English Lexicology A General Survey of English Vocabulary. Week 1: Feb. 24, 2009 Instructor: LIU Hongyong Course Website: sfs.scnu.edu.cn/tblogs/liuhy. Definition of Lexicology. Lexicology, as a branch of linguistics, is concerned with the study of the vocabulary of a particular language.
Week 1: Feb. 24, 2009
Instructor: LIU Hongyong
Course Website: sfs.scnu.edu.cn/tblogs/liuhy
the stock of words
all the words
Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some Caribbean countries.
The slight difference among them is that
They are in contrast to the word ‘dictionary’. A dictionary is simply a selective recording of the vocabulary (all the words) of a particular language at a specific point in time.
How many words are there in each of the following sentences?
I’m a student, and he is an English teacher.
He is a Chinese music teacher.
He is a Chinese English teacher.
He is an English Chinese music teacher.
The morning star is the evening star.
Where the bee sucks, there suck I
In a cowslip’s bell I lie.
The word-formsare different realizations ofthe lexeme
tall, taller, tallest tall
boy, boys boy
women, woman woman
see, sees, seeing, saw, seen see
give gives giving gave given
According to Bauer L. (1998), “the figures that are
usually cited for Shakespeare’s vocabulary, which credit him with knowing (or at least, having used – he probably knew a lot more, and seems to have invented a few!) about 30,000 different words, count word-forms rather than lexemes. If we counted lexemes, the result would be under 20,000.”
(30,000—word forms; 20,000—lexeme)
According to the orthographic definition of a word, a word is a sequence of letters bounded on either side by a space or punctuation mark. This definition is based on such activities as counting the number of words in an essay, a telegram, a shopping list, etc.
Problem: We cannot differentiate a word from a phrase.
A word should be a minimum unit.
Problem: Is a, if, not free or bound? “Free” in what sense?
Morphologically free, but syntactically bound.
pneumon (as in pneumonia),
ultra ‘extremely’ (as in ultraconservative),
microscopic(micr ‘small’, scop ‘view’, and -ic, which makes it an adjective.)
silic (as in silicon),
coni ( ‘dust’, as in coniology ‘study of the health effects of dust’),
-osis (‘disease’ as in tuberculosis’).
‘lung disease (caused by) microscopic volcanic silicon dust’
(Notice that the meaning ‘caused by’ is not carried by any particular elements in the word, but must be inferred from the other meanings)
Do you believe?
That is absurd and ridiculous, but it is our tradition!
Do you believe?
Do you believe?
How come the ancient Chinese people had such unbelievable beliefs? Is it just superstition?
Do you believe? Even new born babies know this secret.Words have powers!
It may not be utter superstition. There is also wisdom in the idioms. Then how should we treat our culture and tradition?
The photograph, taken in July 1888 in Brewster, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows eight-year-old Helen Keller seated next to her teacher, Anne Sullivan, as they hold hands.
Helen Keller is an inspiration for all generations.
The spilling of water and Anne’s spelling of the word w-a-t-e-r into Helen’s palm made Helen understand the magic power of words.
endeavour (try) edifice (building)
visualize (foresee) matrimony (marriage)
purchase (buy) locate (find)
behold (see) belike (probably)
perchance (by chance, possibly)
chaise, landau, victoria, gig
(horse wagon in the 19th century: )
array (dress) the deep (the sea)
stead (horse) morn (morning)
She put on her finest array.
Feeling fatigued, Tomretired early. (literary)
Tom felt so dog-tired. He hit the sack early. (colloquial)
John was dismissed for petty thieving. (common)
John was fired for petty thieving. (colloquial)
Classification of English Words: archaic words & poetical words. Notion: function words and content words
Helping a language
build structures (grammatical meaning)
Helping a language have lexical meanings
flesh & blood
bones & tendons
The first stanza of the ‘Jabberwocky’ song in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
’Twas brilling, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the boro-goves,
And the mome raths out-grabe.
1) identify the grammatical category that each word must or most probably belong to;
2) single out words whose category seems difficult to determine;
3) rewrite this stanza with English words, using your own imagination, and upload it to our course blog.
’Twas raining, and the aging trees
Did weep and wail in the ode:
All sweaty were the chimpanzees,
And the busy rats burrowed .
fault (French by origin)+ the English suffix –less
The English prefix un- +certain (French by origin)
coup d’etat (政变）
It includes the most frequently used words that are essential to life, and words denoting the most fundamental things of life.