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Functions of language

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- communicative

- conative (addressee-related)

- emotive (speaker-related)

- metalingual (code-related)

- metasemiotic (symbol-related)

- phatic (contact-related)

- poetic (message-related)

- referential (context-related)

- function of aesthetic impact

- function of message

Fusion (or a portmanteau word) ЦSee Blending; Abbreviation

Fusion phraseological - represent the highest stage of blending the components of a phraseological unit together. The meaning of components is completely absorbed by the meaning of the whole, by its expressiveness and emotional properties (e.g. tit for tat). Ц See Phraseological units

Fuzziness Цa phenomenon characteristic of conceptual categories (q.v.) which means that even if categories may have clear centres, their boundaries may not be clear-cut and categories may overlap.


Generalization of meaning Ц extension of semantic capacity of a word, with the increase in referential applicability of the word. when a specific/hyponymic term becomes generic/hypernymic, either ousting the previously existing lexeme of this status or filling out the lexical gap; same assemantic extension, broadening/widening of meaning, opp. tonarrowing, specification.E.g. many religious terms (doctrine, novice, office) have taken a more general, secular range of meanings. ЦSeeSemantic changes;Semantic shift

Generic terms Ц terms of general level (e.g. plant, animal, thing) subsuming basic level terms (tree, dog, table) and special level terms (oak-tree, collie, desk) as their subordinates in hierarchical taxonomy (q.v.).

Genteelisms Цstylistically markedwords and expressions synonymous to stylistically neutral lexical items but preferred in elevated or bookish use because of linguistic snobbishness or with stylistic purposes. E.g. social indiscretion, metaphysical speculation, in nature's garb ('naked'), knight of fortune ('scoundrel'), to quit the stage ('to die'). Ц SeeEuphemism

Gestalt Ц a type of concept (q.v.), a wholistic image, which comprises perceptible and rational components as a whole, non-discrete perception of situation, the highest level of abstraction, representing non-structured knowledge. E.g. the concept 'university' is a gestalt as it involves all aspects of university functioning: getting admitted, being a student, taking exams, attending lectures, mixing with fellow students, acquiring knowledge, getting more and more experienced in profession, queuing in the canteen and the like Ц create a wholistic, non-discrete image, stored in our conceptual sphere.

Germanistics Цa branch of linguistics studying languages of the Germanic group.

Glossary Цa terminological vocabulary.

Grammatical formedness Ц characteristic of a linguistic formation (a lexical unit) referring to the grammatical aspects of the expression Ц its morphological form relevant to a certain grammatical use of a unit; its grammatical categorization and subcategorization (either systemic or functional).

Grammatical meaning Ц the meaning of the formal membership of a word expressed by the word's form, i.e. the meaning of relationship manifested not in the word itself but in the dependent element which is supplementary to its material part (inflexion, outer formative, functional affix Ц q.v.).

Grammaticalization Цthe process and the result of diachronic semantic development of a lexical unit which essence is broadening of meaning (q.v.), via de-semantization (loss of lexical meaning) when a unit becomes to be used as a form (functional, structural, auxiliary) word, that is a grammatical marker of a grammatical category or a functional unit (e.g. development of shall/will, do, become, seem, etc.). A process whereby a free morpheme acquires the status of a bound form and starts functioning as an affix, either in the lexicon, or in grammar.


Habitual collocation Ц See Collocation

Half-suffix /semi-suffix ЦSeeSemi-affix; Bound cases

Half-prefix/semi-suffix Ц See Semi-affix; Bound cases

Half-term Ц1) a term which penetrated general vocabulary and almost lost its exclusive status as belonging to a special jargon (e.g. atom, verb); 2) a lexeme which terminological status is not stable, a newly introduced, but not generally accepted as a regular term.


