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Important Definitions . Lexeme : a basic lexical unit of a language consisting of one word or several words, the elements of which do not separately convey the meaning of the whole. Morpheme: a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function.

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important definitions
Important Definitions
  • Lexeme: a basic lexical unit of a language consisting of one word or several words, the elements of which do not separately convey the meaning of the whole.
  • Morpheme: a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function.
  • Function words: words that have little lexicalmeaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence.
homophones homonyms
Homophones & Homonyms

When two or more differently written words have the same pronunciation they are considered to be homophones. Examples:

Too\ two, right\write.

When one written or spoken word has two or more unrelated meanings. For example,

Bat, bank.

  • One form having multiple meanings that are all related by extension.

For example the word: head.

1- The object on the top of a human body.

2- The person at the top of a company.











  • Connotation refers to the personal aspect of meaning, the emotional associations that the word arouses.
  • They vary according to the experience of individuals.
  • Because some people have common experiences, some words have shared connotations.

The police.

  • Men in Blue.
  • The filth.

Sense Relations

The meaning of the word depends on its association with other words. Lexemes do not merely have meanings, they contribute meanings to the utterances in which they occur.


A window broke.

- Became broken.

  • Tom Broke a window.

- Caused it to be broken.


A happy child, a happy family.

  • A happy accident, a happy experience.
  • A happy story, a happy report.

Who enjoys happiness.

The feature event: it roughly produces happiness.

Discourse: happy event or events.

syntagmatic relations
Syntagmatic relations

The mutual association of two or more words in a sequence (not necessarily right next to one another) so that the meaning of each is affected by the other(s) and together their meanings contribute to the meaning of the larger unit, phrase or sentence.


Read + book or newspaper

Happy + child or accident

paradigmatic relation
Paradigmatic relation

It is a relation of choice.

We choose from a number of possible words the one which suits us most. Words can have similar meanings but are not entirely exchangeable.



Choosing read for the word book is paradigmatic which makes it syntagmtic.


lexical grammatical meanings
Lexical & Grammatical Meanings

A dog barked.

A referring expression: a piece of language that is used as if it linked to something outside language. (Some living or dead entity).

A dog = the referent.

Barked (an activity outside the language) = predicate.

grammatical meaning
Grammatical meaning

A dog barked.

Did a dog bark?

A dog did not bark.

A dog barks.

Some dogs barked.





dog bark
Dog + Bark

-Their meanings are not grammatical; they are lexical.

-They are associated with things outside the language.

-Both are lexemes.

-All the lexemes of the language make the lexicon of the language.

-All the lexemes we know, make our personal lexicon.

  • Linguistics book of ENGL 2322
  • Wikipedia
  • Semantic issues (compiled by Prof. Walid M. Amer.