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2. Categorial method of studying word-combinations (the categories of connotativeness, reproducibility, idiomaticity, conceptual determination and sociolinguistic determination).

A word-combination is a compound nominative unit of speech, which is semantically both global and articulated. There are some differences in the terminology in the Russian- and the English-speaking linguistic tradition. In the Russian terminological system the term словосочетание is used to denote the unit mentioned above, Englishmen use it to denote any combination of words, but the usual term, which corresponds to our approach to словосочетание, is collocation.

Word-combinations — are the "building material" for syntax. Syntax as a science of ordered speech deals with two basic problems:

the first one -> what are those ultimate units that constitute speech,

the second one -> how these units are organized in actual speech.

To understand the division of the sentence into the parts, it is important to first see the syntagmatic relationships between the elements. Word-combination is a unit of both, syntagmatics and syntax.

Thus, the interdependence between the syntactic and the syntagmatic analysis is the main stumbling block for understanding. To fully convey the purport of an utterance, it is necessary to penetrate into the lexical-phraseological connections between the ultimate meaningful units of the language.

The difference between the syntagmatic and the syntactic analysis of speech may be explained by means of the following example:

Simon had become to look for himself at the family foto.

If one analyses this sentence syntagmatically, it is clear that here to become to look for oneself and family foto — are word-combinations, functionally, they are equivalent to a word. From the point of view of syntax, had become is a predicate, to look for — an adverb, foto — an object, family — an attribute.

The unity of colligation and collocation which is so important for syntactic study in general, has no less importance for the study of word-combinations.

Syntactic relationships may restrict the collocability of one word with another. Thus, the word much may be used before prefer in a sentence like In international political arena Mr. Bush much prefer the position of power. But it is a mistake if the word much is used at the end of the sentence. Colligation and collocation may put intralinguistic restriction upon the freedom with which the speaker chooses the combination of words. First of all, a speaker while bringing words together should follow some grammatical rules. At the same time the process of combining words is restricted by the lexical-phraseological valences of the words.

The difference between a word-combination and a combination of words is the following: a combination of words presupposes the possibility of combining words together in the process of speech production; f word-combination should be regarded as a free equivalent of a phraseological unit.

The "building material" for the construction of sentences consists of

1) word,

2) phraseological unit,

3) word-combination.

Thus, to pay a call is a phraseological unit, which is equivalent to the word to visit. To go to see is a word-combination, which is a free equivalent of the phraseological unit and of the word to visit.

There are some types of word-combinations in the English language:

nominal word-combinations: adjective + noun: pretty woman;

noun + preposition + noun: brick at the top;

noun + preposition + adjective + noun: a man with small nose;

noun + preposition + verbal -ing: difficulty in understanding;

noun + infinitive: a book to read;

verbal word-combinations: verb + noun: to give a speech; verb + infinitive: to forget to post; verb + verbal -ing: to stop doing;

verb + preposition + verbal -ing: to insist on going;

adverb + verb: completely forgot;

verb + adverb: to forget completely;

adjectival word-combinations: adjective + infinitive: nice to meet; adjective + preposition + noun: full of water; adjective + preposition + verbal -ing: fond of reading.

All the above-mentioned word-combinations function as global wholes, as "the prefabricated units" in speech. The syntactic bond that connects the elements of word-combinations is very tight, usually it is the attributive bond or the closest types of the completive bond. A very important parameter in the study of the expression plane of word-combinations is prosody.

There exist different methods of study of word-combinations, but bearing in mind the idea of the unity of collocation and colligation, the categorial method seems to be most fruitful. This method is based on the opposition of the marked and unmarked element of the category.

There exist five categories of word-combinations in English:

1) The category of connotativeness.

The opposition here is connotative word-combinations vs non-connotative word-combinations. Connotative word-combinations fulfil the function of impact, they possess expressive-emotional-evaluative connotations. Non-connotative word-combinations are neutral, they fulfil the function of message. Thus, in the sentence In her tone, she made the understanding clear they were of the same kind, he and she, a sort of diabolic free-masonry subsisted between them the word-combination diabolic free-masonry is connotative, while in the sentence He speaks English fluently the word-combination to speak fluently is non-connotative.

There are two main parameters which help to understand the real meaning of word-combinations — context and prosody. Thus, a word-combination may be quite neutral, taken in isolation, for example, to break the vessel. But within a context it becomes connotative: He knew how near to breaking was the vessel that held his life. In connection with the category of connotativeness it is important to note that connotations may be inherent.

In oral speech, connotative word-combinations are usually determined by prosody.

  1. The category of reproducibility. (this category is also called the category of "clicheed expressions")

The opposition here is clicheed vs non-clicheed word-combinations or usual vs occasional word-combinations. In ordinary speech people hardly ever coin word-combinations of their own, usually they use the already existing ones. For example, in the sentence: My favourite book was written by the famous writer, the word-combinations favourite book and famous writer are quite usual word-combinations for our speech.

As for the non-clicheed word-combinations — they should be created anew or for the nonce, usually they are not reproducible. For example, in the sentence Nurse placed her in my lap, a squiggling bundle of life the word-combination a squiggling bundle of life is a creation of the writer of the book. This kind of word-combinations is usually very connotative.

Word-combinations that belong to this category are characterised by the non-idiomatic globality. These word-combinations may be segmented into separate words, but depending on the reproducibility they tend to fuse into a global concept.

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