a lowering in social scale connected with the appearance of a derogatory and scornful emotional tone reflecting the disdain of the upper classes towards the lower ones.
* cnafa (old Eng) = a boy, knave = a servant. It became a term of abuse and scorn.
Generalization or widening of meaning.
We speak about this process when the word is applied to a give variety of reference. In most cases it may be combined with the higher order of abstraction, then in the notion expressed by earlier meaning. It is very typical of words to develop their concrete meaning to abstract ones.
* ridan (old Eng) – a person prepared for a ride. Now = to ride a horse, then to ride a bicycle, etc.
Transferal meaning. Metaphor
It is a transferal name based on the association of similarity and thus is actually a hidden comparison. * a fox – a cunning person. Metaphors may be based upon different types of similarity. 1) Similarity of shape *a head – a cabbage 2) analogy between duration of time and space *long speech – long distance 3) transition of proper names into common ones * a Don Juan, a Friday
In metonymy this transference is based on association of contiguity. This transfer may be conditioned by spatial, temporal, causal, symbolic, instrumental, functional and other connections. * chair (председатель) – spatial, she wears fox.
Hyperbole \ exaggeration
It is an exaggerated statement not meant to be understood literary but expressing an intensely emotional attitude of a spoken to what he is speaking about. Some of the most frequent emphatic words are awfully and terribly.
Litotes \ understatement
It may be defined as expressing the affirmative by the negative.
* good – not bad, great – not small, brave – not coward. It is used only in speech.
It is an expression of one’s feeling by words of opposite meaning/
* You’ve got us into a nice (=bad) mess.
It is the substitution of words of mild of vague connotations for expressions rough, unpleasant or for some other reason unmentionable. Within the diachronic approach the phenomenon has been repeatedly regarded by many linguists as taboo. With primitive people taboo is a prohibition meant as a safeguard against supernatural forces. (* Bear). With people of developed culture euphemism has nothing to do with taboo. It is dictated by social usage, moral tact and etiquette.
* to die – to pass away, mad – queer.
Causes of semantic changes
There are 2 types of causes. WE must distinguish linguistic and extra linguistic causes.
3 types of linguistic changes
1) differentiation between synonyms
land – земля - had the meaning the territory of the land
country – borrowed from French, but both denoted the territory of the land
country – state – new meaning. The process of discrimination of synonyms.
2) changes taking place in connection with ellipses and with fixed contexts
3) changes resulting from ambiguity in certain contexts
In the 16th century the verb to starve meant to die of hunger whereas originally it meant to die simply but was habitually used with the noun hunger.
Extra linguistic causes are observed in changes of meaning resulting from:
1) The development of the notion expressed and the thing named
*atom (old Greek) – indivisible. This meaning was lost. The word could be metaphorically used in the meaning of a tiny creature.
The changes of notions and things named go hand in hand.
7. Homonyms proper are words identical in pronunciation and spelling but different in meaning.
*seal – печать, тюлень
Words different in sound and meaning but accidentally identical in spelling are called homographs. * lead
Words of same sound but different in meaning and spelling are called homophones. *Buy – bye
Homonyms proper are classified into full homonyms and partial homonyms. Full homonyms are lexical when they are grammatically identical in all forms and differ only in lexical meaning.
*mass – масса, месса
Full homonyms are lexica-grammatical if their forms coincide but they belong to different parts of speech. *after – preposition and adverb
Partial homonyms are lexical when they coincide only in one form.
*Found (to find) – to found
Partial lexica-grammatical homonyms are different grammatical forms of the words of one syntactic class.
*Asked – past indefinite and past perfect (simple homonymy)
Or they belong to different syntactic classes
* seals - печати
He seals – present simple (complex homonymy)
Causes which bring about Homonymy
1) sound development which causes words of different origin to coincide in sound
*lufian (old Eng) – verb
lufu (noun) - love
2) Change of meaning, divergent sense development
*flour (middle English) – цветок, колос
Flower and flour – different words
3) both may be combined with loss of endings and other morphological processes and changes of spelling.
The problems of homonymy
The main problem of homonymy is the criteria of distinguishing it from polysemy. 1) According to the etymological criterion homonyms are words having different sources. 2) According to the criteria of spelling homomorphemes are excluded from homonyms and only homographs remain. 3) When homonyms belong to different parts of speech they differ not only in their semantic structure but also in their syntactic function, the paradigm and in distribution. 4) The criteria of context are not very reliable. Homonyms are used in different contexts because their meaning is different, but different lexica-semantic variants of a polysemantic word are also realized in different contexts. 5) the semantic criteria is the most important according to it homonyms have unrelated meanings, whereas different meanings of a polysemantic word are related to each other, but the difficulty is in which meanings it should be considered related and in which not. That’s why words may be described by some dictionaries as homonyms and by others as lexica-semantic variants of a polysemantic word.
*fellow – feoh (olg Eng) – ругательство, скотина
Marshal – mara + scalh (old Eng, German) – лошадь+слуга = конюх
Duke – вождь, герцог
A green man – неопытный человек
|Semantics – the branch of lexicology which studies the perception of meaning of the words Semasiology||Правила объявления переменных в языке программирования Object Pascal. Для чего нужны типы объявляемые пользователем? Правила объявления типов в языке программирования Object Pascal|
|Modern problems of Informatization” (с изданием материалов конференции в Science Book Publishing House, usa)|
Академия фсо россии (г. Орел), Донской государственный технический университет в период с 01 октября 2012 г по 31 января 2013 г проводят...
|Inside the C++ Object Model||On the Cusp of the Object Model|
|Object of a double verb||Функциональные возможности ib system object|
|Ai-approach to incremental design and implementation of object-oriented knowledge bases||Young problems. W|