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Collocative meaning PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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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 . .

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Collocative meaning

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Collocative meaning


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


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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.


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Girl boy

boy man

woman car

flower vessel

pretty garden handsome overcoat

colour airliner

village typewriter

etc. etc.


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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.


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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).


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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.


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


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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


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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.


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2.Weakpoints:


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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.


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


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good likelihood strong likelihood *high likelihood

*good probability strong probability high probability

good possibility strong possibility *high possibility

good chance *strong chance * high chance


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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.


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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?


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able

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.


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Mary is very (really, quite)

able.

Mary is a very (really, quite)

able student.

*Mary is perfectly (well,

totally) able.

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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“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.


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Girl boy

boy man

woman car

flower vessel

pretty garden handsome overcoat

colour airliner

village typewriter

etc. etc.


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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.”


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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.


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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


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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.


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pretty

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

-dignity]

handsome

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

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


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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.


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事实上,词义发展的主要方式之一就是词与词在同现中词义间的相互影响。一个词初次被创造,一般都是单语义词,由于同现中联想的结果,使得语言使用者会把联想的成分注入到词的理性语义之中,一个词的理性意义就会受到影响。

就pretty和handsome而言,许多字典编撰人员已经把它们的一些联想语义看成是理性意义的一部分,例如:


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  • 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)


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  • 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)


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    • 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

    Dictionary)


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

    • ( Collins English Dictionary)


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    • 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)


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    • 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)


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    就理性意义而言,它的稳定性只是相对的,词的使用一旦与语言语境和非语言语境相联系就会产生许多语用性语义或临时性语义。这些语用性语义有时具有“累加性”,当语用性语义与语境的结合具有一定的稳定性时,旧的语言形式就会与新的内容之间形成超符号关系,产生新的理念语义。


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    由于理念语义尚存在动态变化,作为理念语义以外的各种具有开放性特征的附加语义更是如此。如何确定一个词与另一个词的结合属于搭配语义范畴或非搭配语义范畴就很难有一个明确的标准,专家各执己见,莫衷一是。

    Leech列举了tremble和quiver在搭配语义上的不同,例句如下:

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


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    Tremble with fear

    Quiver with excitement

    但是字典对tremble 和quiver又是如何定义的呢?


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    Tremble:

    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)


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    Quiver:

    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)


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    从以上可以看出,字典在对tremble进行释义时,语义较为具体、明确,几乎毫无例外都赋予tremble以[fear]的附加语义特征,而在对quiver进行定性时,并没有附加语义特征。


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    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。


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    在Leech看来,有必要引进搭配意义的概念是因为它们词义之间的语义结合从其它语义关系中得不到解释。但是问题是一个词的理性语义所包含的区别性语义特征并不是一层不变的,词与词之间的搭配以及它们搭配时所具有的语境本身对词的区别性语义特征会产生影响。


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    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:


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    • …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)


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    • 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)


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    正因如此,许多字典已把[cold]这一语义特征附加到shiver的理性语义之中,如:

    shiver :to shake or tremble as from cold or fear

    (Collins English Dictionary)

    shiver: to shake especially with cold or

    fear

    (Longman Modern English Dictionary)

    shiver: to tremble or shake, as with fear,

    cold or excitement

    (The Cassell encyclopaedia Dictionary)


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    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。


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    三、对搭配语义的思考


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    词的搭配是词的重要特征。词的搭配意义的研究应涉及到对一个词的词汇意义、联想意义、语法意义和语用意义的综合作用研究。如果只是把词的搭配意义限制在“只有在按照意义的其它范畴都解释不通的时候,我们才需要求助于搭配意义这个特殊范畴”之中,那么搭配语义也就失去了它的研究价值和魅力,也就使搭配语义过于简单化。


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    词的搭配意义的研究应该是对一个词在语音、句法、语义和语用四个层面上与其它词的连接能力的研究,应该是各个语义范畴相容能力的研究。


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    一个词是否能与另一个词搭配与这个词的语义特征有着重要的联系。每个词都有其相对稳定的语义特征库。这个语义特征库包括词在使用时的语法语义特征、以及理性语义特征和理性语义以外的其它语义特征。这些特征决定了一个词与另一个词的结合是常规结合还是反常规结合。以Absolutely为例,


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    In her anger, she absolutely screamed at him.

    *In her anger, she absolutely spoke to him.