Hierarchical taxonomy Ц a special instance of a lexical field in that the lexical items are now hierarchically ordered. Ц See Hypo-hypernymic relationships. The higher, superordinate, more general level (consisting of generic, superordinate, hypernymic terms) subsumes all concepts below it at the basic level, which, in its turn, subsumes specific concepts at the subordinate level (represented by specific, hyponymic, subordinate terms), as illustrated in Table 3. However, there may be a lexical gap (lacuna Ц q.v.), i.e. there is no basic level term available where we might expect one:


Superordinate article of dress


Basic skirt trousers ?(lexical gap)

Subordinate wrap-over skirt mini-skirt leggins jeans shorts shirt sweater T-shirt

Historism Ц a word which falls into disuse because of extralinguistic causes Ц when the thing named is no longer used (mostly names of social relations, institutions and objects of material culture of the past). E.g. names of transport means (berlin, calash, diligence, fly, gig, hansom, landeau, phaeton, etc.). - See Archaism.

Holonyms Ц words which semantics reflects the concept of a whole (university; book, global, unite). Ц See Systemic relationships in lexis; Meronyms

Holophrasis ЦSeeCompound, quotation c.

Homonymy Цthe coincidence in the same sound and/or graphic form of two or more different linguistic units. Linguistic phenomenon when one unit of the plane of form corresponds to two or more units of the plane of content. Reasons: diachronic phonetic and orthographic changes, borrowing, split of polysemy (q.v.).

Homonyms Цtwo (or more) different linguistic units within one sound- and/or orthographic complex, i.e. displaying diversity on the content plane and identity on the expression plane. Types of hs.:

- homophones Ц words with different morphological structure which coincide in their sound expression;

- homographs Цdifferent words coinciding in their orthographic expression.

Hybrid Цa word different elements of which are of etymologically different origin. E.g. English stem +Latin/French affix (readable, eatable, likable).

HypernymЦSeeHypo-hypernymic relationships

HypernymyЦ See Hypo-hypernymic relationships

Hypo-hypernymic relationships / hypernymic hierarchies Цtype of systemic relationships in the vocabulary reflecting the hierarchyof categorization of the denotata. Hh.r. treats lexical items as 'upper' terms (the superordinate or the hypernym) or 'lower' terms (the hyponym): tulip and rose are hyponymic to flower; lion and elephant to animal. Ц SeeHierarchical taxonomy; Systemic relationships in lexis

Hyponym Цa subname, specific/subordinate term to hypernym, a term of higher level of generalization. E.g. since the referents of the word 'table' are included among the referents of the word 'furniture', 'table' is a hyponym to 'furniture'.ЦSeeHypo-hypernymic relationships

HyponymyЦthe relation of class inclusion. ЦSee Hypo-hypernymic relationships


Identity-of-unit problem Цthe question on the level of the language system seeking to establish where one word ends and another one begins on the dictionary level. Cf. lexeme, lexico-semantic variant, variants (phonetic, morphological), allolex, topology. The expression or content plane of the word may vary, but the modifications may not be abundant enough to split the word up into different units. The identity-of-unit problem relates to cases when variation within the word does not impair its globality as a separate lexical unit. Here we deal with a three-fold contrast: identity/differentiation; continuity/variability; invariants/variants.

Ideographic groups Цa verbal (lexical) representation of a conceptual domain. Ц See Semantic fields; Lexical groups; Lexical sets

Idiolect(from Gr. idios СownТ + -lect in dialect) Цa variety oflanguage as spoken by a certain individual (e.g. the language of Shakespeare); the speech habits of a single person. Ц SeeSociolect

Idiom proper / idiomatic expression / set expressions / phraseological unit Ц a phraseological unit with pronounced stylistic characteristics owing to which an element of play is introduced into speech; a ready-made sequence of words, 'fossilised chunks of language', which function as a single unit. Is. are word-combinations or multi-word units. Ц SeePhraseological units. According to the degree of idiomaticityis. can be:

- opaque in meaning Ц when the meanings of the individual words cannot be summed to produce the meaning of the 'idiomatic' expression as a whole (e.g. 'to kick the bucket' contains no clues to its idiomatic meaning of 'to die'), Ц SeePhraseological fusions;

- semi-opaque Ц when one component preserves its direct meaning ('to pass the buck' can be paraphrased as 'to pass the responsibility') SeePhraseological unities;

- transparent Ц when both components are used in their direct meanings but the combinations acquires figurative sense, motivated by the meanings of the components ('to see the light' meaning 'to understand'). Ц SeePhraseological combinations

Idiomatic Ц having the qualities of a phraseological unit (q.v.), i.e. when the meaning of the whole is not deducible from the sum of the meanings of the parts.

