English linguistics 1
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English Linguistics 1. 3 What's in a word: lexicology 3.1Conceptual and lexical categories 3.1.1Conceptual categories 3.1.2Lexical categories 3.2Words and meanings 3.2.1Routes to meaning 3.2.2What is meaning?. 3.3Lexical fields 3.4Lexical relations/meaning relations

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English Linguistics 1

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English linguistics 1

English Linguistics 1


English linguistics 1

3 What's in a word: lexicology

3.1Conceptual and lexical categories

3.1.1Conceptual categories

3.1.2Lexical categories

3.2Words and meanings3.2.1Routes to meaning3.2.2What is meaning?

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3.3Lexical fields

3.4Lexical relations/meaning relations

3.4.1.Synonymy

3.4.2.Relationships of contrast

3.4.3.Hierarchical relationships

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3.5Lexical ambiguity

3.5.1Polysemy

3.5.2Homonymy

3.6Metaphor and metonymy

3.6.1Metaphor

3.6.2Metonymy

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3.1 Conceptual and lexical categories

aspects focused on so far:signs - the link between their (material) form and meaning / function

in order to get a better understanding of the nature of language:a 'look' into the minds of the speakers /

the conceptual world –

the pre-linguistic world

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3.1.1 Conceptual categories

concept:

a person's 'idea' of what something in the world is likee.g. 'mother', 'dog'– single entities

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humans tend to 'slice' reality into discernible units 

→ conceptual categories

whenever we perceive sth.

we attempt to categorize it,

e.g. piece of music

classification as

jazz, rock, pop, classical, techno, ethno, world music etc. 

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conceptual categories laid down / expressed in language

= linguistic categories (signs)

we all have made experience

that there are more concepts

than linguistic expressions,

e.g. when we try to describe a phenomenon knowing that there is no exact term;

different from just not knowing a term!

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conceptual categories/stage

linguistic categories/level

other modes of expression

lexicon

syntax/grammar

sign

form

meaning

realization as sound

Fig. 3-1: Fromconcepttosound (simplified)

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What makes the step from concept to linguisticcategory so interesting?

problems / questions:

- Are concepts universal/ the same for all humans?

- Are concepts socio-culturally determined?

- What happens when concepts are 'translated' into languages?

no attempt at definite answers!

just a glimpse at some phenomena

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compare expressions for same concept in different languages:

E

F

GHufeisen

I

→ different languages may 'translate' the same phenomenon differently – the construal / construction of the 'world' in linguistic items

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Signs differently motivated:

E , F, I – relationship between the animal as a whole and the protecting device

G –

F, I, G –

E –

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Egrand piano -

Fpiano à queue -

GFlügel -

F and G

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concept: 'part of the street for pedestrians'

BEpavement -

AEsidewalk -

Ftrottoir - from trotter:

GGehsteig -

Bürgersteig -

AuGTrottoir - see French, but?

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so far: conceptual categories 'translated'

 words or lexical categories

similar relationships applies also to 'translation'

grammatical categories

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different ways of saying more or less the same thing

Look at that rain.

same lexical category: rain

different word classes: (1) noun, (2) verb

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E kiss

Navajo

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Summary:

when transforming a concept into a linguistic category languages may focus on different characteristics / features of the concept and make this characteristic the most prominent by expressing it linguistically,

at the same time – disregard other features;

the same applies to more complex conceptual phenomena

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3.1.2 Lexical categories

examples from 3.1.1 relatively 'clear' (horse-shoe, piano, pavement)

definition/ description of their

'lexical meaning'

can be agreed upon by different people

other cases add another dimension,

e.g. vase?

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ex. vase

many different shapes and types -

common denominator:

'container for flowers'

question: whatisourconceptof a typical 'vase'?

Fig. 3-2

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ex. chair:

task: draw a picture of a 'chair', that comes to your mind, do not think too long about it, there is no 'right' or 'wrong'

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the most typical or best member

– the subtype that first comes to mind

= prototype / prototypical member

≠ peripheral members

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Fig. 3-3: Chairs

category of stools different from chairs –

lack of a back

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Fig. 3-4: A selectionofthedrawingsofcup-likeobjectsusedbyLabov

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  • centre firmly established

  • boundaries far from absolute

  • fuzzy, overlap

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3.2 Words and meanings

3.2.1 Routes to meaning

Two starting points:

1. word which senses?

2. concept which words?

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ad 1.

dictionary fruit a, b, c, d…..

word form  list of various senses

= semasiology (Greek sema 'sign')

Look up the senses/meanings of 'fruit' in the DCE or another monolingual dictionary (at least 5 to 6 meanings):

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fruit /fru:t/ n plural fruit or fruits

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ad 2.

onomasiology (Greek ónoma 'name')

concept list of words which denote the same or similar concepts

use a dictionary of synonyms to find synonyms for the concept of 'fruit':

(thesaurus, synonym finder)

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fruit, n.

a.

b.

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3.2.2 What is meaning?

 no generally accepted definition of 'meaning'

suggestion (1):

words name or label things in the world,

two aspects are taken care of:

distinction between denotation and reference

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  • denotation – class of things indicated by a word

  • reference – a particular thing when the word is used

    e.g. A cat.

    A cat.

    Three men .

    Three men.

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suggestion (2):

two aspects -

all 'things' in the world the expression can be used to refer to

and the inherent / internal characteristics or features

distinction between extension and intension

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  • extension –

    all things, facts, abstract ideas …

    which can be referred to by the same linguistic expression

    (= ~ denotation, see above)

  • intension –

    the features which define the expression

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exs.:

eveningstar,

morningstar –

different intension,

same extension

=

Tony Blair(extension)

different intensions (up to 2007):

the prime minister of GB, the Labour leader, Cherie's husband

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suggestion (3):

the semantic triangle –

room for the idea, the concept

signifié

signified

Begriff

chose

thing

Sache

signifiant

signifier

Bezeichnung

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Other types of meaning

(so far: 'denotation and reference')

e.g.

That girl is a real cat. ('unpleasant woman')

cat – different from cat1 (denotation)

they differ in denotation - they also differ in the associations that come to our mind

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+ types of meaning which refer to associations that words have for us

connotation / connotational meanings

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Try to complete the types:

individualassociations:

woman

stylistic or social:

give other choices with a stylistic difference

domicile -

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regional:

editorial –

petrol –

chips –

reflected meaning:

the Holy Ghost,

the Comforter

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collocational meaning

'goodlooking, attractive'

pretty - handsome

pretty + [ ]

handsome + [ ]

different in their collocations

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languages differ in the collocational range of words

G Nase, Zähne, Schuheputzen

E

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