Collocative meaning - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Slide1 l.jpg
1 / 95

  • Updated On :
  • Presentation posted in: General

Collocative meaning. Collocative meaning consists of the associations a word acquires on account of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its environment . .

Related searches for Collocative meaning

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

Collocative meaning

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Slide1 l.jpg

Collocative meaning

Slide2 l.jpg

Collocative meaning consists of the associations a word acquires on account of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its environment.

Slide3 l.jpg

Pretty and handsome share common ground in the meaning "good-looking", but may be distinguished by the range of nouns with which they are likely to co-occur.

Slide4 l.jpg

Girl boy

boy man

woman car

flower vessel

pretty garden handsome overcoat

colour airliner

village typewriter

etc. etc.

Slide5 l.jpg

The ranges may well, of course, overlap: handsome woman and pretty woman are both acceptable, although they suggest a different kind of attractiveness because of the collocative associations of the two adjectives.

Slide6 l.jpg

Further examples are quasi-synonymous verbs such as wander and stroll (cows may wander, but may not stroll ) or tremble and quiver (one trembles with fear, but quivers with excitement).

Slide7 l.jpg

Not all differences in potential co-occurrence need to be explained as collocative meaning: some may be due to stylistic differences, others to conceptual differences.

Slide8 l.jpg

It is the incongruity of combining unlike styles that makes " He mounted his gee-gee" or " He got on his steed "an improbable combination.

Slide9 l.jpg

On the other hand, the acceptability of “The donkey ate hay", as opposed to “The donkey ate silence", is a matter of compatibility on the level of conceptual semantics

Slide10 l.jpg

Only when explanation in terms of other categories of meaning does not apply do we need to invoke the special category of collocative meaning.

Collocative meaning is simply an idiosyncratic property of individual words.

Slide11 l.jpg


Slide12 l.jpg

According to Leech,pretty andhandsome both mean“nice-looking”,but their collocative meanings differ,because they co-occur with different words and they suggest two kinds of beauty.

Slide13 l.jpg

But how do we interpret such words as “good, strong and high” when they collocate respectively with “chance, likelihood, probability, possibility”?

Slide14 l.jpg

good likelihood strong likelihood *high likelihood

*good probability strong probability high probability

good possibility strong possibility *high possibility

good chance *strong chance * high chance

Slide15 l.jpg

Leech might say:good goes with “chance, likelihood, possibility”,strong collocates with “likelihood, probability, possibility”,high modifies “likelihood, probability” ,The differences in collocations represent the differences in collocative meaning.

Slide16 l.jpg

If we say pretty and handsome will give rise to associations about different kinds of beauty,then what kind of “bigness” do “good, strong and high”convey in our mind?

Slide17 l.jpg


When “able” is used predicatively, or when it is used as a modifier of another noun,it can be collocated with “very, really, quite”,not the words “perfectly, well, totally”,e.g.

Slide18 l.jpg

Mary is very (really, quite)


Mary is a very (really, quite)

able student.

*Mary is perfectly (well,

totally) able.

*Mary is a perfectly (well, totally) able student.

Slide19 l.jpg

But in the pattern,“be able to do sth.”, it can not be collocated with “very”. It can,however, collocate with the words “really, quite, perfectly, well, totally, for example:

*Mary is very able to give the lecture.

Mary is really (quite, perfectly, well,

totally) able to give the lecture.

Slide20 l.jpg

Leech’s collocative theory is a waste basket theory in the sense that when the combination of words cannot be explained, it will be thrown into the waste basket.

Slide21 l.jpg

Leech’s definition of collocative meaning seems to be clearcut. But when we use his definition to analyse collocative meaning, we often find it difficult to find a demarcation line between collocative meaning and other kinds of meaning.

Slide22 l.jpg

First,the seven kinds of meanings are not well defined in that very often there are overlapping between them. Let’s examine Leech’s comment on “pretty and handsome” again.

Slide23 l.jpg

“Pretty and handsome” share common ground in the meaning "good-looking", but may be distinguished by the range of nouns with which they are likely to co-occur.

Slide24 l.jpg

Girl boy

boy man

woman car

flower vessel

pretty garden handsome overcoat

colour airliner

village typewriter

etc. etc.