Illocutionary force Цthe communicative intention of the speaker, the basic purpose of an utterance being produced, the final sense of the utterance.

Image, mental /mental picture Ц a type of concept (q.v.), a formation of a higher level of abstraction than a percept; generalised images of different objects and phenomena of the same class:Ц telephone in general, any telephone. M.i. reflects a set of most obvious, outer features of the object. M.is. are expressed by lexical units Ц names of concrete objects. Their meanings render generalised perceptive images, a set of perceptive features: to laugh Ц to make sounds and movements of the face and body. Sometimes a m.i. is represented by the inner form of the word itself Ц bluebell, snowdrop, bulldog. Anthroponyms can also reflect perceptive features: Titanic,  ощей. as well as phraseological units: уши топориком, хвост трубой, with flying colours.

Image schema (scheme) Цa standard model ofmetaphoric restructuring of conceptual domains, relates target domains and source domains, reflects basic lines of similarity analysis. I.ss. are general principles according to which human cognition, anthropocentric by its nature, organizes the non-object reality on analogy with spatial and temporal world which is given to us in its empirical experience. The notion of i.s. is based on the following assumptions:

- we understand the world on the basis of out empirical experience, bodily feelings and associations,

- our physical experience (based on our 5 senses) is what we understand literally

- many abstract concepts are extensions of our physical concepts

I.ss. can be intercultural (e.g. argument is war, emotions are liquids) and culture-specific, in which case they reflect peculiar correspondences between domains as reflections of culture-specific concepts (e.g. marriage is a sports game, marriage is business Ц an i.s., peculiar to American culture, which is fixed in idiomatic and metaphorical expressions). Ц SeeDomain, source; Domain, target

ImplicationЦ a broad linguistic term comprising all kinds of meaning, not found in dictionary definition of a lexical unit or standard meaning of grammatical structure; indirect judgement derived from contextual (verbal and non-verbal) factors in a current situation of communication. In some textbooks Ц synonymous to connotation (q.v.), part of pragmatic meaning of a lexical unit.

Implicational component of meaning Цin Prof. Nikitin's semantic theory peripheral part of lexical semantics of a word, semantic features directly or indirectly predetermined by the intentional component (q.v.) of lexical semantics. In general both intentional and implicational parts of the semantics reflect properties/features of the denotata. On the basis of the type of predetermination of implicational features of the referent by its essential characteristics, the following subtypes of implicational component are discriminated:

- rigid implication Ц highly probable features;

- strong implication Ц probable features;

- weak implication Ц unlikely features;

- negative implication Ц features, incompatible with the core semantics of the word, which can never be applied to this referent; however, some times properties belonging to negative implication can be nominated by an explicant within an explicational combination and hence assigned to a referent in case of expressive, emphatic, mostly stylistic usage Ц e.g. hot winter, living death,одиночество двоем. Ц SeeOxymoron

Some implicational characteristics are context-bound, implied or named by the context. Ц SeeLexical meaning; Combinatory semantics

Implicitness Цsemantic phenomenon when some meaning is implied but not plainly expressed via existing linguistic means (through lexical meaning, grammatical meaning, general meaning of syntactic structures). Opp. to explicitness.

Indivisibility Цcharacteristic of a word which presupposes the impossibility of its being divided without the loss of meaning

Informal vocabulary Цvocabularywidely used in informal situations of current day-to-day communication. Not to be confused with slang (q.v.).

Inflexion Ц a grammatical (form-building) morpheme/affix, indicating a morphological form. Ц See Grammatical meaning

Integrity/semantic integrity Цcharacteristic of a word as an indivisible whole from semantic point of view; this principle does not disprove the principle of componential structure of meaning.

Intensifier Цa word with intensifying semantics (e.g. very, awfully, vastly, beastly, etc.).

