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  1. 5 Word Meaning

  2. Word Meaning • Two aspects of a word: • 1. form—sound and spelling • 2. content—meaning • cat /kæt/ = a small four-legged animal with soft fur and sharp claws • Word-meaning is what the word denotes.

  3. 5.1 The Meanings of ‘meaning’ Meaning is reference.

  4. 5. 1. 1. Reference • the meaning triangle concept/idea referent reference train /trein/

  5. 5. 1. 1. Reference • Meaning is reference. • Reference is the connection between the word form and what the form refers to in the world. • Reference is the relationship between language and the world.

  6. 5.1.2 Concept • Meaning is concept.

  7. 5.1.2 Concept • Meaning and concept are closely connected but not identical. • Concept is beyond language. • It is the result of human cognition, reflecting the objective world in the human mind.

  8. 5. 1. 1. Concept • the meaning triangle concept/idea referent reference train /trein/

  9. 5.1.2 Concept • Concept is universal to all men alike regardless of culture, race, language and so on, whereas meaning belongs to language, so is restricted to language use.

  10. 5.1.2 Concept • 妇女 • Frau • femme concept language

  11. 5.1.2 Concept • 很多 • (concept) • much time many people • much money many books • much water many buildings

  12. 5. 1. 3. Sense • Meaning is sense.

  13. 5. 1. 3. Sense • Difference: • Reference is connected with language. • Concept is beyond language. • Sense is within the language.

  14. 5. 1. 3. Sense • Every word that has meaning has sense, but not reference. • probable, nearly, and, if, but, yes • pavement—sidewalk • pal—chum

  15. 5. 1. 3. Sense • So in most cases, when we talk about the meaning of a word, we actually mean sense.

  16. 5.2 Motivation

  17. 5.2 Motivation • Motivation accounts for the connection between the linguistic symbol and its meaning. • Since the relationship between the word-form and meaning is conventional and arbitrary, most words can be said to be non-motivated.

  18. 5.2 Motivation • But English does have words whose meanings can be reasonably explained to a certain extent. • There are mainly four types of motivation.

  19. 5. 2. 1. Onomatopoeic Motivation • Words whose sounds suggest their meanings = onomatopeic words • Two types of words according to their sound similarity

  20. 5. 2. 1. Onomatopoeic Motivation • 1. Primary onomatopoeia • bow wow ha ha • ping-pong miaow • cuckoo tick-tuck

  21. 5. 2. 1. Onomatopoeic Motivation • 2. Secondary onomatopoeia • cock—crow • duck—quack • frog—croak • mice—squeak • horse—neigh • goat—bleat

  22. 5. 2. 2. Morphological Motivation • Examples: • airmail: mail by air • reading-lamp: lamp for reading • miniskirt: small skirt • The morphological structure suggests the meanings of the words.

  23. 5. 2. 2. Morphological Motivation • BUT • blackmail≠ mail black in colour 讹诈 • greenhand≠ hand green in colour 新手 • They are morphologically non-motivated.

  24. 5. 2.3. Semantic Motivation • Examples: • the tongue of the bell • the mouth of the river • The Yellow River is the cradle of Chinese civilization. These words are not used in their literal sense, but figurative meaning.

  25. 5. 2.3. Semantic Motivation • We can understand them because there is a kind of resemblance between the two. • The figurative meaning is suggested by the literal meaning.

  26. 5. 2. 4. Etymological Motivation • Examples: • pen = feather → quill pen → any writing tool • 笔=bamboo + hair → modern writing tool • quisling = Quisling → traitor • braille = Braille → language for the blind • The meanings are related to their origins. • The meanings can be etymologically explained.

  27. 5.3 Types of Meaning • Word-meaning has different components. • These different components can be called different types of meaning.

  28. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning • Grammatical meaning • Examples: • singular and plural meaning of nouns • countable and uncountable • tense meaning of verbs and their inflectional forms • transitive and intransitive

  29. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning • Grammatical meaning show grammatical concepts or relationships. • What is left of the meaning of a word is the lexical meaning. • Lexical meaning is the basic meaning of the word, which is listed in the dictionary.

  30. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning • Characteristics: • 1. Different lexical items, which have different lexical meanings, may have the same grammatical meaning: • tables, men, oxen, potatoes

  31. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning • 2. The same word may have different grammatical meaning: • forget, forgets, forgot, forgotten, forgetting

  32. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning grammatical meaning word-meaning lexical meaning

  33. 5. 3.1. Grammatical and Lexical Meaning conceptual meaning(CM) lexical meaning associative meaning(AM)

  34. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Conceptual meaning (denotative meaning) is the meaning given in the dictionary and forms the core of word-meaning. • Associative meaning is the secondary meaning supplemented to the conceptual meaning.

  35. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Compare: • CM AM fundamental secondary universal contextual changing/ open-ended/ indeterminate stable

  36. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Associative meaning may change according to contextual factors such as: • social background, • role relationship, • culture, • age, • sex, • time, etc.)

  37. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning connotative M (ConM) stylistic M (SM) affective M (AfM) collocative M (ConM) associative M

  38. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • 1. Connotative meaning • Definition: • Connotative meaning refers to the overtones or associations suggested by the conceptual meaning, traditionally known as connotations.

  39. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Example: dragon • Chinese Western power violence monster prosperity killing good fortune royalty

  40. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Be a man. •   strength • decisiveness • wisdom • courage • etc.

  41. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • 2. Stylistic meaning • The stylistic meaning of a word is its stylistic feature: formal, informal, neutral. • Examples: • room chamber • finish complete • send dispatch • try endeavour

  42. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Martin Joos’ five scales: • frozen • formal • consultative • casual • intimate

  43. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning horse • charger frozen • steed formal • horse consultative • nag casual • plug intimate

  44. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • father, dad, daddy, pa, pappa, • governor, male parent

  45. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • 3. Affective meaning • Affective meaning indicates the speaker’s attitude towards the person or thing in question. This meaning can be overtly and explicitly conveyed. • love, hate, anger, happy

  46. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • appreciative pejorative • famous notorious • determined pigheaded • slim/slender skinny/bony/skeletal

  47. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • 4. Collocative meaning • The part of the word-meaning is reflected in the collocation.

  48. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning • Examples: • green on the job (inexperienced) • green fruit (unripe) • green with envy (envious) • green-eyed monster (green colour)

  49. 5. 3. 2 Conceptual and associative meaning person • 1. Every dog has his day. • 2. Let sleeping dogs lie. • 3. Love me, love my dog. troubles friend

  50. END