Slide25 l.jpg

Then he points out: “The ranges may well overlap: handsome woman and pretty woman are both acceptable, although they suggest a different kind of attractiveness because of the collocative associations of the two adjectives.”

Slide26 l.jpg

Leech believes that both “handsome woman” and “pretty woman” are acceptable, but they are associated with different kinds of beauty. In fact, their co-occurrence can also be well explained with reference to conceptual meaning or to connotative meaning.

Slide27 l.jpg

In his discussion of connotative meaning,Leech points out: “In talking about connotation, I am in fact talking about the ‘real world’ experience one associates with an expression when one uses or hears it.”

见Leech的Semantics: the study of meaning 第12-13页

Slide28 l.jpg

He cites“woman” as an example,in the past woman has been burdened with such attributes as “frail, prone to tears, cowardly, emotional, irrational, inconstant, as well as gentle, compassionate, sensitive, hard working, etc..”All these have formed part of the connotations of the word “woman”.According to his theory of connotation, we can well conclude that the differences in “pretty’ and “handsome” are different associations that they give rise to in users’ mind.

Slide29 l.jpg


[+delicacy, +superficial, -manliness,-big,



[+vigor, +dignity, +big, +manliness]

The differences in connotations have affected their collocations or co-occurrence.

Slide30 l.jpg

From the angle of conceptual meaning, Leech has neglected that the conceptual meaning is often affected by the collocation so that new meanings may be derived from the original meanings of a word.

Slide31 l.jpg



Slide32 l.jpg

  • handsome: A woman who is handsome has an attractive, smart appearance, especially with features that are large and regular rather than small and delicate and that are considered to show strength of character.

  • A building ,garden, etc., that is handsome is large and well made with an attractive appearance.

(Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary)

Slide33 l.jpg

  • pretty: Someone ,especially a woman or girl, who is pretty is nice to look at and attractive in a delicate way.

  • A place or a thing that is pretty is nice to look

  • at in a rather conventional or superficial way.

  • (Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary)

    Slide34 l.jpg

    • handsome: (of a man) good-looking, esp. in having regular, pleasing and well-defined features. 2. (of a woman)fine-looking in a dignified way. 3.well-proportioned, stately, or comely

    ( Collins English


    Slide35 l.jpg

    • pretty: 1.pleasing or appealing in a delicate or graceful way… 4. Informal: lacking masculinity; effeminate; foppish

    • ( Collins English Dictionary)

    Slide36 l.jpg

    • handsome: 1. chiefly dial: appropriate, suitable 2.moderately large 3. marked by skill or cleverness 4. marked by graciousness or generosity 5. having a pleasing and usu. impressive or dignified appearance

    (Webster New Collegiate Dictionary)

    Slide37 l.jpg

    • pretty: 1. artful and clever 2. a. pleasing by delicacy or grace b. Having conventionally accepted elements of beauty c. Appearing or sounding pleasant or nice but lacking strength force, manliness, purpose, or intensity…

    • (Webster New Collegiate Dictionary)

    Slide38 l.jpg


    Slide39 l.jpg



    见Leech的Semantics: the study of meaning第17页

    Slide40 l.jpg

    Tremble with fear

    Quiver with excitement

    但是字典对tremble 和quiver又是如何定义的呢?

    Slide41 l.jpg


    to shake involuntarily from fear, excitement, etc.

    (Longman Modern English Dictionary)

    to shake involuntarily with fear, anger, cold, physical weakness, etc.)

    (The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English with Chinese Translations)

    to shake involuntarily as with cold or fear

    (Collins English Dictionary)

    to shake involuntarily as with fear or cold

    (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

    Slide42 l.jpg


    to tremble, to shake with a slight, rapid movement

    (Longman Modern English Dictionary)

    to tremble slightly or vibrate

    (The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English with Chinese Translations)

    to shake with a rapid tremulous movement

    (Collins English Dictionary)

    to shake or move with a slight trembling motion

    (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

    Slide43 l.jpg


    Slide44 l.jpg

    虽然excitement 并不是tremble和quiver的区别性特征,但是由于人们已明确地把[fear]的附加语义特征看成是tremble语义特征的一部分,因此tremble with fear的搭配便是情理之中。