Intensifying connotation Цpart of the connotative semantics of a word which prompts possible emphatic or intensifying functioning of the word. Ц SeeExpressive connotation

Intentional (component of) meaning Ц the core part of lexical meaning in Prof.Nikitin's semantic theory. Represents a complex of essential semantic characteristics which refer to the description of denotata and referents named by the word. Semantic nucleus of lexical meaning; structured unity of semantic features, which constitute this type of referents. I.c. is obligatory, as these features are obligatory to the referents of this class. Intentional characteristics can imply (to this or that extent) other characteristics which belong to the periphery of the word's informational potential.

International word Цa word of mostly Greek/Latin origin or produced nowadays of Greek/Latin morphemes, found in the majority of languages, denoting some wide-spread (international) phenomena in particular in political, scholarly areas. E.g. international, telephone, politics. Intensification of intercultural communication and the expansion of English as lingua franca launched a class of anglicisms (q.v.) which can be qualified as international words as well (lobby, killer, teenager).

Irradiation (radial network) Цa type of networking semantic structure of a polysemantic word, when the originating lexico-semantic variants do not follow one-by-one order but each of them can produce semantic offshoots themselves. Opp. to concatenation (chain network) (q.v.).

Irony Цan expression of meaning, often humorous or sarcastic, by the use of language of a different or opposite tendency. Ц SeeFigurative language

Isomorphism (theory of i.)Ц a theory which postulates the absence of qualitative difference between levels of language, making it possible to analyse and describe them by means of the same methods and principles. I. can be applied to the study of the semantic structure of the word and principles of verbalisation (e.g. opposition univerbal Ц multiverbal nomination).


Jargon Ц1. words or expressions used by a particular group or profession (medical jargon). J. is defined as the restricted, technical, or shoptalk words and expressions of any particular group, as an occupational, trade, scientific, artistic, criminal, or other group. E.g. finals used by printers and by students, Fannie May by money men, preemie by obstetricians were jargon before they became slang. 2. barbarous or debased language. Typology of j.:

- advertese Цa jargon of advertising, characterized by specific features:a) special use of occasional word-formations which by the power of associations and connotations help promote the product on the market; is characterised by the extensive use of nonce-words (abbreviations and blends mostly) which evolve associations with full-fledged words rich in positive connotations(digitally yours Ц for LG); b) profuse use of doublespeak lexicon (q.v.);

- shoptalk Цprofessional lexicon and usage;

- journalese Цcharacterized bya) abbreviations; b) nonce-words based on either positive or negative associations; c) extensive use of overworked phrases (clichés) Ц to usher in a new age, to prove a boon to mankind, to pave the way to a bright new world, to spell the doom of civilization, etc;.

- motherese Цthe jargon mothers fall into when talking to their babies;

- babytalk Цoften incomprehensible for an adult speaker language spoken by babies who are just acquiring the norms of the language;

- many others as distinguished by theregister(q.v.): carspeak, cablese, etc.


Lacuna/lexical gaps (lit. 'blank space') Ц systematic vocabulary gaps, i.e. the presence, absence or skewed distribution of verbal equivalents (words and morphemes) to some conceptual entities. This problem can be viewed as the correlation between the level of conceptual sphere and the level of language in terms of absence of one-to-one correspondence between conceptual sphere and the lexicon which can be illustrated by the following phenomena:

- one word could express several meanings (polysemy Ц q.v.); and one form may express several meanings (homonymy- q.v.);

- one notion could have several verbal means of expression (synonymy Ц q.v.);

- a notion may not have a univerbal means of expression but can be nominated by a phrase: to take a leave, have a smoke;

- several notions may be conveyed by one word: to walk = to go on foot; enjoy = get pleasure;

- some words do not express notions (interjections);

- the contents of notions could change in the course of the development of human society (e.g. train, coach, doctrine, machine etc.).

Typology of l.:

1) inner lacunae Ц lack of a word which presence in the language could be predicted by the existence of semantically close elements (e.g. newly-weds Ц ?a couple who have been married for a long time; jeans à trousers vs skirt à ?);

2) interlinguistic lacunae Ц the presence of a word in one language and the absence of the corresponding verbalized form in the other.

