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6. Define the main functions of synonyms and its classification types.

Lexical units may also be classified by semantic similarity and semantic contrasts. The terms generally used to denote these two types of semantic relatedness synonymy and antonymy. Synonymy is often understood as semantic equivalence. It can exist between words and word-groups, word-groups and sentences, sentences and sentences. Synonyms may be found in different parts of speech and both among notional and function words. They are phonemically different words but similar in their denotational meaning. Synonyms are traditionally described as words different in sound-form but identical or similar in meaning. Synonyms are one of the language’s most important expressive means, they add precision to each detail of description and show how the correct choice of a word from a group of synonyms may colour the certain whole text. The principal function of synonyms is to represent the same phenomenon in different aspects, shades and variations. More often synonyms are used for stylistic purposes. After some detailed analysis synonyms are frequently said to be vocabulary’s colours, tints and hues. In terms of componential analysis synonyms may be defined as words with the same denotation or the same denotative component (ideographic synonyms), but differing in connotations or in connotative components (stylistic reference) or ideographic –stylistic synonyms. Quite number of words in synonymic sets are usually of Latin or French origin. Synonymy is still an object of controversy, one of the theoretical problems, the most controversial is the problem of criteria of synonymy. Traditional linguistics solved this problem with the conceptual criterion and defined synonyms as words of the same category of parts of speech conveying the same concept but differing either in shades of meaning or in stylistic characteristics. In contemporary research on synonymy semantic criterion is frequently used. In terms of componential analysis synonyms may be defined as words with the same denotation, or the same denotative component, but differing in connotations or in connotative components. In modern research on synonyms the criterion of interchangeability is sometimes applied. According to this synonyms are defined as words which are interchangeable at least in some contexts without any considerable alteration in denotational meaning.

Sources of synonyms:

  1. desynonymization (when words are borrowed it undergo desynonymization)

  2. abbreviation (in most cases the abbreviated form belongs to the colloquial style, and the full form to the neutral style)

  3. formation of phrasal verbs (to give up –to abandon, to cut down –to diminish)

By classification system for synonyms by academician V.V.Vinogradov, the famous Russian scholar there are three types of synonyms:

  1. ideographic (which he defined as words conveying the same concept but differing in shades of meaning)

  2. stylistic (differing in stylistic characteristics), sometimes one of the absolute synonyms is specialized in its usage and we get stylistic synonyms, e.g. to begin-native, to commence-borrowing. Stylistic synonyms can also appear by means of abbreviation. In most cases the abbreviated form belong to the colloquial style, and the full form to the neutral style, e.g. examination-exam. Among stylistic synonyms we can point out a special group of words which are called euphemisms. These are words used to substitute some unpleasant or offensive words, e.g. the late instead dead, to perspire instead to sweat

  3. absolute (coinciding in all their shades of meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics), they have exactly the same meaning and belong to the same style, e.g. to moan, to groan; homeland, motherland.

By the connotational side synonyms are divided:

1) the connotation of degree or intensity, e.g. to like-to admire, to love, to adore, to worship

2) the connotation of duration in their semantic structure, e.g. to shudder (brief)-to shiver (lasting), to say (brief)-to speak, to talk (lasting)

3) by emotive connotations (or by the nature of the emotion they imply), e.g. alone-single-lonely-solitary (the adj lonely has an emotive connotation, it means desolation resulting from being alone)

4) the evaluative connotation conveys the speaker’s attitude towards the referent, labeling it as good or bad, e.g. well-known-famous, notorious-celebrated – the adj notorious beans a negative evaluative connotation and celebrated a positive one, a notorious murderer, robber, lady-killer, a celebrated scholar, singer, man-of-letters

5) the causative connotation, e.g. to blush and to redden represent people mostly blush from modesty, shame or embarrassment (positive), but usually redden from anger, indignation

6) the connotation of manner, synonyms of this type denote different ways and types, length, tempo, purposefulness or lack of purpose, e.g. to love, to admire, to worship, to like

7) the connotation of attendant circumstances in the semantic structure of words are encoded circumstances preventing one from seeing clearly to peer, to peep- peer at smb or smth in darkness, through the fog, from a great distance, through dimmed glasses of windows.

8) the connotation of attendant features describes a special type of human activities.

9) stylistic connotations we deal with stylistically marked words (colloquial, slang, dialect, learned, poetic, terminological).

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