    Slide45 l.jpg


    Slide46 l.jpg

    在Charlotte Bronte的小说Jane Eyre中,作者共使用了shiver七次,它的搭配以及出现的情景语境都与cold紧密结合,如:

    Slide47 l.jpg

    • …it was bitter cold, and I dressed as well as I could for shivering, … (chapter 5)

    • Mr. Mason, shivering as some one chanced to open the door, asked for more coal to be put on the fire,…(chapter 18)

    Slide48 l.jpg

    • I was burdened with the charge of a little child: a very small creature, too young and feeble to walk, and which shivered in my cold arms…

    • (chapter 25)

    • I looked at my love: that feeling which was my master's- which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle;

    • (Chapter 26)

    Slide49 l.jpg


    shiver :to shake or tremble as from cold or fear

    (Collins English Dictionary)

    shiver: to shake especially with cold or


    (Longman Modern English Dictionary)

    shiver: to tremble or shake, as with fear,

    cold or excitement

    (The Cassell encyclopaedia Dictionary)

    Slide50 l.jpg

    虽然在The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English with Chinese Translations中可见quiver with cold这一搭配性使用,但是[cold]作为一个附加语义特征还没有注入到quiver的理性语义之中。因此,完全有理由认为,shiver和quiver的以上搭配同样是词汇语义不同的结果。

    Slide51 l.jpg


    Slide52 l.jpg


    Slide53 l.jpg


    Slide54 l.jpg


    Slide55 l.jpg

    In her anger, she absolutely screamed at him.

    *In her anger, she absolutely spoke to him.


    Slide56 l.jpg

    我们再看rightly与know的搭配。Rightly具有“指说话人”这一语义特征。比如在I don’t rightly know这句话中,有一些表示歉意的意思,这只能适用于说话人;我们从来不说You don’t rightly know,但是我们可以说He didn’t rightly know,意思是“他说他并不知道”。这里在从句中的“他”就是说话人。

    Slide57 l.jpg

    Judge是不可分等级词,它的语义特征之一就是[… -gradable],因此在搭配语义上与very much不兼容,但是misjudge却是可分等级的,含有[…+gradable]的语义特征,因为misjudge表示判断的结果,并且也有评估含义,因此与very much在搭配语义上是兼容的。如:

    Slide58 l.jpg

    *He very much judged the situation

    *He badly(作为强势语) misjudged the situation.

    He very much misjudged the situation.

    He badly misjudged the situation.

    要注意的是若把 以上句子中的“badly”理解为方式状语或结果状语,那么它必须位于句末位置上,如:

    He judged the situation badly.

    Slide59 l.jpg


    calculate miscalculate

    estimate , overestimate, underestimate

    represent misrepresent

    behave misbehave

    manage mismanage

    Slide60 l.jpg


    26) I like the fellow.

    27) I like the person.

    Slide61 l.jpg

    从like, fellow以及person的语义特征来分析,like与fellow和person在理念语义上是相容的。用Leech的话来说,也就是它们的结合可以从其它语义范畴中得到解释,因此不属于搭配语义研究的范畴。但是孤立地研究一个句子是否属于搭配语义很难具有说服力,试比较:

    Slide62 l.jpg











    Slide63 l.jpg


    Slide64 l.jpg

    我们还可以发现如果用guy, man, girl, woman, bastard 替代例28)中的fellow,以上含义仍然存在;但是如果我们用gentleman, lady, Elizabeth, person等词去替换fellow,以上含义就会消失。这种词的结合导致的含义差别不是我们从理念语义或Leech意义上的其它联想语义所能解决的,因此,在讨论搭配语义时不应忽视语音的作用。

    Slide65 l.jpg


    He is a French teacher.

    孤立地来看French teacher,我们很难判别French在与teacher搭配时是什么意思。

    Slide66 l.jpg

    但是在特定超音位的语境中,当我们赋予French一个主重音,Teacher一个次重音,这时,He is a French teacher就有了明确的意义,即:他是一位法语教师。

    A ˊFrench ,teacher teaches French.

    Slide67 l.jpg

    如果我们赋予French一个次重音,teacher一个主重音,这时He is a French teacher中的French表示法国国籍:

    A ,French ˊteacher is French.

