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55

Н. А. Тарасевич

LEXICOLOGY FOR UPDATERS

ЛЕКСИКОЛОГИЧЕСКИЙ ПРАКТИКУМ для слушателей системы повышения квалификации и переподготовки руководящих работников и специалистов

В двух частях

ЧАСТЬ I

БРЕСТ

БрГУ имени А.С. Пушкина

2008

УДК 811.111+81’373(07)

ББК 81ю2Англ.-3

Т 19

Лексикологический практикум разработан с целью формирования и развития семантико-аналитических навыков на материале лексикона современного английского языка. Содержит краткое изложение теоретического материала, сопровождающееся вопросами по ключевым проблемам курса, а также серией практических заданий, которые могут использоваться для аудиторной и самостоятельной работы.

Адресуется слушателям системы повышения квалификации и переподготовки руководящих работников и специалистов на базе высшего образования, а также факультетам и отделениям, осуществляющих обучение английскому языку как основной, так и дополнительной специальности.

Редактор И.Л. Ильичёва

Компьютерная вёрстка А.Ж. Куликова

Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………4

1 Lexicological description of the vocabulary…………………………...6

1.1 Lexical units and their characteristics………………………………..6

1.2 Naming function of lexical units………………………………….....9

1.3 General characteristics of the English vocabulary……………….....13

1.4 Lexical meaning………………………………………………….....19

1.5 Variability of lexical meaning……………………………….……..25

1.6 Semantic relations of words………………………………………..29

Practical assignments…………………………………………………..34

Literature…………………………………………………………….....55

Introduction

Lexicology is a linguistic science. It is a part of theoretical description of the English language. Being a linguistic science Lexicology is closely connected with Phonetics, Grammar, Stylistics and the History of the English language. Phonetics and Lexicology come close together in studying the words that are called phonetically motivated. Such words imitate the natural sounds in the outer world. For example, the words splash, boom, ping-pong and many others reproduce with the help of linguistic units the sounds that are heard by people. Lexicology is connected with Stylistics in learning the words belonging to different layers: neutral, bookish, colloquial and their role in communication. For example, the words parent, father and dad are usually referred to one and the same object. Yet the difference lies in their adequate usage depending on the situation of communication. As for the ties of Lexicology and the History of the language, they are seen in the description of the vocabulary from the diachronic point of view. Each vocabulary unit has its own way of the development. So the etymological study of the lexicon is of great importance in understanding the circumstances under which homonyms or etymological doublets appeared in the language. Grammatical description of the language helps to differentiate between formal and semantic means of English, the role and the potential of the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations.

It would be incorrect to think that all the aspects of the linguistic description function independently. They are singled out into relatively independent departments of knowledge in order to get a thorough and deep understanding of how the language functions and what are the main properties of the language units on different levels of the language system.

Linguistics is a humanitarian science. In this respect it closely comes to other sciences of the same cycle. Social sciences should be mentioned first of all. The language is a social phenomenon and is studied as such in Socio-linguistics. Here belong not only different kinds of dialects but also new discoveries which should be given names. In this way the lexical system is developed. Lexicology studies the rules and means by which the new items of the objective reality are turned into words.

Depending on the philosophical tradition the explanations of the facts of the concrete reality are done. In different periods of the history of mankind the language was described differently in respect to its nature, existence and laws of development. So the major, the dominant philosophical theory influences the scientific progress on the whole and the linguistic study in particular. Lexicology makes use of some philosophical laws and relationships. Thus, stylistically marked words are singled out against the background of the neutral ones revealing the relations of the part and the whole. The lexical means of expressing the philosophical category of opposition are, for example, antonyms.

We cannot but mention Psychology among other humanitarians. Studying one’s character, memory, inclinations and other features of a personality Psychology deals with such a phenomenon as the ability of a human being to use the language means adequately. In this respect Lexicology gives semantic description of the words, the knowledge of their possible combinations with other lexical units and their correspondence to the situation of communication.

Words do not appear all of a sudden. They are the result of the cognitive activity of human beings and as such they present interest both for cognitive sciences and Lexicology. The latter is interested in the ways the most essential features are turned into the denotational part of the meaning of the word, the part that makes communication possible and that does not allow alike but not identical words to be mixed up in our brains.

Further enumeration of the sciences which are connected with Lexicology or make use of its results can be endless as language is one of the most convenient means of acquiring, storing and conveying the information of various kinds to people. In this respect all sciences exploit the language or its separate parts for their purposes.

Speaking of lexicological study of the language we must say that it is rather a European tradition. In America greater emphasis is laid upon Grammar in the framework of which the word study is done.

The word Lexicology itself comes from Greek and its literary meaning is the learning of a word. The learning of words can be done from the point of view of the language universals. It is General Lexicology. On the one hand, it summarizes the facts of different languages and works out linguistic laws common for all or the majority of languages. On the other hand, it describes the features that can be found in any language irrespective of its structure and individual characteristics. The word study of some concrete language is done by Special Lexicology. Thus, the peculiar features of the English words are described in the framework of Special Lexicology.

The words can be studied at some stated period of time. In such a case we deal with synchronic study and Lexicology is called Synchronic or Descriptive. The evolution and development of the words of the given language are highlighted by Historical or Diachronic Lexicology. The division is relative as neither can exist without the other but the emphasis is laid on different items.

The main aim of this book is to give a systematic description of the English vocabulary in respect to its origin, relations of individual words to each other, rules of creating new lexical units and their representation in dictionaries. The object of the description is modern English vocabulary, so the presentation is given on the synchronic level.

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