    Absolutely与scream搭配是规约搭配,它与speak的搭配是非常规搭配,这是因为absolutely作为强调语修饰动词时在它的语义特征中常要求它的谓体具有某种“夸张”的语义特征。


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    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。


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    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:


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    *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.


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    在此用法上与judge和misjudge相类似的词还有:

    calculate miscalculate

    estimate , overestimate, underestimate

    represent misrepresent

    behave misbehave

    manage mismanage


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    在语音方面,语言的超音位特征将影响到词与词之间的搭配意义。例如:

    26) I like the fellow.

    27) I like the person.


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    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:


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    28)

    like

    I

    the

    fellow.

    29)

    like

    I

    the

    person.


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    当我们赋予以上例句相同的超音位特征时,我们会发现例28)中包含着这样一层含义:“尽管别人可能不喜欢他,但我喜欢他”。这一层含义是例29)所不具有的。


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    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。


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    超音位特征对语义搭配的影响在英语中是司空见惯的。例如:

    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。


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    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.


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    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.


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    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:


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    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.


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    词与词的搭配不仅涉及到词与词在意义上的相容关系,也受到词的语法语义的限制。这里所说的语法语义不只是传统的词在“数”、“时”、“格”等方面的意义,而是词在句中的分配位置,或它能在句法中占有的空间。相同的词在与不同的词结合时,它所能占据的句法空间是不一样的。


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    换句话说,它们所要求的语言语境可能是不一样的。以Badly为例,badly与动词treat语义之间存在相容关系并不一定导致可接受的搭配。从共现的角度来看,与treat共现的词可能是一些表示treat方式词,badly是其中之一:


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    * They very badly treated me.

    They treated me very badly.

    They were badly treated.

    They were treated badly.

    从以上badly的句法功能来看,它充当了方式附加状语的功能,在主动句中,当方式附加状语是信息的中心,且是动词的必具性状语,它就只能处于句末的位置。在被动句中,badly所占的句法空间比较自由,可紧占据treat前位,也可紧占据treat后位。


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    Well作为方式状语时,如果它是动词的必具性状语,那么它必须处在句末的位置上,如:

    He put the point well.

    *He well put the point.


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    如果它不是动词的必具性方式状语,它就既可以位于句末位置上,也可以位于情态动词与实意动词之间,如:

    I can understand your point well.

    I can well understand your point.


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    Across:

    当across作为方向或目标语状语成为谓体的附加状语时,在肯定句中,across可以移至句首,如:


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    We walked across the field, carrying heavy equipment.

    Across the field, we walked,carrying heavy equipment.


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    但是在否定句中,由于这类状语往往是否定的焦点,所以在否定句中,across引导的方向或目标附加状语通常都不跳出否定结构范围之外,如:


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

    *Across the field, they didn’t walk,

    carrying heavy equipment.


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    当towards作为方向或目标语状语成为谓体的附加状语时,在肯定句中,towards可以移至句首,如:

    Towards the fort, the soldiers marched.


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    但是在否定句中,由于这类状语往往是否定的焦点,所以在否定句中,towards引导的方向或目标附加状语通常都不跳出否定结构范围之外,如:


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    The soldiers didn’t march

    towards the fort.

    *Towards the fort,

    the soldiers didn’t march.


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    Go

    在英语中go经常带起一个方向或目标附加状语和一个来源附加状语,如:

    He went to America from Japan.


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    当方向或目标附加状语与来源附加状语同时出现时,其中的来源附加状语可以移至句首,如:

    From Japan, he went to America.


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    但是在方向或目标附加状语和来源附加状语同时出现时,其中的方向或目标附加状语不可以移至句首,如:

    *To America, he went from Japan.


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    词的搭配意义的研究最终是对词的共现的研究,由于语义不是有和无的关系,而是或多或少的关系,这就使得词与词之间的搭配关系也是一种盖然的关系。


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    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。


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    即使两个词在理念语义、内涵语义、社会语义、情感语义、反映语义等方面具有相容性也不意味着它们的共现就是可接受的。


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    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。


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    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.


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    除了名词的所有格以外,不定代词的所有格形式也不可以占据one’s空位。以下例句是不可接受的:

    *Is it worth anybody’s while to take up

    a challenging job?


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    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


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    • 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。


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    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。


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    词与词的共现会受社会因素的影响:

    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。


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    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。


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