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Lexicology as a branch of linguistics

  1. Lexicology as a branch of linguistics. Object, main concepts, theoretical and practical value of lexicology.

  2. Lexicology in its relations to other levels of linguistic structure and other branches of linguistics.

  3. Some general problems of the theory of word.

    1. The size-of-unit problem.

3.1.1. The word and the morpheme.

3.1.2. The word and the word combination.

    1. The identity-of-unit problem.

3.2.1. Phonetic variation.

3.2.2. Morphological variation.

3.2.3. Semantic variation.

  1. Vocabulary as a system.

  2. Methods of lexicological research.


Arnold, Irina. The English Word. - Moscow: Vyshaja Shkola. 1966. – Chapter 1 “Introduction” P. 11 – 50.; Chapter 11 “English Vocabulary as a System” P. 249 – 274.

Антрушина Г.Б., Афанасьева О.В., Морозова Н.Н. Лексикология английского языка: Учебник для пед. вузов. – 3-е изд-е. - – М.: Дрофа, 2001. – C. 6 – 12.

Rayevskaya N.M. English Lexicology. – Kiev.: “Vysca Scola”, 1979. – P. 10 – 44.

Main concepts of the theme:

applied lexicology,

basic unit

comparative lexicology,


contrastive lexicology,

descriptive/synchronic lexicology,



extra-linguistic sphere,

general lexicology,

historical/diachronic lexicology,

IC’s analysis


lexical system









set expression,

special lexicology,


theoretical lexicology


word equivalent,



word-group/word-grouping/word family,

wordstock/ stock of words

Theme in a nutshell

Lexicology is a branch of linguistics, inquiring into the origins and meanings of words.

English lexicology aims at investigating and studying the morphological structures of English words and word equivalents, their semantic structures, relations, historical development, formation and usages. It’s a theoretically oriented course.

English lexicology is a subbranch of linguistics, but it embraces other academic disciplines, such as phonetics, morphology, semantics, etymology, stylistics, lexicography.

Branches of lexicology: onomasiology (naming and nominative processes), semasiology (theory of meaning), etymology (source of vocabulary and word origin), phraseology (theory of set expressions), lexicography (the theory and practice of compiling dictionaries), onomastics (the study of the history and origin of proper names, esp. personal names), terminology (the body of terms used with a particular technical application in a subject of study, theory, profession, etc.).

Two main approaches to the study of words: synchronic and diachronic.

Two main types of relations: paradigmatic and syntagmatic.

Basic concepts: ‘word’ and ‘vocabulary’

Word is a minimal free form of a language that has a given sound and meaning and syntactic function.

Four features:

1. a minimal free form of a language;

2. a sound unity;

3. a unity of meaning;

4. a form that can function alone in a sentence.

A word is a symbol that stands for something else in the world. Certain sounds will represent certain persons, things, places, properties, processes and activities outside the language system. This symbolic connection is almost always arbitrary, and there is no logical relationship between the sound which stands for a thing or an idea and the actual thing and idea itself.

Vocabulary: all the words in a language make up its vocabulary. It can not only refer to total number of the words in a language, but stand for all the words used in a particular historical period.

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