    Slide68 l.jpg

    Old, new, pure, wrong在与名词搭配时有时并不直接描绘名词所表示的对象,常常是在转意的基础上与名词构成语义关联。在语音上,重音常常落在形容词上,试比较:

    Slide69 l.jpg

    my ˊold ,friend (old: long known or long familiar) 不可以转换成 :

    *My friend is old.

    my ˊnew ,friend不可以转换成 :

    *My friend is new.

    a ˊpure ,scientist不可以转换成 :

    * The scientist is pure.

    theˊwrong ,applicant不可以转换成:

    *The applicant is wrong.

    Slide70 l.jpg


    Slide71 l.jpg


    Slide72 l.jpg

    * They very badly treated me.

    They treated me very badly.

    They were badly treated.

    They were treated badly.


    Slide73 l.jpg


    He put the point well.

    *He well put the point.

    Slide74 l.jpg


    I can understand your point well.

    I can well understand your point.

    Slide75 l.jpg



    Slide76 l.jpg

    We walked across the field, carrying heavy equipment.

    Across the field, we walked,carrying heavy equipment.

    Slide77 l.jpg


    Slide78 l.jpg

    They didn’t walk across the field, carrying heavy equipment.

    *Across the field, they didn’t walk,

    carrying heavy equipment.

    Slide79 l.jpg


    Towards the fort, the soldiers marched.

    Slide80 l.jpg


    Slide81 l.jpg

    The soldiers didn’t march

    towards the fort.

    *Towards the fort,

    the soldiers didn’t march.

    Slide82 l.jpg



    He went to America from Japan.

    Slide83 l.jpg


    From Japan, he went to America.

    Slide84 l.jpg


    *To America, he went from Japan.

    Slide85 l.jpg


    Slide86 l.jpg

    有时这种盖然的关系会受到其他语言语境的影响。以worth while为例,Leech可能认为worth与while的共现不应归入搭配语义范畴,因为 worth 与while在理念语义上是相容的。

    Slide87 l.jpg


    Slide88 l.jpg

    英语允许worth与while之间插入一个物主代词,事实上很多字典把worth one’s while作为一种搭配被固定了下来,但是并不是所有的物主代词或名词所有格形式都可以自然处于one’s这一空位。换句话说,由于one’s语言语境的存在使得worth与while的共现产生了度的差异。

    Slide89 l.jpg

    在worth one’s while这一搭配中,your是连接worth和while最常见、最自然的成分,而普通名词或专有名词的所有格形式是最不可接受的,如:

    *It’s worth Brian’s while to learn a second language.

    *It’s worth a rich man’s while to help the poor.

    Slide90 l.jpg


    *Is it worth anybody’s while to take up

    a challenging job?

    Slide91 l.jpg

    就物主代词而言,处于one’s空位可接受性最低的是my, 对于以英语为母语的人来说,他们更倾向于把worth your while作为自然的搭配,尽管his的使用频率比其它物主代词要高,但低于your。

    Acceptable unacceptable

    your his their my anybody’s John’s

    Slide92 l.jpg

    • 对词的搭配语义的研究还必须考虑语用因素,试比较:

    • We always found him cheerful.

    • ?We always found him glad.

      • 符号?表示该句只有在特定的语境中才是可接受的。

    Slide93 l.jpg

    以英语为母语的人不难发现,在第一句中cheerful可以与found和him自然结合,形成有意义的语义结合链,而在第二句中,found him glad 要成为有意义的语义结合链,就必须借助语境,即交际双方具有共有知识。这种共有知识就是交际双方都知道导致him高兴的原因。

    Slide94 l.jpg


    Career woman, family man:

    以英国为例,男女有着明确的社会分工。传统的风俗是男人有着事业的追求,理应是家庭中“挣面包的人”;而女人的职业只能是在家庭伺候丈夫、孩子,做好男人所需的各种后勤工作。对家庭中的男女传统职能的划分在英语表达法 “career woman”和 “family man”中也得以体现。

    Slide95 l.jpg

    人们对独立词项 “woman”和 “man”传统的理解分别是“家庭妇女”和“职业男性”。英语中没有 “family woman”和 “career man”表达法足以证明这一点。无论是 “career woman”,还是 “family man”,它们所蕴涵的“职业女性”和“无职业男性”的概念由多个词来承担,从一个侧面反映了在英国传统社会中,他们不是主流。

  • Login