Language- a semiological system serving as the main and basic means of human communication:

- national language;

- sociolect (q.v.);

- idiolect (q.v.);

- literary language.

Latinism ЦaLatin borrowing which preserved the original form (A.D., quid pro quo, etc.). Ц SeeAssimilation

Law of the sign Цone of the basic laws of semiotics which prescribes the direct correspondence of expression and content within a sign.

Learned words Цwords belonging to a highly elevated vocabulary of science, rhetoric, official language, etc.

Level (of language) Ц a stage which is determined by the properties of the units singled out in a consistent segmentation of the flow of speech (from the lowest to the highest). Ц SeeSemantic level of analysis; Lexicon

Lexeme Ц a word in all its meanings and forms, i.e. a word as a structural element of language system (invariant). Ц SeeAllolex, Word-form, Lexico-semantic variant

Lexical category Цa verbal representation of a conceptual category on the level of lexicon, can correspond to a lexico-semantic group. In cognitive semantics (q.v.) l.cs. are described as prototypical categories, organized around a prototypical member Ц the most prominent member of the category, the subtype that first comes into mind when we think of this category. Ц SeePrototype; Category

Lexical/lexical-semantic field Цa group of words more or less corresponding in their main semantic component, or having the same generic meaning, i.e. belonging to the same semantic field (q.v.), or conceptual domain (q.v.): e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, supper are related and all belong to the same lexical field because they all name things in the domain of 'meals'. Often not discriminated from terms lexical/lexico-semantic group, lexical category (q.v.). A special instance of l.f. is a hierarchical taxonomy (q.v.).

Lexical gaps Ц See Lacuna

Lexical group (lexical/lexico-semantic group) Цa set of words related in meaning, representing one and the same conceptual category at the lexical level. Elements of the group share basic semantics (cognitive components), grammatical characteristics, can differ in connotations. Can include superordinate (hyperonymic) and subordinate (hyponymic) terms. E.g. lexico-semantic group of mental verbs (think, consider, decide, know, believe, suppose, etc.). The structural configuration of the l.g. can be described within the framework of field theory and hence the group can be termed lexical/lexico-semantic field (q.v.).

Lexical mapping Цthe process of concept verbalization, the implementation of conceptual-cognitive domain as a set of concepts in lexical meanings borne by lexical items of a particular language; creation of a construal. Metaphorical term mapping reflects the idea that there is no one-to-one correspondence between cognitive field and lexical field, and moreover, this correspondence is different from language to language.

Lexical meaning Ц the specific kind of 'content' produced (or engendered) by the reverberation of objective reality in the human consciousness which constitutes the inner (semantic) structure of linguistic units with respect to which their material form is the outer (or phonetic) structure (O.Akhmanova); the material meaning of a word, i.e. the meaning of the main material part of the word (as distinct from its formal, or grammatical part), which reflects the concept the given word expresses and the basic properties of the thing (phenomenon, property, state, etc.) the word denotes. Ц SeeMeaning, typology

Lexical morpheme Цgeneralized term for root and derivational morphemes, as expressing lexical meanings in contrast to flexional (morphemes) that express grammatical meanings. Ц SeeRoot; Affix

Lexical set ЦSeeLexical field

Lexical universals Цcategories universal to lexicons of all languages (e.g. noun/verb distinction, object/action semantic distinction, etc.); studied by a special branch of general lexicology Ц universalogy.

Lexicalization Цthe process of appearance of new lexical items out of the units of levels different from lexemic level Ц from morphemes (no isms for me!), morphological forms (customs, colours, butcher's), syntactic units (forget-me-not, John what's his name).

'Lexicentric' approach to meaning Цmeaning is treated as appearing from relations between the referent denoted by a designator and the sign which serves the designator for the referent.Hence another term Ц referential approach to meaning. ЦSee'Textocentric' approach to meaning

Lexico-grammatical class or group Цpart-of-speech distinction; large word groups united on the basis of the shared categorial (part-of-speech) meaning, function and form.

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