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Лекція 1. Lexicology as a science

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1. Lexicology (from Gr. Lexis “word” and logos “learning”) is the part of linguistics dealing with the vocabulary of a language and the properties of words as the main units of language.

“Vocabulary” is used to denote the system formed by the sum total of all the words and word equivalents that the language possesses.

“Word” denotes the basic unit of a given language resulting from the association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds capable of a given grammatical employment. A word is simultaneously a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit.

The general study of words and vocabulary, irrespective of the specific features of any particular language, is known as general lexicology.

Linguistic phenomena and properties common to all languages are generally referred to as language universals.

Special lexicology devotes its attention to the description of the characteristic peculiarities in the vocabulary of a given language.

Contrastive lexicology provides a theoretical basis on which the vocabularies of different languages can be compared and described.

Historical lexicology or etymology discuses the origin of various words, their change and development and investigates the linguistic and extralinguistic forces modifying their structure, meaning and usage.

Descriptive lexicology deals with the vocabulary of a given language at a given stage of its development. The descriptive lexicology of the English language deals with the English word in its morphological and semantical structures, investigating the interdependence between these two aspects.

Lexicology also studies all kinds of semantic grouping and semantic relations: synonymy, antonymy, semantic fields, etc.

Semantics – the study of meaning; it is relevant both for lexicology and grammar.

 

2. Lexicology studies vocabulary of language as a structure and as a system.

In this system words have certain linguistic relations, which are classified into syntogmatic and paradigmatic.

Syntagmatic relations are based on the linear character of speech, i.e. on the influence of context.

The term context is defined as the minimum stretch of speech necessary and sufficient to determine which of the possible meanings of a polysemantic word is used blue eyes; to feel blue.



In some cases the microcontext, i.e. that of a sentence or a syntagm, is not sufficient, and a broader context, or macrocontext, is necessary.

There were Blue shops and Buff shops, Blue inns and Buff inss. (the Blues, the Buffs – 2 rival leading parties of the town).

Paradigmatic linguistic relationships determining the vocabulary system may be subdivided as follows: (1) the interdependence of elements within words; (2) the interdependence of words within the vocabulary; (3) the influence of other aspects of the same language.

(1) The interdependence of elements within words is revealed when the components of the lexical system are viewed as complex morphological and semantic structures.

Morphology considers the English word as a structure described in terms of morphemes and of the patterns in which morphemes are arranged.

Semasiology studies the semantic structure of words described in terms of lexico-semantic variants and conditions of distribution relevant for judging whether these variants are identical or different.

 

 


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